Maine-Made Gift Guide: Mia Kanazawa Puppets

Some of your friends are into felting, and when you see what they've made, you're like, WTF? Is it a potholder? Maybe a coaster? Perhaps a really small, completely disproportionate tea cozy?

When Mia Kanazawa of Harborside gets her hands on a little wool and some soapy water, the result is both whimsical and refined. Kanazawa was trained as a modern dancer, and she carries that sense of motion and grace to her handiwork.

For decades, she has collaborated with designers to create oversize puppets for such dance companies as Urban Bush Women, David Rousseve and Meredith Monk, along with HBO and Ben & Jerry’s. That's creativity on a giant scale. For the holidays, we have our eyes on something smaller, but no less impressive: Kanazawa's amazing hand and finger puppets.

We're partial to the monkey hand puppet and the pepper finger puppets, but let your imagination run wild. Mia Kanazawa does — and her felted puppets are absolutely adorable. Besides, you'll never mistake them for a tea cozy.

Mia Kanazawa puppets are available at Eli Phant in Portland and Aarhus Gallery in Belfast. For more information about Kanazawa and her work, visit her Web site.


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