Puppet Mastery With Bernd Ogrodnik

Academy of the Wooden Puppet

Learn step by step how to make advanced and highly functional marionettes,

and start carving figures and characters you never imagined you could make.

The Academy of the Wooden Puppet 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.

A Full-Year Advanced Experience With a Step by Step Tutorship Into the Fine Art of Making Wooden Puppets

The Academy is a one-of-a-kind program that will teach you so many things that you will not be able to find in any other programs or books.

The creation of the Academy of the Wooden Puppets is built on Bernd Ogrodnik's successes and trials of a 35-year illustrious career exploring and enhancing the art of puppetry.

It teaches everything he would have loved to know when starting his personal journey, in searching for mastery.

Hundreds of interns and students he had the privilege of working with have taught him valuable insights about their needs and longings and how to best nurture their individual paths.

Building on the approach and success of our previous courses, we created a full-year academy, existing of high-quality prerecorded sessions, done with a whole film crew.

We are proud and excited to offer you this amazing program. And it would be an honor to witness your path to puppet mastery!

This is a program with a holistic approach.


You will not just find out how to make puppets and how to carve. You will also learn a different way of looking at life. You will start to observe the world around you in a new way. You will learn how to connect with your audience on yet a different level. So that you can change your and their lives for the better.


From the bottom of our hearts and the intimacy of Bernds' studio here in Iceland straight to your living room/workshop, Bernd invites you to join him for this one-of-a-kind opportunity to explore the magical world of the wooden puppet.

Gain unique insights and techniques in puppetry. Start building highly advanced and highly functional marionettes.

No matter if you're a beginner or advanced woodcarver. You'll gain Bernd's unique insights developed during his 35+ years of work as an extremely successful Puppeteer and a Puppet builder.

With a step-by-step tutorship.

Here's What You'll Walk Away With After a Full Year in the Academy:

  • You'll understand the innovative puppet designs and techniques of Bernd's award-winning performances and works for the stage and the screen
  • You'll understand the physics behind each mechanism and control you choose for the puppet. So that whenever you build your character, you'll be able to make your own educated choices of What and How
  • Bernd will not tell you which type of wood you need to use. That's because in the Academy you will start to UNDERSTAND what kind of wood is the best for your puppet and you will be able to choose the best type of wood in your region
  • You'll gain a deep understanding of what principles the various systems and techniques are grounded in
  • You will have learned the full spectrum of Bernd's teachings while building puppets according to your time and skill level
  • You'll have in-detail instructions on how to create each part of the puppet and how to create each type of puppet of your choice
  • You will have applied all the knowledge gained, into your own performances and puppet creations
  • You'll receive an Academy Certification upon completion of the program
  • And let us not forget about the wonderful and supportive community of fellow students you will cherish for a long time

A Full-Year Advanced Experience With a Step by Step Tutorship Into the Fine Art of Making Wooden Puppets

The Academy is a one-of-a-kind program that will teach you so many things that you will not be able to find in any other programs or books.

The creation of the Academy of the Wooden Puppets is built on Bernd Ogrodnik's successes and trials of a 35-year illustrious career exploring and enhancing the art of puppetry.

It teaches everything he would have loved to know when starting his personal journey, in searching for mastery.

Hundreds of interns and students he had the privilege of working with have taught him valuable insights about their needs and longings and how to best nurture their individual paths.

Building on the approach and success of our previous courses, we created a full-year academy, existing of high-quality prerecorded sessions, done with a whole film crew. We are proud and excited to offer you this amazing program. And it would be an honor to witness your path to puppet mastery!

This is a program with a holistic approach.


You will not just find out how to make puppets and how to carve. You will also learn a different way of looking at life. You will start to observe the world around you in a new way. You will learn how to connect with your audience on yet a different level. So that you can change your and their lives for the better.


From the bottom of our hearts and the intimacy of Bernds' studio here in Iceland straight to your living room/workshop, Bernd invites you to join him for this one-of-a-kind opportunity to explore the magical world of the wooden puppet.

Gain unique insights and techniques in puppetry. Start building highly advanced and highly functional marionettes.

No matter if you're a beginner or advanced woodcarver. You'll gain Bernd's unique insights developed during his 35+ years of work as an extremely successful Puppeteer and a Puppet builder.

With a step-by-step tutorship.

Here's What You'll Walk Away With After a Full Year in the Academy:

  • You'll understand the innovative puppet designs and techniques of Bernd's award-winning performances and works for the stage and the screen
  • You'll understand the physics behind each mechanism and control you choose for the puppet. So that whenever you build your character, you'll be able to make your own educated choices of What and How
  • Bernd will not tell you which type of wood you need to use. That's because in the Academy you will start to UNDERSTAND what kind of wood is the best for your puppet and you will be able to choose the best type of wood in your region
  • You'll gain a deep understanding of what principles the various systems and techniques are grounded in
  • You will have learned the full spectrum of Bernd's teachings while building puppets according to your time and skill level
  • You'll have in-detail instructions on how to create each part of the puppet and how to create each type of puppet of your choice
  • You will have applied all the knowledge gained, into your own performances and puppet creations
  • You'll receive an Academy Certification upon completion of the program
  • And let us not forget about the wonderful and supportive community of fellow students you will cherish for a long time

Welcome to the One-Of-A-Kind

Academy of the Wooden Puppet

Hi! I'm Bernd, and like you, I'm fascinated by the life-changing power of puppets.


I've been in the world of puppetry since 1986. I'm the artistic director and co-founder of "Worlds of Puppets" and have served as the Master Puppeteer for the National Theater of Iceland.


I have done over 7000 live performances and toured all over Europe, Canada, the USA, Africa, and Asia as a performer, director, teacher, and lecturer at international (puppet-) theaters, festivals, Universities, and conferences.


I've been performing, directing, and creating marionettes, puppets, and masks for various theaters and operas worldwide, for collectors and museums, commercials, TV, and film.


You might also know me from the groundbreaking marionette movie "Strings," where I served as the Lead Puppeteer and the chief technical designer of the puppets.


Throughout the 35+ years of my career, I've developed numerous ground-breaking designs for constructing puppets and their control mechanisms.

You won't find these gems in any books out there!

Puppetry has become my medium for fulfilling my purpose on earth. My mission is to elevate this medium and show how powerful puppets can be, in everyday life.


Mastery is a journey, not a destination, and I am dedicated to making this challenging journey meaningful and joyful.


Our explorations 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 puppets.


Together with my wonderful team, we're here to support you on this journey of becoming a great puppet builder so you can truly elevate and serve the world around you.


Join the ranks of healers in disguise in bringing some sobriety, unity, and healing to a chaotic world, preoccupied with division.

Welcome to the One-Of-A-Kind

Academy of the Wooden Puppets

Hi! I'm Bernd, and like you, I'm fascinated by the life-changing power of puppets.


I've been in the world of puppetry since 1986. I'm the artistic director and co-founder of "Worlds of Puppets" and have served as the Master Puppeteer for the National Theater of Iceland.


I have done over 7000 live performances and toured all over Europe, Canada, the USA, Africa, and Asia as a performer, director, teacher, and lecturer at international (puppet-) theaters, festivals, Universities, and conferences.


I've been performing, directing, and creating marionettes, puppets, and masks for various theaters and operas worldwide, for collectors and museums, commercials, TV, and film.


You might also know me from the groundbreaking marionette movie "Strings," where I served as the Lead Puppeteer and the chief technical designer of the puppets.


Throughout the 35+ years of my career, I've developed numerous ground-breaking designs for constructing puppets and their control mechanisms.

You won't find these gems in any books out there!

Puppetry has become my medium for fulfilling my purpose on earth. My mission is to elevate this medium and show how powerful puppets can be, in everyday life.


Mastery is a journey, not a destination, and I am dedicated to making this challenging journey meaningful and joyful.


Our explorations 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 puppets.


Together with my wonderful team, we're here to support you on this journey of becoming a great puppet builder so you can truly elevate and serve the world around you.


Join the ranks of healers in disguise in bringing some sobriety, unity, and healing to a chaotic world, preoccupied with division.

Love From Our Former Students

By far the best professional development you could ever hope to access online as a puppet maker."

This course will open your eyes too far more than you could ever imagine. I was already recommending it to everyone, and I will keep doing so for as long as there are courses. When's the next one? Count us in! :) 

Clare McCarthy, Creative Director/Producer at Broken Puppet Theatre Company, England

The Academy has transformed my wooden puppetry dreams into reality."

From setting up an efficient workplace to learning how to make numerous styles of puppets, I am now filled with solid knowledge, and as many tools and ideas to explore further. Bernd's professionalism and dedication offer more than a puppet class: a certain way to look at the world, a community of puppet lovers around the globe, and a true sense of the importance to share this art form further.

Maïté Agopian, Puppeteer

“This course has given me the needed confidence for me to start new projects after many years of stagnation.”

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 for me 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

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.”

As someone who had never carved wood before, I was somewhat nervous about 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

“I've gained confidence in my ability to take on a complicated project”

I have taken many classes and taught some, but this one is special. I feel so lucky that I have been able to have this class with Bernd. He breaks things down in clear and precise ways we can all understand and offers us support as we try and figure it out.

The Q and A's were so helpful when we were confused about the lesson and Bernd stuck with an issue until he knew we had gotten it. During the live Zoom, he gave such good attention and met us where we were. His encouragement and supportive nature allowed us to bring our questions to him without feeling inadequate. He was also very honest and realistic in feedback about what to expect if we wanted to begin a new puppet career.

He created a warm and loving atmosphere, with a sense of humor, and the opportunity to see the performances were an added bonus. When watching someone with such skill and artfulness, everything looks easy. So his emphasis on practice was received with humility. Thank you, Bernd.

I have become comfortable with saws, chisels, and knives. The power tools especially are not as intimidating. I've gained confidence in my ability to take on a complicated project. I understand more about wood and how to work with it instead of against it. And the carving process as opposed to the plastic process of building in clay, which I am more familiar with.

I have been an artist for 45 years but this is a new direction for me and I am not done. This has been such a bright light in this strange time of Covid.

Jo Ann Kaminsky

“This Academy changed my life”

If you considering signing up for this Academy, here is what I can tell you from my experience: 

1. Bernd is a great teacher. He is a master of the craft, keeps no secrets, really wants with all his heart to teach it, and does it lovingly, generously. He loves what he is doing, loves teaching it, and you really feel that he loves each and every student. To sum it up: Professional loving master teacher. Also, his great positive energy of open heart and kindness influences everything else - this is how I experience puppetry.

2. The teachings are so broad! And he is there to answer every question, and he shows us other artists' works to expand our horizons, just learn and fly with it, the sky is no limit :-)


In the Academy, Bernd also shares a lot from his performances, which is so interesting, seeing the puppets in actual performance.

3. Fellow students - are so kind and supportive, a bunch of beautiful souls, help each other, inspire each other.

4. This Academy changed my life. When I signed up, I did it because it seemed to me so special that I could not pass it by, but I was sure I am not going to do anything with it afterward. I was sure it was not for me. But - I found out I was wrong - I found that this is what I want to do in my life (for now anyway :-) ) to serve the world with loving puppetry.

5. The projects were not easy for me (The Foundation Course was my first wood experience ever). I learned that I can do things I did not believe I can. Learning to believe in my ability to do challenging things is a great lesson by itself. 

6. If you do sign up, I am excited for you - this is a wonderful journey!

Yael, now a Puppeteer

Here Is How the Academy of the Wooden Puppet Works

You'll spend 12 months in the Academy supported by fellow enthusiasts of the

Art of the Wooden Puppet.


With Bernd's support (and our team) you will be able to build a world of new stories and characters.

  • The Academy runs for over a whole year.
  • Once you join, you'll start with the Foundation Course.
  • After two months of the Foundation Course, you’ll start advanced classes at the Academy.
  • The Academy features 6 separate teaching modules with 8 classes each.
  • A four-week instruction period is followed by four weeks of "time to catch up" and accommodating vacation time, etc. So you have time to catch up if you fall behind.
  • In total, you'll receive 60+ pre-recorded classes.
  • Classes are released twice a week.
  • There is a weekly Q&A session so that you can ask your most pressing questions.
  • Additionally, you can interact with Bernd once a month during a live Zoom meeting where you can show your work and Bernd can give you feedback.
  • During the "catching-up" period (every other month), the weekly Q&A session and monthly Zoom meetings continue.
  • Learn at your own pace. You'll have an additional full year of access to all the course material after the Academy ends. You will also have access to all the recordings of the Zoom and Q&A sessions.
  • Honoring different skill levels and time schedules, you have the choice of how many puppets you will build. Many of the techniques apply to various puppet styles. You don't always have to create a complete puppet to learn a new style.

A Sneak Peek Inside the

Academy of the Wooden Puppet

Module 1: Hand-Puppets – Rooted in Folklore, Destined to Entertain

In this module:

  • You’ll find out which puppet styles you will be exploring during this year
  • Learn how to make simple generic heads to help you save time
  • You’ll learn how to make simple and advanced hand puppets

Module 2: Rod-Puppets - From Ancient Sacred Roots to Modern Innovations

In this module, you’ll learn:

  • Making of three very different and unique Rod-Puppets
  • Find out the principle of “three-point attachment”
  • Creating simple wood/leather joints
  • Creating expressive hands

Module 3: Tabletop-Puppets – Mastertools for the Storyteller

In this module, you’ll find out how to:

  • Make an advanced Tabletop-Puppet
  • Learn how to create beautiful and highly functional wooden joints
  • Learn how to create a “ball-joint”
  • How to make the “one hand tabletop control”

Module 4: Marionettes Part 1 – Discovering the Dance With Gravity

During this module, you will gain a basic understanding of creating highly functional marionettes.

You will learn:

  • The making of a scarf marionette
  • The making of simple human and animal marionettes
  • The making of "stationary" marionettes

Module 5: Marionettes Part 2 – Further Insides to Construction and Control Techniques

In this module, you will deepen your understanding of the noble marionette.

  • You will learn the making of a "geodesic puppet"
  • The making of the advance one hand controlled marionette

Module 6: Marionettes Part 3 – Mastering the Mighty Queen of Puppetry

In this module, everything you have learned so far will assist you in making a fully jointed advanced marionette as featured in the movie "Strings".

  • You will learn about various advanced joints and control systems
  • You will find out how to correctly weigh and balance your puppet
  • You will explore advanced eye mechanisms
  • How to apply all your new knowledge on your ongoing journey

You’re ready to continue the journey into the wonderland of wooden puppets if:

➡️ You are looking for safe and encouraging guidance to start your Puppet Building adventure

➡️ You want to deepen your experience and knowledge

➡️ You are eager to become more proficient with your tools and learn more efficient ways to sculpt wood

➡️ You want to learn how you can build more intricate types of puppets

➡️  You want to experience more of the learnings in the nurturing and soothing environment of Bernd’s workshop and in the closed Facebook group of trusted travel companions

If you said "yes" to any of the above, then you’re ready to become a member of the

"Academy of the Wooden Puppet".

Notes From Our Students

"The Academy is Respect and Love for the beautiful art of puppetry and the universe that surrounds us."

Invaluable experiences of a great artist and instructor and all his energy and motivation to create new adventures and storytellers. A lot of incredible techniques in puppet and marionette design, from different angles and looks, their creation, and manipulation. An important amount of reading material, videos and artists on the subject, and also use (and good use) different tools, and last but not least, an incredible sense of humor.

Miguel Rojas, Teacher and Puppet Maker

"Ideal course for anyone who dreams to be a skilled Puppet Builder."


Bernd understands the question very well and solves it very clearly with a variety of examples. This helped me to understand much better ways and to find solutions with my limited resources. Thanks a ton for organizing this dream course. <3 🙂


Maneesh Pachiaru, Actor, Puppeteer

What You’ll Get With the Academy of the Wooden Puppet:

  • 60 x pre-recorded classes (classes are released twice a week )
  • 52 x weekly Q&A sessions to get answers to your most pressing questions
  • 12 x Live Group Meetings on Zoom with Bernd Ogrodnik
  • Continuous, uninterrupted access to Bernd
  • Closed Facebook Group with fellow students where you can get support, help, and inspire each other
  • Extra full-year access to all the teaching material of the Academy so you can watch it at your own pace

Questions your fellow creative souls, teachers, storytellers, and artists asked before saying "yes" to the Academy of the Wooden Puppet:

When does the course begin?

The Academy of the Wooden Puppet 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?

Your participation in the Foundation Course will prepare you for the Academy.

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

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

Bernd will share what he has carefully studied and discovered in his 35 years journey as a successful puppeteer!

What if my dream is only to build marionettes?

It takes patience and tremendous knowledge to build a highly functional marionette.

I invite you with all my heart to follow the steps I carefully designed for you to not only create a puppet that looks pretty on the wall but also serves as the most efficient and expressive performance puppet one could wish for.

At the end of this course, you will not only have had the opportunity to build a highly functional marionette, but you will also own the knowledge to create all other main types of wooden puppets. Some of the most effective puppets you will learn about are actually hybrids of string and rod puppets. Their creation leads you step by step to the making of your "dream marionette".

What will I learn besides the making of a puppet?

Bernd nourishes a holistic, not purely technical, approach to puppetry. 

It is breathing, awareness, the art of communication, and an attitude of service which give purpose and strength to studying a technique. 

A lot of what we study when reaching for mastery in any art form strengthens our lives in multiple ways. 

Mastery is a journey, not a destination. 

Traveling widens your horizons and allows you to experience things not imaginable before your journey starts.

I am going on a vacation with my family, will I be able to catch up later?

The motto of our courses is: Working through the material in your own time! 

Classes are pre-recorded, and you can watch them at your own pace. A four-week instruction period is followed by four weeks of "time to catch up", for accommodating vacation time, etc.

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 easily 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.

One person 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. Start only with 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 - would it still be possible for me to take the course?

We have many participants struggling with such health challenges.

Bernd will introduce you to specialty tools and special rigs and devices that support participants with such physical challenges.

Once you join the Academy, you will receive an exceptional bonus:


Two-part series where you'll get instructions on Bernd's famous Dremel Box and an in-depth description of the use of High-Speed Rotating Tools.


These tools will support you to pursue your carving passion when you have physical challenges in your hands and wrists.

Will I have direct access to Bernd during the courses?

There will be ongoing weekly live sessions for questions and answers. In addition, we will conduct monthly interactive live Zoom meetings for more personal assistance.

Both the weekly Q and A and Zoom sessions will continue during the "off months".

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

Step Into the Next Chapter on Your Creative Path

A year from now, you will be full of knowledge and enthusiasm for the art of puppetry. This journey will enrich your life beyond the realms of the puppet.

Step into the next chapter on your creative path

A year from now, you will be full of knowledge and enthusiasm for the art of puppetry. This journey will enrich your life beyond the realms of the puppet.