Wendy Froud

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Wendy Froud
Wendy Froud - Rencontres de l’imaginaire de Brocéliande 2014.JPG
Froud at the 2014 Rencontres de l’imaginaire de Brocéliande.
Known for Doll-artist
sculptor
puppet-maker

Wendy Froud, born Wendy Midener in Detroit,[1] is an American doll-artist, sculptor, and puppet-maker, best known for her work creating Yoda for the 1980 film Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and creatures for the Jim Henson films The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth.

It is not widely known that both Wendy was part of the puppeteer team for Yoda (overseen by Stuart Freeborn), along with Kathy Mullen & David Barclay and of course - Frank Oz. They all helped to operate the complicated mechanics and puppeteer the first Yoda - Wendy working the ears, David working the eyes, as Oz puppeteer the head, left hand, and Kathy the right hand, and all just doing what ever needed doing.(Note Wendy was given a choice for her film credit between Fabricator or Puppeteer, not both.)

Nick Maley, who worked with Froud, under Stuart Freeborn, recalled that "Wendy’s contribution creating the character was second only to Stuart who was overseeing ALL the creatures. If I remember correctly, she modeled Yoda’s hands and feet and single handedly fabricated the “stand-in Yoda”, made entirely from cut foam, which was used to line up shots during camera setup. I do remember her spending some time working on the clay model of Yoda’s head too. But that was for a small part of the 5 months Stu spent on the modeling stage" www.thoseyodaguys.com [2]

In an interview of Wendy and Brian Froud by Beth Derochia for Rambles Magazine in November 1999, Froud herself states: "When I moved to New York, I was lucky enough to be asked to come and work on The Dark Crystal and that was the start of my professional career, making puppets. Then I worked on Yoda for The Empire Strikes Back. I wasn't the sole creator of Yoda; I was part of the team that made Yoda." [3]

Stuart Freeborn's inspiration for the look of Yoda, a puppet, came when he looked in the mirror and saw the lumps and bumps on his own face. To convey the mental power of this master of the Jedi Order, an ancient monastic peacekeeping organization in the “Star Wars” universe, he hit on the notion of using Einstein’s eye wrinkles. Yoda’s big ears popped out of Mr. Freeborn’s imagination. George Lucas demanded to see Yoda immediately. When Mr. Freeborn removed the cloth covering his model, he recalled, Mr. Lucas exclaimed, “That’s it! That’s just what I want!” - New York Times, February 2013.[4]

Her work is featured in three books for children, paired with stories by fantasy author Terri Windling: A Midsummer Night's Faery Tale, The Winter Child, and The Faeries of Spring Cottage. Wendy Froud is married to, and often collaborates with, the English "fairy artist" Brian Froud, with whom she has a son Toby, a visual artist, performance artist and filmmaker.[5]

She is the daughter of artist Walter Midener and collage artist Peggy Midener.[1]

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