Wednesday, November 06, 2013


Back in the late seventies one of the smartest people we knew was the education officer at the Dowse Art Gallery. Ian McMillan was also an artist (Te Papa has some of his work in its collection and so does the Auckland Art Gallery) but a lasting memory of him is making hand puppets for one of those school holiday programmes. For about two weeks Ian would turn up at work each day with a hand puppet made from a weird assortment of materials - toothbrushes, kitchen gear, bits of old rope, remodelled gloves - as inspiration for his groups of kids. These creatures were extraordinary, full of character and panache. We were reminded of Ian’s work when we saw a wonderful book about the eccentric puppets Paul Klee made for his daughter. Ian is now living in Queensland and has become, seriously, an international expert on moths. Art, you’ve got to love it.

Image: Puppets by Paul Klee