By embracing imperfection and being open to collaboration, Rachel and Shelagh have used art and whimsy to cultivate a community of play. Through public engagement with large puppetry, Rachel and Shelagh have discovered how the arts can create a synergy among diverse communities, a world of play that serves to counter the sometimes negative intensity of everyday life.
The Cattywampus Puppet Council first convened during the summer of 2014 when good friends Rachel Milford and Shelagh Leutwiler came together one afternoon with the desire to create a little magic in Knoxville. Both brought with them many years of creating art, performing, and mischief-making. You see, before moving back to Knoxville in 2012, Rachel had been working with a puppet troupe in Saxapahaw, NC called Paperhand Puppet Intervention and had ever since dreamed of bringing puppets to her hometown of Knoxville. It didn’t take much convincing to bring Shelagh on board, along with her creativity, artistic prowess, and love of paper and paint. Thus, on that hot, muggy afternoon, these two ladies sculpted their first puppet head together, and the magic was born.
The mission of the Cattywampus Puppet Council is to craft community and play through puppets. We strive to do this through creating shows, workshops, and puppet parades, involving members of the community of all ages and backgrounds in this process. We hope to foster dialogue, laughter, wonder, and healing along the way. To learn more, visit www.cattywampuspuppetcouncil.com.