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Mermaid Kingdom Felting Workshop and Puppet Show. July 10 – 14, 2023



Workshop Journal


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Friday 7/14/23. Fairy Tale Puppet Show Performance

It’s showtime! The audience poured into the room as Miss Elena performed a tango piece, Youkali by Kurt Weill on the piano to set the tone for our journey of longing, heartbreak, adventure and courage.

The seating of audience.

Special seats in the front row reserved for Miss Holly’s little ones.

While the audience was getting seated, Miss Elena performed Youkali tango by Kurt Weill on the piano. Thank you Andi Levine for this video below.


Puppeteers excited to start the show. Aidan say, “Wait for my dad!” So we waited for his dad to come before we start the show.

This video is unlisted on YouTube

The Mermaid Kingdom Fairy Tale Puppet Show.

You can skip past my yadda yadda yadda and enjoy the puppet show starting at 2:28″. Thank you Andi Levine for the video below.

The same puppet show, video below taken by me.

I apologize for the poor quality video below, cutting off the beginning of the story coz I was busy looking for my sweetheart in the audience.

If you have a good quality video, please send to me! – Jzin (949) 400-7082)


“Face him with courage,” the Queen of Mermaids had said, “and what you seek will come about.”

As night fell, Peanut once again reached the small island where the mermaid sat fending off sharks with a broken narwhal’s tusk.

Puppeteer Mavry spoke for Peanut (crafted by Michelle). Puppeteer Micah spoke for the Sad Mermaid (crafted by Evie). Photo by Andi

“To this day, if you see a ring of dolphins in the sea, know that they are protecting a mermaid giving birth.”  Narrated by Helena.

Sofia with dolphins, Micah with The Sad Mermaid wielding a narwhal tusk. Guitar music by Mattea. Photo by Andi

Just then, the merkittens smelled the strong fishy scent of Captain Fishhead. Eagerly, they leaped up on deck and began to lick him and purr loudly, for it is well known that all good merkittens love fish.

“A pet who loves the sea as much as I do?!” he exclaimed. “Why am I fighting when I can instead play with merkittens?”

“I am Peanut, and I have come with the Sword of Salamansa. Release my beloved, for I am the rightful ruler of this land.”

After the puppet show

Mavry was the puppeteer and voice for Peanut.

Here, she posed with some of the many characters she felted in class: Merkitten, Mermaid Queen and Blonde Girl.

I am so proud of my creative, passionate, focused, driven, amazing students! – Jzin

Mavry (left), Miss Jzin (right).

Hurray, my pirate ship made of sticks, books, bucket and pipe cleaners still stood at the end of the show!

Pirate scene, seem from behind the scene:

For those whowere unable to pick up their crafts, tools, sketch books, musical instruments left behind after class etc, please see Mr. Jay Briand in aftercare. He has them in a basket, waiting for you to come pick up.

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Fairy Tale Characters and Their Crafters

This was a 5 day workshop, Mon – Fri 9am – 1pm. The imaginative students were focused, enthusiastic and driven. They did such beautiful work in a span of a few days!

The cast of our play was handmade by our workshop students from Monday 7/10/23 to Thu 7/13/23. Mostly, a few were made by Instructors

          1. Peanut – Michelle
          2. Angelo, the beloved of Peanut – Elena, Jzin
          3. A Sultan of The Ottoman Empire – Jzin
          4. Octopus Army – workshop students
          5. weapons of the Octopus Army – Gabrielle, Helena, Aiden, Jzin
          6. Mermaid Sisters – Micah, Meckenzie, Sage, Mattea,
          7. Captain Fishhead – Aidan
          8. Pirate “Feed her to the sharks!” – Sage
          9. Pirate, flamboyant – Peribeau
          10. Pirate Galley Cook – Meckenzie
          11. Pirates, deck hand – Catherine
          12. Pirate, ship mom – Gabrielle
          13. The Fisherman/Shipwrecked sailor/Hermit – Brett
          14. Coconuts, the sustenance of the hermit – Brett
          15. The Sad Mermaid – Evie
          16. Blonde Mermaid Baby – Helena
          17. Decorations of the Sad Mermaid’s cave – Evie
          18. Sea otter mother – Jzin
          19. Sea otter baby – Micah
          20. Jellyfish, guardians of the Mermaid Kingdom – Workshop students
          21. Mermaid Queen – Mavry
          22. Fire Mermaid, Attendant of the Mermaid Queen – Peribeau
          23. Water Mermaid, Attendant of the Mermaid Queen – Brett
          24. Merman: Aiden
          25. Mermaids – Workshop Students
          26. Stingrays – Workshop Students
          27. 5 dolphins – mostly by Jzin Teng
          28. 2 Naughty Merkittens – Micah
          29. 1 Naughty Merkitten with red tail – Mavry
          30. The Sword of Salamansa
          31. Other characters on the display table
            • Blonde girl – Mavry
            • Ariel – Catherine
            • Cute girl – Catherine
            • Young woman – Helena
            • Stingray
            • Octopus

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        • Workshop Instructors, Jzin Teng and Elena Roussanova of Castle of Costa Mesa
        • Cast of Puppets – handmade by workshop of 16 beginner felting students from Mon 7/10/23 – Thu 7/13/23.
        • Story – Fairy Tale “Mermaid Kingdom” – plot by Jzin Teng and playwriting by Elena Roussanova.
        • Musical Direction, Elena Roussanova
        • Fairy Tale Puppet Show Directed by Elena Roussanova
        • Opening music. “Youkali” Tango habernera by “Kurt Weill”, piano solo by Elena Roussanova.
        • Narrator, Helena Mohn
        • Tambourine for the Ottoman Empire Sultan, Angelica de la Libertad. Angelica, you have the coolest name!
        • “Peanut Go” Mermaid Sister’s Song sung by Brett, Sage, Mattea and Michelle. “Lightly Row” piano solo by Micah Levine
        • Pirate Ship approaching. Piano solo by Michelle Jung
        • Tambourine introducing Fisherman/Hermit’s Island, Angelica
        • “The Sad Mermaid”. Cello solo by Catherine McKenny
        • “Searching for baby otter” piano music by Aidan West
        • “Poisonous Jellyfish” piano music by Peribeau and Angelica
        • “Peanut entering the Mermaid Kingdom” Guitar, by Mattea Kantikovit
        • “Mermaid Swimming in the Dead of Night” song written by Mattea Kantikovit and Meckenzie Quinones.
        • Guitar by Mattea Kantikovit
        • Fisherman chasing naughty Mer-kittens. Piano, Michelle Jung
        • Closing Music. “Hunter’s Chorus”. Cello solo by Catherine McKenny
        • Thank you Ms. Sara Rodelo for letting us use your 7th Grade classroom.
        • Thank you Mr. Jay Briand for hosting our workshop as a part of The Waldorf School of Orange County Summer Enrichment Program.

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The Fairy Tale Script by Jzin Teng and Elena Roussanova

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Friday 7/14/23. Rehearsal before Showtime

Elena practicing Opening piano piece, A tango by Kurt Weill, Youkali.

Miss Elena working with the singing mermaid sisters group.

Rehearsing a song made up by students on Thursday, to the tune of Micah’s “Lightly Row” on piano.

Thank you Helena for narrating the play.

The battle where Peanut’s sweetheart was defeated and captured by the Sultan was improvised by Peribeau and others.

Captain Fishhead’s Pirate ship scene.

Peanut captured by pirates!

The fisherman hermit on his island.

The sad mermaid could not give birth in the sea due to a shark infestation. Micah made beautiful expressive gestures for the sad mermaid (needle-felted by Evie). Mavry under the table, was responsible for the important role of Peanut (crafted by Michelle).

The pretty, sad mermaid, crafted by Evie.

Mavry and Evie practicing the scene where Peanut was tangled in seaweed, looking for the playful sea otter in the kelp forest of Sargasso Sea.

Mother otter thanked Peanut by giving her a conch shell that when blown through a blowhole, makes pretty music.


Jellyfish rehearsal No. 1

Jellyfish rehearsal No. 2

Jellyfish rehearsal No. 3

At the court of the Mermaid Queen. Mavry – Peanut. Brett – The regal Mermaid Queen.

“Music will bring your friends to help you when you are in need.”

On the fisherman/hermit’s island.

As Peanut waved about the narwhal tusked tangled with the pretty mermaid’s silky hairball, fuzzy merkitten paws appeared from underneath the jumble of knotted fishing nets.

Scourge of the fisherman – Merkittens!

Michelle played a lovely piano piece for when the hermit chased mer-kittens up and down a tree.

I LOVE the scene where the hermit fisherman reprimanded naughty mer-kittens in his distinct accent. Bravo Sofia/Fisherman!

Peanut left the fisherman’s island on a raft, followed by three mischievous mer-kittens.

Miss Elena working with puppeteers on the Pirate Ship Scene.

Peanut (Mavry) confronting the formidable Captain Fishhead (Aiden).



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Thu 7/13/23. Artists, The True Nature of Things and Jellyfishes. Small Groups Practicing for Puppet Show. Completing Projects. Baby Sea Otters.

I touched up some students’ works: marked locations for eyes, added noses, thinning down necks, added chins and so forth.

Brett made this hermit. It was so fantastic! I love him so, so much!

Advanced technic for attaching scruffy hair – use roving, fold n half and needle-felted down a center line, same method as for long haired creatures.

Michelle and her little girl doll.

Michelle’s doll was chosen by popular votes of her classmates to play the main character of our Puppet Show: Peanut the shy girl who used to be afraid of butterflies, but later made a courageous journey across the perilous seas to rescue her sweetheart Angelo.

Meckenzie made a galley cook for the pirate ship.

Sage crafted a pirate with red polka dotted bandana.

Peribeau with her fire mermaid.

By a popular vote of classmates, Evie’s beautiful mermaid was chosen as the sad mermaid in the cave for the Puppet Show.


Micah made a little Mermaid kitten for her little sister. What a heartwarming scene of sisterly love!






Artists, the True Nature of Things and Jelly-fish-on-a-stick

Mark Catesby’s The Great Hog-Fish (1725-26) shows the English naturalist’s “lifelike coloring” and close observation of his North American specimens.


Thursday, July 13, 2023.

To study and understand the true nature of your materials. Head, heart and hands.

  • I used to be a biologist. A biologist needs to see things in their true context.
    • A jellyfish is an ugly lump when stranded out on dry land and baked in the sun.
    • When you see a jellyfish in the wrong context, you would think, bah, this is an ugly creature!
  • Show painting of the Great hog-fish c1725 by American naturalist Mark Catesby.
    • The hog-fish was grey and ugly when taken out of the water and hung to sold in the market for days.
    • If you were to draw this fish out of context, it would be ugly and boring.
    • But when swimming in the water, fresh and alive, the hog-fish is a splendid thing of beauty with the colors of rainbow.
    • Artists – See the true nature of things, understand its context, understand what your medium wants to do.
  • A plastic bag looks ugly, strewn on the street – an annoying trash.
    • As an artist, your heart and mind, see beauty that no one else sees. You understand the true nature of plastic bag, that it wants to dance.
    • With capable hands and skillful technic, you bring beauty to the world so everyone else too, can enjoy.
    • You see the true nature of this plastic bag, how it wants to float gracefully in the air.
    • with your love of sharing your vision, to bring beauty to the world, your love of the material, you see the true nature
    • Your ideas and your hands bring magic, blessings to loved ones and everyone around you.
  • A stick, plastic bags and string becomes the most beautiful jellyfish in your hands because you have the vision and skillful hands. The trash now dances graceful ballet.
    • Show completed jellyfish-on-a-stick
    • how it dances in the air so marvelously
    • Artists – you are magician! You are the source of joy. You can make free toys for all your loved ones!
  • You need good sharp scissors and steady hands to cut spirals
    • practice cutting spirals on brown paper
    • when spirals are cut well with free-hand
    • cut plastic bag with sharp scissors
    • first cut jellyfish cap
    • then cut spirals
    • “sew” cap to spirals with fine wire (at home use needle and thread) to bonfire skewers (long skinny cheap skewers are springy, makes the best jellyfish dances)
  • As a fiber artist …
    • Needle-felting is not about mindless stabbing.
    • You need to understand the true nature of wool. What it wants to do.
    • Wool likes to hold hands with wool. Get to know the true nature of wool.
    • You can simply wrap wool into desired shapes, instead of violently stabbing and hoping a shape emerges.
    • Sometimes with your bare hands, with small carefully torn ribbons of wool, you can needle-felt with your bare hands, without needles.
    • because you understand the true nature of wool.

– Jzin


Aubrey learned the craft quickly and easily. She made a beautiful jelly-fish. I asked her to help teach the craft to the other students.

Even after all the children left, the energy of the day’s whirlwind of passionate creativity could still be seen and felt in the classroom.

In the empty classroom, Miss Elena practiced Youkali tango on the piano for opening the puppet show.

Miss Jzin arranged the classroom and puppet show stage for rehearsal. This play has 17 scenes! It is madness! Madness I say!

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Wed 7/12/23 Felted Pirates, Peanut, Merkittens. Mermaids: Advaned Technics and Luxury Fibers.  Assigned Roles Requiring Script Memorization.

This felting class of 16 students were so fervent and focused! What an incredible, diligent and serious group of artists!

Photo of class with Miss Elena who just graduated from WSOC last month – Class of 2023.

It was almost 1pm – the end of class. We were so deep in work, we did not realize how fast time flies.

Ring the bell! It’s time to introduce what we created to the world!

“Hear ye! Hear ye! I made made a mermaid, riding on a flying stingray!”

Wow! What a beautiful mermaid!

“Another mermaid is born today!”

Micah made a little baby merkitten for her baby sister! Awww! So sweet!

It was past 1pm. The students played piano, cello, guitar, etc to prepare for Friday’s Puppet Show!

Thank you Michelle! YAY! We now have pirate ship music!

Wednesday, 7/12/12 Some of the work in progress from today. I am so proud of the students and their enthusiasm and progress! I apologize that I am teaching advance felting to a group of beginners. But they rise to the challenge! 

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Tue 7/11/23. Octopus, Reading Script, Finishing up Stingrays and Mermaids.

We started making octopuses in the morning. Due to the intense work, we decided to relax a little after lunch and read the Puppet Show script under a tree.

I taught the children to ring a bell when a new craft is born. In mere moments ago, the creation was but a thought in the artist’s mind. The artist saw it but no one else did. The artist brought it to the world, so now we all ring a bell to welcome the creation to the world and give it a mission, such as “little gnome, go forth and bring joy to the world!”

We rang the bell to announce the birth of our new creations today! We made albino octopus that squirt “ink” (black lace or sparkly tulle)!

“Hear ye! Hear ye! An octopus was born today!”

The capable hands of Micah and her generous heart – she made toys for her little sister!


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Monday 7/10/23 Felting Stingrays, Mermaids

Today we warmed up by making Stingrays, for the merfolks to ride on in the sea. The goal of this project is for students to learn to wrap pipe cleaners with ribbon-shaped pieces of batting without twisting. This skill will help students wrap hands for dolls later.


The workshop students are hard at work making characters and scenes for a freshly handmade Fairy Tale Puppet show on Friday! Freshly baked from the oven! Come one and all!

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Some Samples I Crafted for the Workshop

I prepared some examples to give the students some ideas.

I crafted this shipwrecked man late Tuesday night for the Friday Puppet Show.

July 12, 2023. Thursday.


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First Email to Parents


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Useful Tools

These tools were provided in class. If you wish to buy them for use at home, here are the links:

Clover Needle-felting pens are so useful. You can needle-felt with 3 needles at once! You may purchase on by clicking on the picture below.


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Daily Schedule of Workshop

Mon 7/10/23. Student Introductions, Safety Tips, Stingray, Mermaid/Neptune

Tue 7/11/23. Octopus that squirt ink, Learn how to wrap smooth tentacles/arms. Read Script, Mermaids continued

Wed 7/12/23. Humans: Pirate, Hermit. Merfolks: Mercat, Merbaby. Miss Elena assigned roles with lines to memorize at home, audition musicians, singers. 

Thu 7/13/23. Finish up projects. Jellyfish-on-Sticks.  Miss Elena rehearsed small groups of puppeteers. Sea Otter Mom and Baby. 

Fri 7/14/23 Run through rehearsal. Clean up room, put away crafts. Second rehearsal after lunch. Showtime! 12:30pm Perform Mermaid Kingdom Puppet Show.

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Workshop Information

Instructors: Jzin Teng and Elena Roussanova of Castle of Costa Mesa

Dates: Monday – Friday, June 10 – 14, 2023 (5 days)

Time: 9am to 1pm

Classroom: 7th Grade Classroom – with Air Condition and Piano

Address: The Waldorf School of Orange County, 2350 Canyon Drive. Costa Mesa, CA 92627

Ages: Rising 5 – 12 Graders. Age 9+ students with  calm and focused temperament, who are able to work safely with felting needle, can make special requests to instructor to register for the class.

Click here to register: Registration link



Workshop Description

We be creating magical Mermaid Kingdoms with characters (such as Mermaid, Neptune, Pirate, Mer-cat, or other dolls, of your own design), ocean flora, fauna, vehicles (Mermaid carriage, stingray ride, sea-shell bed, canoe, seahorse steed or twig rafts) and backdrop diorama. We will have elaborate mermaid kingdom dioramas created by the end of the week and on Friday 7/14/23 12pm-1pm, everyone is invited to view our open house, student’s work for the week and their table-top puppet show with what they have created. Note: We will be using sharp, barbed needles for needle-felting.

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Summer 2023 Felting Workshops

3 separate workshops. No experience necessary. As of 6/26/23, we still have spaces in Week 3 Summer Camp. Bring a friend. Click here to register: Registration link

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Flyer: Free Puppet Show on Friday 7/14/23 by Workshop Students

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View Past Workshops Here

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