“I have performed, taught and created with Andy Furgeson on numerous occasions and does all of these with an energy that cannot be duplicated. With songs, puppets, and lots of heart, Andy is a rare breed. You need to see for yourself!”
“Andy was very aware of all my students’ needs throughout the residency. He encouraged them to make artistic choices and take creative risks. Through careful planning, Andy connected 4th grade social studies standards to the residency and art form. All of my students were fully engaged throughout the entire residency.”
“Red Yarn Productions is a class act. Andy Furgeson has put together a wonderful, interactive program for the classroom. In just a few sessions students create one of a kind sock puppets and perform to delightful folktale songs. A great way to get art, music, and literacy into your school.”
“Having Red Yarn at my son’s third birthday party was a blast! He was the highlight of the party and he amazingly kept a room full of 3 and 4-year-olds (and their parents) dancing up a storm for 40 minutes straight. Andy is also professional and accommodating.”
“Both children and adults were delighted with your puppets and music and with you. You have a fun and gentle way with the audience, which is especially welcoming to young children and their parents. I was very impressed with your puppets and pleased with how you incorporated traditional folk songs into your show. Thank you for communicating with me in advance of the show, for arriving early and for being professional in your presentation.”
“My kindergartner loved his puppet made during Red Yarn’s residency! Each day he would come home and tell me about the fun stories and music he heard as he created his puppet. The experience is one to remember!”
About Red Yarn
Red Yarn Productions is a folk music and puppetry company based in Portland, Oregon. Founded in 2011 by performer and teaching artist Andy Furgeson, RYP creates musical puppet shows and educational programs for schools, libraries and community events.
Red Yarn is a dynamic family performer who weaves folksongs and puppetry into engaging shows for all ages. With his energetic performances and lush folk-rock recordings, this red-bearded bard shares positive values while reinvigorating American folklore for younger generations.
The Deep Woods is Red Yarn’s debut album, introducing him as a singular artist with a profound reverence for the folk tradition. In January 2013 he received a grant to record his folksong adaptations. He enlisted musician friends to fill out his basement Americana sound and hosted a Community Recording Session where 150 fans sang backing vocals. The result is a 12-song journey into the old, weird American woods, where all the critters of folklore live together. The album balances fresh versions of classics like “Froggie Went A-Courtin’” with dusty discoveries like “Rattlesnake.” As the forest rings with American music of all eras—from banjos and fiddles to electric guitars and synthesizers—a strange animal world comes to life.
Andy Furgeson was born and raised in Austin, Texas. As a kid he built tiny worlds with toys, clay and cardboard, bringing them to life through play and home movies. The child of a high school teacher and a social worker, he learned to value education and service. At his family’s downtown church he developed a love for community singing. In his high school punk band he discovered the visceral power of live music.
Drawn to national fantasies of the West, Andy left home for Pomona College in Claremont, California. He graduated in 2005 with a BA in Creative Writing (since he couldn’t major in leading a rowdy bluegrass band). Seeking to combine his passions for music and education, he moved to Portland, Oregon. He found a job at Friendly House afterschool program. He started a folk-rock band called Bark Hide and Horn. Over a few years, he became director of the afterschool program and his band made a name for itself locally and on tour.
In 2008, Andy began an exploration of animals in American folk music. He created a blog called Red Yarn to chronicle his folkloric research and growing interest in puppetry. He dove deep into the folk music catalog with his Lomax-a-Day and Songbag-a-Day projects, adapting and recording 60+ songs from classic anthologies. Red Yarn became Andy’s alter-ego, an itinerant bard and animal whisperer with a red beard as thick as the yarns he spins. He dreamt up the Deep Woods as a magic universe to contain all of his characters. He wrote darker songs about these characters for his ‘grown-up’ band, Scrimshander. By 2011, Andy was performing regularly at libraries, cafes and community events, and joined Young Audiences’ roster of teaching artists.
Since committing himself full time to Red Yarn in June 2012, Andy has performed at hundreds of venues and events, taught music and puppetry to thousands of students, and touched the lives of countless families with his songs, puppets and positive messages. He is thrilled to synthesize his art and teaching into a viable career. With the release of The Deep Woods in October 2013 and plans for a tour and kids TV show, Red Yarn hopes to take his creative folklore project to a national scale.
Andy lives in North Portland with his wife Jessie Eller-Isaacs, a teacher at Open Meadow Middle School and sometimes member of Red Yarn Puppet Band.