By Michele Dotson

Screen Shot 2014-01-14 at 8.11.45 PMWhen Winston Salem shoe manufacturing company SR Max Shoes wanted a mascot for a series of commercials, they found what they were looking for when they came across Pamela Shook of Blue Moon Puppets. Shook, who has been a puppeteer since 1988, created a mascot who is soft, cozy, and black; just like the shoes. “SR Max Shoes primarily makes shoes for chefs,” says Shook. “The shoes are non-skid, very comfortable and come in pretty much one color; black.” The puppet mascot, appropriately named Max, will be the star of a series of commercials advertising the shoe to restaurants, chefs, and kitchen workers.  His motto, “Get a grip on it,” speaks to the shoe’s amazing non-slip technology. Shook graduated from Presbyterian College in South Carolina with a double major in theater and art. She enjoyed story-telling and working with schools, so she attended a booking fair where educational institutions and libraries, for example, can see various theater groups, story-tellers, and musical acts to see if they would like to book them for special programs. “I was looking around and found this display of puppets,” says Shook. “I was intrigued by this turkey made out of a feather duster, and started playing with it and being silly. The lady at the booth asked me if I had thought about going into puppetry, and when I told her no, she wanted to know why not?” Two weeks later, Shook was performing her first puppet show, and she was hooked. As it turned out, the lady was in need of some extra help, and Shook was able to put her story-telling gifts to good use. “At first I learned how to repair the puppets,” she says, “then I got into making them and writing and producing the stories.” Shook says children are drawn to puppets, sort of like a bridge between their stuffed animals and an imaginary friend. “I’ve seen puppets calm and sooth kids,” she says. “Kids who were afraid to come into the puppet show, or into the library will come in and enjoy themselves once I get them to talk to the puppet.” Shook moved to the Mint Hill area last fall and has been busy ever since. She has been teaching art classes at Mint Hill Arts, presenting programs at libraries in the western part of the state, and working with Discovery Place Kids in Huntersville where she has redesigned and reworked three of their current puppet shows. Shook also created two new shows, complete with newly designed puppets, stories, and music. For more information about upcoming puppet shows in the Mint Hill area, go to For information about art or puppetry classes at Mint Hill Arts, go to