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Puppet master

Updated: Jul 21, 2020

As she nears the completion of her Masters in Creative Practice from EIT Hawke’s Bay, 3D artist Jasmine Ruru has chosen a path to an entrepreneurial career that will allow her creative freedom.

It's one that will mean she can remain true to her values, environmental passion and Māoritanga. For a young woman who left school in Taihape not thinking that art could be a career, the realisation is exciting.

The 23-year-old describes herself as a maker, working in mixed media and telling stories. She uses lots of different forms to create ‘creatures’. She tries to keep the process free and organic, focusing on the emotion a creature evokes and allowing its characteristics to develop in the making. Her fantasy creatures have now progressed into puppets.

During her studies, Jasmine has tested the technologies available to her –laser cutters, workshop equipment, photography, and even the science lab. Working with science tutor Amelia McQueen, she spent time examining invertebrates under a microscope. This observation provided insight into surface textures, movement, the way joints work. ‘It really excited me about the colours, textures and the composition of bodies. It’s driving the work I’m doing now,’ says Jasmine.

Amelia invited Jasmine to speak at an educational forum for early childhood and primary school teachers at the EIT Hawke’s Bay campus. By this stage she’d moved from inanimate to moving creatures, progressing into puppetry. ‘They saw my work in a totally different light. I was coming from an artistic perspective while they were looking at it from an educational view point,’ says Jasmine. ‘My work has a child-like aspect, magical, imaginary. This appeals to children and the teachers could see how it would benefit them as educators. I’d overlooked that fact.’

For her Masters’ research project Jasmine is developing a ‘package’ to go into classrooms that’s ‘immersive, engaging and fun’. Using puppets and drawing on her performance art background, Jasmine will talk about a story that’s relevant to what the class is learning. ‘It’s an opportunity for me to create an experience that is different to ordinary school life. If I can flick the switch to creative energy and fun, then I’ll be thrilled.’

First published ArtZone #77


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