Hobey Ford's Golden Rod Puppets
Hobey Ford is internationally renowned in the puppetry field; an award-winning performer, and a Kennedy Center Partner in Education teaching artist. Ford knew early on what he wanted for his life’s work after seeing a puppet show while still a youngster. While studying at an arts college, Hobey found "... one of the cornerstones to my work. I would approach puppetry as storytelling with puppets." Ford designs and constructs all of his Golden Rod Puppets as well as the beautiful sets that surround them. Now a resident of Asheville North Carolina, Hobey also draws on his early experiences growing up in coastal Connecticut or living in a Nevada Native American community in writing the scripts for some of his performances such as "Whale Walker" and "Turtle Island Tales."
Ford has received the highest awards for his brilliant and priceless contributions to the world of puppetry: two-time winner of puppetry's highest honor, the UNIMA Citation of Excellence, recipient of three Jim Henson Foundation grants, and The Hermitage Fellowship, Hobey Ford is renowned for excellence in his craft. Chosen as a Kennedy Center Partner to teach teachers (and other artists) how to use the performing arts in the classroom curriculum, Hobey not only performs his original works all over the world but also offers workshops to teachers and students alike.
Ford first created the Golden Rod Puppets in 1980 and often adapts folk tales and global cultural traditions for his performances, always adding a special "Golden Rod" twist. Hobey is quick to credit his audiences for completing the creative spark that is ignited with every live performance. Hobey’s is both an innovator in puppetry craft and a master storyteller. He created both the "Foamies" and the clever hand puppet known as "Peepers," an imaginative, patented set of plastic eyes that turn the bare hand into an instant puppet! The "Foamies" are large animal puppets that Hobey designs, carves and paints from blocks of foam. After studying each animal's characteristic movements, Hobey designs various rod control mechanisms to make the puppets themselves move in an incredibly life-like manner. The "Foamies" are presented using both stage and house performance spaces, often flying or "walking" right out over the audiences' heads!
In 2013 – 2014, Ford was also recognized for his creativity using puppets in video format by being selected to create a short film for Heather Henson's Handmade Puppet Dreams Film series. This 7 minute non-verbal version of “Legend of Sleepy Hollow” is a part of Heather's traveling puppet Film Festival. The Avett Brothers have also released a shadow puppet music video by Hobey Ford of their song "Bring Your Love" from their album Another is Waiting. This is Hobey’s second project with the Avetts.
Hobey Ford’s newest production, Sea Song, is the story of a boy's discovery of the natural world at the seaside. This production follows the life cycle of the sea turtle and the fragile interwoven environment of animals living at the edge of land and sea. Sea Song is performed in the style of Ford’s Animalia series featuring his beautiful carved foam animals performed in full view of the audience.