Applied Artists

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Tom & Siobhan Hall

Tom and Siobhan Lauten.

Tom and Siobhan Lauten are international special effects artists who have worked on film and television projects across the globe. Siobhan is the co creator of the Special Effects Company 'Nimba Creations', which started in 1999, she was then joined a year later by her partner Tom Lauten. They specialise in prop making, animatronics, prosthetics and creatures. Along with their work in TV and film the two have been responsible for live events, trade shows and exhibitions, including working on the BBC’s ‘Walking with Dinosaurs’. As well as working with Nimba Tom and Siobhan spent five months working in New Zealand at Peter Jackson Weta Workshops on two major of their major films, 'King Kong' and 'The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe'.

In 2007 the couple left Nimba to pursue freelance carers, before Tom was hired by a British Special effect company as a designer and supervisor.

Along with all there other work the couple have been responsible for creating props for advertising campaigns such as the severed arm for one of Sony’s playstation two games. They have also helped to create a full range of special effects make up and prosthetics that are sold on part of their Nimba Creations website under the name ‘Key Special Effects’

Tom has also turned his hand to developing accessories for magic, ‘The Elite TT’, a replica casting of the magician’s own thumb for use during tricks.

Along with these prosthetics the couple have also worked on projects for the illusionist Derren Brown. Last year they created a prosthetic mask for one his shows ‘Trick or Treat', The mask was applied to an actress to in order to fool one of Derren's vistims into believing she was seeing her own dying body in a car accident.

Tom Has said that his biggest influence for getting into the business, was the launch of the original 'Star Wars' films and the massive coverage of their special effects.

Both Tom and Siobhan agree that one of their greatest achievments was the creation of a full size anamatronic T-Rex.

[1] Link to Power Point Presentation

Jim Henson


In 1954 when Jim Henson was still attending High School he began making puppets for a Saturday morning TV. show on a local network called WTOP-TV. After high school Henson enrolled at University of Maryland. It was at this college where he was introduced to puppet making as a professional option and it allowed him to experiment with new materials and techniques which would become synonymous with his puppet making style. He favoured the use of more flexible material like felt covered foam rubber and swapped the marionette approach with rod control which he felt gave him as a puppeteer more freedom and control of expression. It was work on a show called Sam and Friends which he was involved in during his freshman year which gave rise to an early version of Kermit the frog.


During the 60’s and 70’s Henson revitalised the face of advertising using his puppets or moppets in numerous coffee ads where he used comedy to gain an audience rather than the favoured hard sell approach that was so common at the time. He was also tasked with bringing the characters of Sesame Street to life. In fact his work on Sesame St was so successful he was praised as bringing the network back to life. Sesame St is the longest running TV show in US history and earned 109 Emmy nominations, it also allowed Henson the financial freedom to escape the advertising world From here on Henson moved his talents towards the big screen with projects like creating Yoda for “The Empire Strikes Back” and more personal projects like “The Dark Crystal” and “Labyrinth” both of which pushed the boundaries of puppet making and operation to new levels or realism.


The success of his Muppets franchise enabled Henson to develop cutting edge techniques of puppets for the screen in his company and the Jim Henson Creature shop, Both still in operation today and responsible for such projects like Farscape, Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy and MirrorMask