OHC story

Pilgrim Heidi Kambitsch is an artist who creates Open Heart Creatures: expressive body puppets, installations & paintings as tools for positive change. She is a mother of 3 boys living together in a little yellow house next a park in Clintonville of Columbus Ohio. She completed The Columbus College of Art & Design in 1999 with focus on Fine Arts & Art Therapy. From 1996 to 2005 she worked for the city of Columbus as a Prevention Coordinator. She facilitated support groups throughout Columbus Elementary schools for at risk youth.  Through this, Pilgrim  was able to create murals and stories with children.  As she learned more about the powerful and nonthreatening ways of speaking through a puppet, her puppet passion grew as well as her store bought puppet collection.  Pilgrim  became known as the “Puppet Lady”. But something was not quite right, The store bought puppets all have smiles. She found her motivation to make puppets with the full septum of emotion, not just “happy”.  She taught herself how to sew.  One of the first body puppets Pilgrim ever made was made out of a flipped upside down thrift store laundry basket with flax seeds for weight and a red toy plastic telephone on a cord. She had no idea putting a laundry basket on her head and engaging with people would be so powerful. She made more.  Her art formed a mission creating handmade interactive tools to support and spark heartfelt feelings.  She brings this mission to life through her specialized body puppets and paintings for play therapists, school counselors, teachers, parents, children and community.

Open Heart Creatures began in 2005 and currently provides body puppets, hand puppets, finger puppets and interactive paintings. All made out of recycled materials and some made with velcro interchangeable eyes to change the feelings of the puppet. Eyes with tear drops and eyes with laughter help express the full realm of emotion with storytelling, spoken word, dance, play, improv and music. Open Heart Creatures are Columbus’s community mascots, cheer leading life’s unplanned moments. They can be found giving high fives to marathon runner’s downtown or during spontaneous street performance art in the Short North. Their goal is to create space where there is room for imagination with permission to feel & be an artist through play, humanity, empathy, compassion, recycling, growth, and freedom to make believe. Open Heart Creatures are tools for laughter, creativity, and inspiration. They are vehicles for community curiosity, changing spaces for wonderment, livelihood, and a sense of connectedness. In addition to spontaneous sightings, Open Heart Creatures come to life at birthday parties, schools, libraries, festivals, parades, holiday events, & outdoor concerts. “Through these puppets and paintings we have the natural power to playfully bring down the defenses that divide us and feel connected to one heart, one community, and one earth.” ~Pilgrim Heidi Kambitsch


If you’d like to participate in wearing a body puppet or if you’d like us to come to your event contact

Pilgrim Heidi Kambitsch



facebook page ~openheartcreatures


5 responses

  1. How inspiring! We can all continue to learn about feelings, no matter what our childhoods are like. Thank you for doing this important work.

    July 28, 2011 at 11:26 pm

  2. Heidi I love you! You & your Creatures are terrific & I’m excited to do a lot more work with you this year! ~Nicole

    November 24, 2011 at 12:29 am

    • Nicole , Thank you! What wonderful words to read in the morning preparing for a huge day in the studio. I love you too<3 Every year keeps getting better:)
      SO excited and SO alive.

      November 24, 2011 at 3:01 pm

  3. Heidi, your description is so true. Your performance at the City Art Center was like opening the lid of the creativity can and letting the imagination sparks fly out! I LOVE what you are doing with OHC! amazing work!

    December 6, 2011 at 3:28 am

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