Marilyn Hardy is an emergency room nurse who also happens to be an extremely skilled multidisciplinary artist — with illustration, leather work, and costume making among her many talents. However, one of her biggest artistic hobbies is puppet making, a craft she has been passionate about since elementary school.
When I interviewed Marilyn back in June, she told me that her initial interest in puppet making was sparked by what she saw on television as a child — characters like Kermit the Frog, Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop, the Friendly Giant, and of course Mr Dressup.
“… it’s not like it is now where there’s a lot of emphasis on special effects and CGI. They used puppets back in those days and I was very interested in that.” – Marilyn
Marilyn’s extraordinary foam and glue creations have been featured in several local theatre productions, including the 2013 Mecca production of “Shrek: The Musical”, where she constructed a 36 foot long dragon puppet that required four people to operate. One of the things that struck me most about Marilyn (besides her astounding artistic abilities) is her inventiveness – the ability to design and engineer something like a giant, fully articulated puppet from scratch is truly remarkable.
Marilyn told me that if she could go back in time, she would try and get a job in Jim Henson’s Muppet workshop. I have no doubt that if Marilyn wanted to, she could do that today.