Leaven Dream Puppets is founded on the collaborative work of Anca Hariton and David Woodin. Both artists strive to bring inventive and insightful puppetry to audiences of all ages.
Anca is an artist, educator and published author. She grew up on the other side of the "iron curtain," in a creative family where stories, painting, crafts, humor and puppet making coexisted within a rich popular tradition that uplifted their spirits. Her Eastern European education in fine arts complete with a master in architecture fused with her design work and years of public school teaching, writing and painting in the U.S. and formed a perfect ground for developing puppetry.
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For David, puppetry integrates his work in fine arts and art therapy. He trained in painting and sculpture at the New York Studio School and then completed a degree in psychology, becoming a registered art therapist and mental health counselor. In his work with children he saw repeatedly how they use movement, imagination and objects playfully to find creative solutions to intractable problems.
Starting in 2008, David's work took him traveling to other states and overseas, where he was introduced to the vibrant puppetry tradition of Europe. This led him to study with local masters and eventually bring a cast of puppets home to Portland, Oregon. In 2018 David and his wife, Anca, founded Leaven Dream Puppets, directing their cast in original performances and striving to share with family audiences the unique qualities of puppetry that they found so intriguing.