Jennifer Chung

Cultural Puppet

Class of: 2026

Major: Illustration BFA

Medium: Plywood, acrylic paint, string

Faculty: Carolyn Salas

Prompt: For this assignment, we had to create a wearable body extension/object inspired by the physical or ephemeral body, with a focus on connection and disconnection. We were not allowed to use glue and had to implement some form of notching/slotting in the design.

My main inspiration for this project was a little blue penguin puppet I had at home (also a Christmas ornament). The mechanisms of my puppet and the penguin puppet are the same, although while the penguin was made with the intent to celebrate a holiday, to sell to a consumer, mine was made to give. Whenever I made something, there is always the intent to make it as a gift, usually for family. I was reminded of my younger sister when making this puppet, wondering whether or not she would appreciate it if I gave it to her (her birthday is in June, so I was reminded of that too).

I was inspired by the Korean traditional hanbok, specifically the saekdongot (색동옷), a type of hanbok identified by the colorful stripes on the sleeves. The term literally means “colorful stripes” and was often worn by young children to ward off evil. The ribbon used to tie the puppet’s “hair” is a daenggi (댕기) (there are different types of daenggi based on age and social status). The shoes are based on Korean flower shoes (like the daenggi, there are different types and styles of traditional shoes based on occasion and social status).