Foundation Course to Puppet Mastery with Bernd Ogrodnik

Turn wood into a puppet character of your own imagination

The 4-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.

There is no date for the next course yet. 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.

“This course is an absolute must to start and learn about puppetry. Both for absolute beginners and experienced carvers.” 

Mariella Devos, Costumes Sculpting/Design

"One of the best experiences I have had since my puppet master Mr. Pablo Manns and I were carving together. A bond with the magical experience of making puppets that I once learned as a young man. Moving."


Miguel Rojas, Wood Carver

"I've always wanted to make puppets, but I didn't know how to start."

Does this sound like you?

You have been fascinated with marionettes and puppets since you played with one as a child. Perhaps you’ve even made simple paper mâché puppets before.


You want to discover the art of wooden puppets, but you’ve always felt intimidated by the tools and the work of it.


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 — our Foundation Course will confidently guide you into the heart of wood so you can learn how to transform a block of wood into your first highly functional puppet.

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

Puppet Mastery with Bernd Ogrodnik - Foundation Course is for anyone who:

  • Has looked at a piece of wood and desired to make something extraordinary
  • Wants to start creating new characters that help tell stories
  • Wants to learn more about working with wood as a medium
  • 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:

  • Precise introduction of basic, traditional, and modern advanced tools of the trade and how to safely use them
  • The nature, qualities, and correct choice of wood
  • How to design a strong and clear character
  • The designing and making of 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
  • How to get started with a minimum of tools
  • How to manipulate your puppet

PLUS: An overview of various highly functional puppet styles, featured in the advanced follow-up courses

"I've always wanted to make puppets, but I didn't know how to start."

Does this sound like you?

You have been fascinated with marionettes and puppets since you played with one as a child. Perhaps you’ve even made simple paper mâché puppets before.


You want to discover the art of wooden puppets, but you’ve always felt intimidated by the tools and the work of it.


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 — our Foundation Course will confidently guide you into the heart of wood so you can learn how to transform a block of wood into your first highly functional puppet.

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

Puppet Mastery with Bernd Ogrodnik - Foundation Course is for anyone who:

  • Has looked at a piece of wood and desired to make something extraordinary
  • Wants to start creating new characters that help tell stories
  • Wants to learn more about working with wood as a medium
  • 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:

  • Precise introduction of basic, traditional, and modern advanced tools of the trade and how to safely use them
  • The nature, qualities, and correct choice of wood
  • How to design a strong and clear character
  • The designing and making of 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
  • How to get started with a minimum of tools
  • How to manipulate your puppet

PLUS: An overview of various highly functional puppet styles, featured in the advanced follow-up courses

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

JIM JER SEY

JIM JER SEY

JIM JER SEY

Meet 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 films.

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

Meet 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 films.

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.

"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 stretches over four weeks with two weekly classes. It consists of online videos that you can watch at your own pace during the month.


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

Week 1

  • Discovering the relationship between puppet, performer, and audience
  • Character development
  • Discovering the qualities of wood
  • First experiments with the carving knife

Week 2

  • Learning the tools of the trade, both traditional and modern
  • Making technical patterns from character drawings
  • Pre-cutting wooden blocks for various body parts

Week 3

  • Creating the head
  • The art of drilling and carving
  • Creating body, arms, and legs

Week 4

  • Assembling the body parts
  • Painting and clothing options
  • Manipulation
  • Vision quest for the future

Here's what the former Foundation 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 (released twice a week)
  • One extra month of access to the online platform in order to catch up and work at your own pace in the comfort of your home
  • Continued assistance from our team for two months
  • 4 live Q&A sessions during the first month (once a week)
  • One live Q&A session during the extra month of access
  • 1 live interactive Zoom Celebration Call at the end of the course
  • 2 months of access to a private Facebook group 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 completed Buddy Puppet

Bonus: Sharpening Course

Available instantly when you join the Foundation Course

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. It will be available before the actual Foundation Course (which will start on May 17). 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 Foundation Course:

When does the course begin?

There is no date for the next course yet. 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.

Do I need any woodworking experience prior to taking this course?

No, the course is designed in a way that everyone can participate.

What happens after I join the course?

You will receive an email confirming your purchase. In the same email, you will also get instructions on how you can access the bonus class: the sharpening course.

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 offers a tremendous wealth of tips and trade secrets that even advanced builders will benefit from. Bernd shares what he has meticulously studied and discovered in his 36 years as a successful puppeteer! You do not want to miss out on that! ☺

What if I want to jump to the advanced course immediately as my dream is to build marionettes?

It takes patience and tremendous knowledge to build a highly functional marionette. We invite you to follow the steps Bernd carefully designed for you to best reach your goal... there are no shortcuts to mastery. ☺

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 that we have actively supported and considered.
The use of various tool handles, constant reminders of correct posture, etc., are just a small part of this process.
Bernd will also introduce you to specialty tools and special rigs and devices that support participants with such physical challenges.

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 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.

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.

Will I have direct access to Bernd during the courses?

There will be a weekly live session for questions. You will also have the option to send in your questions and watch the session when it’s the most convenient for you.

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 Foundation Course:

When does the course begin?

There is no date for the next course yet. 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.

Do I need any woodworking experience prior to taking this course?

No, the course is designed in a way that everyone can participate.

What happens after I join the course?

You will receive an email confirming your purchase. In the same email, you will also get instructions on how you can access the bonus class: the sharpening course.

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 offers a tremendous wealth of tips and trade secrets that even advanced builders will benefit from. Bernd shares what he has meticulously studied and discovered in his 36 years as a successful puppeteer! You do not want to miss out on that! ☺

What if I want to jump to the advanced course immediately as my dream is to build marionettes?

It takes patience and tremendous knowledge to build a highly functional marionette. We invite you to follow the steps Bernd carefully designed for you to best reach your goal... there are no shortcuts to mastery. ☺

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 that we have actively supported and considered.
The use of various tool handles, constant reminders of correct posture, etc., are just a small part of this process.
Bernd will also introduce you to specialty tools and special rigs and devices that support participants with such physical challenges.

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 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.

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.

Will I have direct access to Bernd during the courses?

There will be a weekly live session for questions. You will also have the option to send in your questions and watch the session when it’s the most convenient for you.

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?