Foundation Course to Puppet Mastery with Bernd Ogrodnik

Turn wood into a puppet character of your own imagination

The 8-week online workshop with a holistic approach to puppetry.

Step by step you will learn about the nature of wood and the necessary tools you need to transform a block of wood into your first highly functional puppet.

The Foundation Course to Puppet Mastery is closed for enrollment. If you sign up for the waiting list, we will send you a message and you will have the opportunity to register as soon as possible.

"It was a self-journey for me to realize that I have abilities that I didn’t really believe I have."

Yael Kandelman

"Incredible learning experience."

Charles Hoffman

Click the CC button next to the video progress bar to turn on captions.

"It was a self-journey for me to realize that I have abilities that I didn’t really believe I have."

Yael Kandelman

"Incredible learning experience."

Charles Hoffman

Click the CC button next to the video progress bar to turn on captions.

Light up your puppetry dreams by learning how to carve wooden puppets

Maybe you've been fascinated with marionettes and puppets since you played with one as a child.


Perhaps you've made puppets before from different materials, like paper mâché or sponge foam and fabric.


Or maybe you've discovered puppetry as a way to combine all your artistic passions into one giant ball of fun!


You want to learn about the art of wooden puppets, but you might have always felt intimidated by the tools and how to safely work with them.


Like hundreds of our past students, joining this Foundation Course, you might have never carved anything before, you might not know what wood you should use or which techniques you would need to get started.

If that's the case — the Foundation Course to Puppet Mastery will confidently guide you into the heart of wood so you can learn how to transform a block of wood into a highly functional puppet.

Let us show you the secrets of creating puppets out of wood

The Foundation Course is for anyone who:

  • Wants to start creating new characters that help tell stories
  • Wants to learn more about working with wood as a medium
  • Has looked at a piece of wood and desired to make something extraordinary
  • Wants to expand puppetry knowledge and skills
  • Wants to learn from one of the most renowned masters in the field as he shares his proven techniques, systems, and secrets of the trade
  • Wants to gain more confidence, spark their creative side, and immerse themselves in their own imagination

What you'll learn during this workshop:

  • What the basic, traditional, and modern advanced tools of the trade are, and how to safely use them
  • The secrets of wood
  • How to design a strong and clear character
  • How to make a character drawing and how to transform it into a functional technical drawing
  • How to design and make (step-by-step) a wooden table-top puppet
  • How to create proper patterns for the various body parts and transfer them to your carving blocks
  • How to carve the individual parts using a variety of possible tools
  • What if you have only basic tools? How to get started carving your puppet with a minimum of tools
  • How to assemble, dress, and paint your first puppet
  • Breathe life into your creation – how to manipulate your puppet

PLUS: An overview of various highly functional puppet styles, featured in the follow-up Academy of the Wooden Puppet

Sign Up for the Waiting List

Light up your puppetry dreams by learning how to carve wooden puppets

Maybe you've been fascinated with marionettes and puppets since you played with one as a child.


Perhaps you've made puppets before from different materials, like paper mâché or sponge foam and fabric.


Or maybe you've discovered puppetry as a way to combine all your artistic passions into one giant ball of fun!


You want to learn about the art of wooden puppets, but you might have always felt intimidated by the tools and how to safely work with them.


Like hundreds of our past students, joining this Foundation Course, you might have never carved anything before, you might not know what wood you should use or which techniques you would need to get started.

If that's the case — the Foundation Course to Puppet Mastery will confidently guide you into the heart of wood so you can learn how to transform a block of wood into a highly functional puppet.

Let us show you the secrets of creating puppets out of wood

The Foundation Course is for anyone who:

  • Wants to start creating new characters that help tell stories
  • Wants to learn more about working with wood as a medium
  • Has looked at a piece of wood and desired to make something extraordinary
  • Wants to expand puppetry knowledge and skills
  • Wants to learn from one of the most renowned masters in the field as he shares his proven techniques, systems, and secrets of the trade
  • Wants to gain more confidence, spark their creative side, and immerse themselves in their own imagination

What you'll learn during this workshop:

  • What the basic, traditional, and modern advanced tools of the trade are, and how to safely use them
  • The secrets of wood
  • How to design a strong and clear character
  • How to make a character drawing and how to transform it into a functional technical drawing
  • How to design and make (step-by-step) a wooden table-top puppet
  • How to create proper patterns for the various body parts and transfer them to your carving blocks
  • How to carve the individual parts using a variety of possible tools
  • What if you have only basic tools? How to get started carving your puppet with a minimum of tools
  • How to assemble, dress, and paint your first puppet
  • Breathe life into your creation – how to manipulate your puppet

PLUS: An overview of various highly functional puppet styles, featured in the follow-up Academy of the Wooden Puppet

You'll transform a block of wood into a table-top puppet:

Puppet made by Miguel Rojas

Puppet made by Anna-Maria Lawrie

Puppet made by Philip Millar

You'll transform a block of wood into a table-top puppet:

Puppet made by Miguel Rojas

Puppet made by Anna-Maria Lawrie

Puppet made by Philip Millar

Meet Our Team

JIM JER SEY

JIM JER SEY

JIM JER SEY

Your Instructor — Bernd Ogrodnik

Bernd Ogrodnik has been a prominent figure in the world of puppetry since 1986. He is the artistic director and co-founder of "Worlds of Puppets" and has served as the Master Puppeteer for the National Theater of Iceland.

He has a track record of over 7,000 live performances and has toured all over the US, Canada, Europe, Africa, and Asia as a performer and lecturer at international theater festivals, universities, and conferences.

He has been creating marionettes, puppets, and masks for stages around the world, and his work is frequently featured on TV and in film.

The global pandemic took his teaching online. Now he shares his highly-functional techniques developed over the years, in the online classes available to watch from the comfort of your home.

This course will not only leave you full of knowledge and enthusiasm for the art of puppetry but also enrich your life way beyond the realms of the puppet.

Assistant Instructor – Mark Blashford

During the course, Mark will assist you and encourage you on this journey. You will see him a lot as he posts new lesson updates and hosts some of the Q&A sessions.


Mark is a professional puppeteer/builder specializing in traditional puppet performance forms, including marionette, shadow, rod, and hand puppetry. As a trained puppet builder, he received his Master of Fine Arts in the Puppet Arts from the University of Connecticut in 2017.

He has also studied in Germany, the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom, and Iceland with one-on-one instruction from Bernd Ogrodnik.

Mark has worked with many theaters in addition to the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival as an associate artist and Chicago Puppet Studio Coordinator. He now lives in Iceland and works full-time with Bernd in the studios of Worlds of Puppets.

He also manages and performs with his own company – Rootstock Puppet Works.

His mission is to craft and perform puppet theater rooted in stories that promote mutual kindness and ecological awareness for the good of people and their environment.

Meet Our Team

JIM JER SEY

JIM JER SEY

JIM JER SEY

Your Instructor —
Bernd Ogrodnik

Bernd Ogrodnik has been a prominent figure in the world of puppetry since 1986. He is the artistic director and co-founder of “Worlds of Puppets” and has served as the Master Puppeteer for the National Theater of Iceland.

He has a track record of over 7,000 live performances and has toured all over the US, Canada, Europe, Africa, and Asia as a performer and lecturer at international theater festivals, universities, and conferences.

He has been creating marionettes, puppets, and masks for stages around the world, and his work is frequently featured on TV and in film.

The global pandemic took his teaching online. Now he shares his highly-functional techniques developed over the years, in the online classes available to watch from the comfort of your home.

This course will not only leave you full of knowledge and enthusiasm for the art of puppetry but also enrich your life way beyond the realms of the puppet.

JIM JER SEY

JIM JER SEY

JIM JER SEY

Assistant Instructor –
Mark Blashford

During the course, Mark will assist you and encourage you on this journey. You will see him a lot as he posts new lesson updates and hosts some of the Q&A sessions.


Mark is a professional puppeteer/builder specializing in traditional puppet performance forms, including marionette, shadow, rod, and hand puppetry. As a trained puppet builder, he received his Master of Fine Arts in the Puppet Arts from the University of Connecticut in 2017.

He has also studied in Germany, the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom, and Iceland with one-on-one instruction from Bernd Ogrodnik.

Mark has worked with many theaters in addition to the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival as an associate artist and Chicago Puppet Studio Coordinator. He now lives in Iceland and works full-time with Bernd in the studios of Worlds of Puppets.

He also manages and performs with his own company – Rootstock Puppet Works.

His mission is to craft and perform puppet theater rooted in stories that promote mutual kindness and ecological awareness for the good of people and their environment.

"If you want to learn how to make beautiful puppets, then you cannot get better than Bernd. He takes you gently by the hand and passes on his vast experience in puppeteering and wood carving. This course has helped me find my confidence and sparked my creative side. You won't be disappointed. There is at least one puppet striving to get out of all of us. Let this course help it emerge."


Mary Nagler, Professional Puppeteer, Artistic Director of Whorls of Wonder Puppet Theater

"This course has broadened my horizon in puppet building. A very finely tuned teaching concept, enriched with all the craftsmanship needed at this stage, integrated into a philosophical superstructure to "understand" the material wood and bring it to life. Whether beginner or advanced, everyone can find their level. It was a very pleasant journey. Thank you."


Andreas Kurrus, Puppeteer, Puppet Builder

Foundation Course to Puppet Mastery with Bernd Ogrodnik Curriculum

This workshop starts as soon as you enroll and stretches over eight weeks with one class per week. You can watch the pre-recorded classes whenever you want, until the end of the program.


In completing these carefully designed steps, you will be able to carve your own wooden table-top puppet and approach more advanced styles of puppets.

Week 1

Project Description and First Experience With the Carving Knife

Week 2

Discover Wooden Wisdom and the Joy of Character Design

Week 3

Making Your First Technical Drawing

Week 4

Transferring Your Ideas to Blocks of Wood

Week 5

Working With Wood – The Art of Drilling

Week 6

The Art of Sawing, and Practicing Advanced Carving Techniques

Week 7

Sculpting Head, Body, Hands and Discovering Further Tools

Week 8

Assembling, Dressing, Painting, and Manipulating Your First Puppet

Foundation Course to Puppet Mastery with Bernd Ogrodnik Curriculum

This workshop starts as soon as you enroll and stretches over eight weeks with one class per week. You can watch the pre-recorded classes whenever you want, until the end of the program.


In completing these carefully designed steps, you will be able to carve your own wooden table-top puppet and approach more advanced styles of puppets.

Week 1

Project Description and First Experience With the Carving Knife

Week 2

Discover Wooden Wisdom and the Joy of Character Design

Week 3

Making Your First Technical Drawing

Week 4

Transferring Your Ideas to Blocks of Wood

Week 5

Working With Wood – The Art of Drilling

Week 6

The Art of Sawing, and Practicing Advanced Carving Techniques

Week 7

Sculpting Head, Body, Hands and Discovering Further Tools

Week 8

Assembling, Dressing, Painting, and Manipulating Your First Puppet

Here's what former course students have to say:

"As someone who had never carved wood before, I was somewhat nervous undertaking the challenge of creating a carved wood puppet. Bernd's lessons and encouragement kept me going and gave me the tools/methods and inspiration required to complete my first carved piece. With what I've learned, I feel confident to tackle more carved projects and have a few more puppets in mind that are calling out to me to be made."

Anna-Maria Lawrie, Artist, Art Educator

"This course gave me a true appreciation and respect for the art of puppetry. Bernd is an inspiring instructor. I will take with me not only the skills I learned during the course but also a deeper understanding of the meaning of creating a character. I felt encouraged and supported by a whole community of creative artists. Thank you!"

Professor Céline Perron, Theatre and Dance Department, Keene State College

"Thank you for offering this wonderful course. I feel like I have been waiting for many years to make some artistic and technical progress in my work as a puppeteer. You have been a very inspiring teacher in many ways by asking the participants to consider how we approach puppetry as an art, and in the way, you approach the craft of wood carving as well. This course has given me the needed confidence to start new projects after many years of stagnation. I also liked getting to know the other participants in this course. There are many very talented and very inspiring people in this class."

Antony Chapman, English Literature and Drama Teacher

What's inside this Foundation Course:

  • 8 pre-recorded online classes which you can watch whenever you want (released once a week)
  • Ongoing assistance from our team throughout eight weeks
  • 2 live Q&A sessions per month (you can either pre-submit your question or join live). The sessions will be recorded, so you can watch them anytime.
  • 2 months of access to a private Facebook community where you can join fellow wooden puppet explorers for further insights, support, and share learning experiences
  • Detailed diagrams ready to print out
  • Certificate of completion after submitting your complete Buddy Puppet

Bonus 1: KITCHEN TABLE WORKBENCH INSTRUCTIONS

You get instant access once you join!

The Kitchen Table Workbench is a fully functional mini-workbench designed to kickstart your carving and puppet-building dreams! Crafted with convenience and practicality in mind, this bonus inside the Academy is a game-changer for budding artisans worldwide. The provided blueprint and instructions offer a straightforward solution for building a functional mini-workbench, saving you time and money by avoiding wasted materials and guesswork.

Join the ranks of inspired creators and unlock your potential with the Kitchen Table Workbench, your gateway to a world of craftsmanship and imagination.

Bonus 2: SHARPENING COURSE

You get instant access once you join!

Learning to properly sharpen your knives and chisels could be a workshop all by itself. It’s a vital skill for the successful woodcarver to learn. In fact, Bernd believes that the lack of this skill is the major reason we find so few puppet artists working in wood.


This bonus class gives you detailed instructions on sharpening your tools. Once you buy the course, you will instantly get a confirmation email with the link to access this bonus class.


We hope you will appreciate the pleasure of cutting your wood with a razor-sharp blade!

Questions fellow puppet enthusiasts asked before joining the course:

When does the course begin?

The Foundation Course to Puppet Mastery is closed for enrollment. If you sign up for the waiting list, we will send you a message and you will have the opportunity to register as soon as possible.

 

What if I don't have any woodworking or carving experience before taking this course?

We're so glad you asked that!

Guess what: we have students like you, who joined the Foundation Course and have never held a carving knife before.

Carving is like any other skill — you just need to start and practice, practice, practice. So, you can absolutely join even if you have no woodworking or carving experience.

What if I'm not fluent in English?

Don't worry! We're not native English speakers either 🙂 In the pre-recorded classes, Bernd explains everything slowly so anyone can understand. However, if you don't understand something, you can always pause the video, rewind, and watch it again. Plus, you'll have a community of fellow students who will be eager to help you if you have any questions.

 

Will I benefit from the course if I have already built wooden puppets?

Definitely! The course not only teaches the making of one of Bernd's most treasured puppet designs, but it also offers a tremendous wealth of tips and trade secrets that even advanced builders will benefit from. 

Bernd will share what he has carefully studied and discovered in his almost 40-year journey as a successful puppeteer! 

What if I fall behind?

The motto of our course is: working through the material at your own pace!

Classes are pre-recorded, and you can watch them at your own pace on your own time.

 

I'm worried that I don't have any tools. How can I start?

We have had people like you with us that have made amazing puppets with an absolute minimum of tools.

We want to make it possible for EVERYONE to take part in this course with an absolute minimum of readily available tools.

Although you will learn about basic and advanced tools, all you need to start is a utility knife, coping saw, fine handsaw, and a drill.

Maneesh from India built his first puppet with just a utility knife and a coping saw.

So, you don't need to buy many tools in the beginning. You can start with just the utility knife, which you can buy at the gas station, and build your toolkit at your own pace.

I have physical challenges — I have arthritis — is it still possible for me to take the course?

We have many participants struggling with health challenges.

The use of various tool handles, constant reminders of correct posture, etc., are just a small part of this process.

If you have any other questions concerning this course offer, please send us an email at info@worldsofpuppets.com and we will answer as quickly as possible.

Questions fellow puppet enthusiasts asked before joining the course:

When does the course begin?

The Foundation Course to Puppet Mastery is closed for enrollment. If you sign up for the waiting list, we will send you a message and you will have the opportunity to register as soon as possible.

 

What if I don't have any woodworking or carving experience before taking this course?

We're so glad you asked that!

Guess what: we have students like you, who joined the Foundation Course and have never held a carving knife before.

Carving is like any other skill — you just need to start and practice, practice, practice. So, you can absolutely join even if you have no woodworking or carving experience.

What if I'm not fluent in English?

Don't worry! We're not native English speakers either 🙂 In the pre-recorded classes, Bernd explains everything slowly so anyone can understand. However, if you don't understand something, you can always pause the video, rewind, and watch it again. Plus, you'll have a community of fellow students who will be eager to help you if you have any questions.

 

Will I benefit from the course if I have already built wooden puppets?

Definitely! The course not only teaches the making of one of Bernd's most treasured puppet designs, but it also offers a tremendous wealth of tips and trade secrets that even advanced builders will benefit from. 

Bernd will share what he has carefully studied and discovered in his almost 40-year journey as a successful puppeteer! 

What if I fall behind?

The motto of our course is: working through the material at your own pace!

Classes are pre-recorded, and you can watch them at your own pace on your own time.

 

I'm worried that I don't have any tools. How can I start?

We have had people like you with us that have made amazing puppets with an absolute minimum of tools.

We want to make it possible for EVERYONE to take part in this course with an absolute minimum of readily available tools.

Although you will learn about basic and advanced tools, all you need to start is a utility knife, coping saw, fine handsaw, and a drill.

Maneesh from India built his first puppet with just a utility knife and a coping saw.

So, you don't need to buy many tools in the beginning. You can start with just the utility knife, which you can buy at the gas station, and build your toolkit at your own pace.

I have physical challenges — I have arthritis — is it still possible for me to take the course?

We have many participants struggling with health challenges.

The use of various tool handles, constant reminders of correct posture, etc., are just a small part of this process.

If you have any other questions concerning this course offer, please send us an email at info@worldsofpuppets.com and we will answer as quickly as possible.

Ready to turn wood into a puppet character of your own imagination?

Ready to turn wood into a puppet character of your own imagination?