The Woodward News

July 25, 2012

Riley teaching campers how to make a puppet

Brandi Thomas
Woodward News

Woodward, Okla. — Since the age of 8, ventriloquism and puppeteering have fascinated Patrick Riley.

He learned those talents and is putting them to use this week as a teacher at the Woodward Youth Summer Arts Camp.

During the camp, Riley, from Oklahoma City, will be teaching students how to make their own puppet.

"By the time we get done, the puppet will be the entire solar system," Riley said. "Today (Tuesday) they are painting their boxes or body which is the earth, the heads will be the sun and the arms and legs will be the rest of the solar system."

Riley said that the body or the earth is the most important part of the project because the earth is the theme for the camp this year.

"They are painting their interpretation of the earth on the box, and I've seen some really great pieces so far this morning (Tuesday)," Riley said.

Riley is also involved in other aspects of art.

"I'm a retired art education instructor, but I'm a working American artist," Riley said.

One of his specialties is mask making, He has done work for several dance companies and once made a mask for Lady GaGa.

"She was being hosted by the Ford Center, in OKC, and the Ford Center commissioned me to make a mask for her as a gift," Riley said.

He said the mask for Lady GaGa was made of leather, nickel silver, silver beads, cooper and lace, and is part of her private collection.

"I love making masks because it is something that is unique in my profession," Riley said.

Riley is also a sculptor and has sculpted an eagle for the Oklahoma Supreme Court.

The Woodward Arts Theater summer youth arts camp continues through Friday this week, with a reception and program on Friday evening from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.