Crankie Archives

In 2008, I had three people call me up this past year asking questions about the cranky (crankie). Three years ago I produced CRANKYfest at CounterPULSE here in San Francisco, and this nifty storytelling device continues to demand attention by curious performers who usually want to know how to make one. I know of at least three devices that have been built since the event, and I am surprised that my site is still the main source out there for Crankie knowledge.

Back in 2008, I got a call from a friend who’s making a motorized crankie, so I once again went online looking for other sources of the art form. I only found two other sites, one with decent diagrams by George Konnoff. The other one was just a photo of the performer’s crankie. So I’ve decided to put all the links I can onto one page, and add to it as new content comes along.

Where was I?! In June 2011, Great Small Works had a Banners and Cranks festival in NYC. I like how they’re categorizing the art form: cantastoria style “includes paintings on flip-over banners, sung narration, and pictures that move utilizing a crank mechanism, all of which trace their roots to the ancient practice of picture story recitation.” There will be another similar themed event in 2012!

If you’ve found this site and have your own crankie, or hold knowledge, please pass the info along!

Links to Crankie (Cranky) Knowledge

  • Sue Truman up in Seattle has a great site of crankie knowledge, including her own creations as well as great links.
  • Woah… The Online Museum of Crankies!
  • Great Small Works just had a Banners and Cranks fest in NYC (June, 2011)
  • Great Small Works’s story about the cranked image
  • History of the Crankie by with R. G. Davis
  • Crankie Diagrams and a brief description by George Konnoff
  • How to Make a Shoebox Crankie (with pics) by Russell Howze
  • CRANKYfest 2005
  • Big Tadoo’s Velo-Powered Crankies, pt. 1, and pt. 2 (with pics), posted by Russell Howze

Some Photographs of Crankies

Big Tadoo Puppet Crew @ CRANKYfest throwing shadows on the back of the story roll.

Eco Artisans @ CRANKYfest

Another Eco Artisans Pic

Big Tadoo Puppet Crew using the same crankie with a different story roll (on wallpaper).

Friends Mime Theater’s Crankie Device

Zippedy the Clown’s Cardboard Crankie

Jonathan’s K’Nex crankie (it actually works)

Big Tadoo’s Velo-Powered Crankies

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