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Lenka Cain Pavlickova

Lenka was born in Prague (then part of Czechoslovakia) at a time when it was still occupied by the Soviet Union. Her love of puppets started at an early age with her grandfather entertaining her and her sister with marionettes which were controlled by wire and strings. She still keeps them to this day. The Czech Republic, as it became known, has a long history of puppetry starting in the mid-18th Century, with puppeteers traveling from city to city. It is said that these performers were responsible for the spread and development of the Czech language, and the art was passed from generation to generation as a family craft.

Lenka Cain Pavlickova
Lenka Cain Pavlickova

At the age of 14, still with her country under communist control, Lenka went to art school and studied Graphic Design. While at art school she took part in demonstrations with fellow students against the communist control and occupation of her country.

In 1989 what became known as The Velvet Revolution, because it was relatively peaceful, began. This ultimately led to the Russians leaving in 1991 for the first time since the 1968 invasion.

 Ultimately Czechoslovakia was broken up, and the Czech Republic and Slovakia were formed as countries in their own right. At this time Lenka started to help her mother, who made marionettes from clay in the school holidays. On leaving art school, Lenka started to make and sell her own marionettes in shops, for the tourists that the newfound freedom had brought. After some time, she felt that clay was not the best for expressing herself artistically so, with the help of her father preparing wood, she started to teach herself wood carving, while seeking information and techniques from other artists. This picture shows one of her grandfathers puppets.

Lenka Cain Pavlickova
Lenka Cain Pavlickova

Lenka enrolled on a one year part-time course to learn design, pattern making and sewing techniques, to make better costumes for her work. When she cannot find exactly what she is looking for she even sometimes paints her own silks.

She is always looking to learn a new skill, so at the Magma 2014 exhibition in Austria tried woodturning for the first time.

Lenka soon became an established artist, with three galleries in Prague and one in Český Krumlov offering her work, which can also be found on her website www.praguemarionette.com

She has received requests from a number of media outlets for interviews. In April 2005 she was asked to present her work to Pavarotti on his last visit to Prague and he can be found on the Pinocchio 70th anniversary DVD as a modern day Geppetto. In 2008 on a visit to England she met her now husband George.

Lenka Cain Pavlickova
Lenka Cain Pavlickova

Lenka now spends time living between the Czech Republic and the UK and enjoys attending events in both puppetry and woodworking across Europe, attending the Skipton Puppet festival, the European Woodworking Show in Essex, France Épinal Atelier Touchons du Bois, Germany Rostock private exhibition, Austria Magma open door, and of course many events in Slovakia and Czech Republic.

It's probable that Lenka's work can be found on every continent with the exception of Antarctica, but she's working on that.

The last picture is of her grandfathers puppets. These are unique treasured possessions, and Lenka has no desire to copy or reproduce them in any way.

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