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© Alexandre Dhordain
Tracing Venice

Daniel Mauceri

Puppet maker

Daniel Mauceri reminisces – with a tear in his eye – about how his love for puppet making was born: “My story started in the 70s when my grandfather Alfredo Vaccaro and his brother Rosario, both skilled papier-mâché artists, got together to build the ‘pupi’, the traditional Sicilian puppets. On 5 July 1978, in Syracuse, they had their debut show. And it was a huge success.” His mother, Francesca, was the scriptwriter for the family business and the young Daniel grew up with pasta and puppets – as he puts it. When he was a child, he wasn’t allowed to touch the materials or the tools. So, he used to steal metal scraps, transforming his childhood bedroom into a small workshop. Eventually Alfredo gave in and taught his grandson a few things, however he sadly died when Daniel was only 13, so Daniel was left to learn the rest by himself. Over 25 years and 230 puppets later he’s still in love with this profession – his grandfather would be very proud.


The creation of puppets begins with modelling their faces in clay and then, through several working stages, producing a papier mâché mask which is placed on a wooden base. The pine and beech pieces that make up the framework are then cut out, carved and shaped. The outlines of the reinforcement parts are drawn on metal (copper, brass or nickel silver), cut out, chiselled or embossed. Once the armour is finished, the seamstress sews the clothes and all the parts are painted.

Objects Next of Europe Exhibition Contact
Via della Giudecca 17/19, 96100, Syracuse, Italy
+39 3333086316
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