Anna and Elizabeth
Anna Roberts-Gevalt and Elizabeth LaPrelle are two young master
musicians living in Virginia. Together they perform the music of the
Appalachian Mountains, from the ancient ballads to the barn-burning fiddle
and banjo tunes. They’ve also developed a marvelous art form they call
“Crankies.” These are hand-sewn rolls of felt that tell a story through
shadows as they are unrolled. Much like an old-fashioned movie, Anna &
Elizabeth sing, play and tell the story of each Crankie as it unfurls. These
handmade works of art transport the viewers back to an earlier time.
Sue Truman and Skye Richendrfer – Cape Breton stye Seattle fiddler and folk art artist Sue Truman will bring together some of her new crankies based on Scottish themes. Featuring bagpiping and crankies about topics such as whisky, seagulls and sheep! Masterful piping and story telling by Skye Richendrfer.
It’s going to be a very special, magical evening, on Valentine’s Day no less! If you are in the area, I hope you can make it.
Just got an email from Sue Truman, a crankie creator and performer. I’ve been a fan of crankies for a while now, and am glad that she found my page here on the HappyFeet site. She’s got some great links on her site, along with her own work.
Here’s the intro for her site. Check it out!
What is a crankie?
Hello and welcome to my humble website dedicated to the proliferation of crankies! I am a fiddler, stepdancer and crankie artist living in Seattle, Washington.
What exactly is a crankie? I think of it as a panoramic scene, rolled up inside a box, then hand-cranked so that it scrolls across a viewing screen. If you haven’t seen one before, then a picture is worth a thousand words. Watch one by clicking on one of the titles to the left: Valse Bealieu, Mist Covered Mountians, A Murder of Crows, etc.
Some crankies are made from paper: painted, drawn, paper-cut or mixed-media collage. Some are sewn from fabric. Mine are made from felt, hand-stitched, using applique and reverse applique techniques.
I have posted links to other people’s crankies under the heading “Link 2 More Crankies”. You will find amazing and beautiful crankies by Anna and Elizabeth, Rose Diamond, Pete Sutherland, Dejah Leger and Katherine Fahey.
I hope you enjoy exploring this site. I will be changing the crankies to view every month or so, so stop by again.
I am currently doing sound and stage managing for the Big Tadoo Puppet Crew’s “Breath of Fresh Air” show. The show goes to Alameda County (East Bay) elementary schools and teaches the children how to walk and bike to school safely. We set up two huge cranky/crankie devices at every school, with allen wrenches as the only tool.
The show has been running for three seasons now, and I posted photos of the crankies when I was helping Jonathan Youtt build them out. During our Fall season last year, I snapped a few pics of the tried and true crankies.
While in NYC December, I caught Bread & Puppet’s theater show. Like their Summer show, they had a ding dong (small performance before and after the main peformance) in the lobby. The performer (ahh, can’t remember his name!) gave an intimate two-person audience toy theater in a suitcase show. He used a cranky too!
For more info on crankies, go to my Crankie Archives page and see/read all about it!
Once you have an idea to create as a crankie/cranky (you’re on your own for that), go to your local shoe store, ask for thrown-away shoeboxes, take home, and decorate them. I spray painted these Sketchers boxes and then covered them with stencils.
Before the invention of the modern cranky, the Japanese used scroll paintings that were influenced by Chinese scroll paintings. There was also an older form called a cantastorie. This device had images painted on fabric, telling stories in sequential order much like graphic novels of today.
The SF Weekly describes a cranky as a “primitive, miniature theater in a box: a roll of paper painted with pictures that tell a story, cranked by hand past an open frame. (The person doing the cranking often narrates and provides sound effects too…).” Though the parts can change, canvas instead of paper for example, this is an apt description.