photo: Michael Kirby Smith AM New York


Spa'am, one of several characters built by Kip Rathke

Kip Rathke (Philip Kevin Rathke) is a puppet, toy and graphic designer who began his career gluing feathers on Big Bird for Kermit Love. He later spent several years with 3/Design Studio, working on Eureeka's Castle (building Moat Twins; designing the Halloween special's monster) and the Howie Mandel film Little Monsters. Freelance projects included Kyle and on The Puzzle Place. Returning to the Muppets, he created puppets and props for Sesame Street, built the original Bear head and Treelo for Bear in the Big Blue House, and Spa'am for Muppet Treasure Island. He also contributed project designs to The Muppets Big Book of Crafts. Kip won a 96/97 Daytime Emmy Award as part of the Henson team on Elmo Saves Christmas.

Additionally, he has created graphic materials, set pieces and merchandise for the New York-based theater company, Circus Amok and a line of greeting cards for the legendary foam-haired diva, Orangeena.

He is currently Creative Director at Sesame Workshop overseeing the design of all Sesame Street licensed toys and themed entertainment. Among these: Palisades' Super Grover Action Figure, Fisher-Price/Mattel's historic line and the ongoing Hasbro line, including TOTY Award-winner Big Hugs Elmo. Excited to be working with Funko on our Sesame Street Pop! Vinyl figures.

In the theme park world, he helped develop Cookie's Monster Land at Sesame Place, Sesame's Forest of Fun and Safari of Fun at Busch Gardens, and Sesame attractions at Universal Studios Japan and Universal Studios Singapore's new Sesame Street Spaghetti Space Chase.

He continues to contribute designs for Sesame Street, including Chipowski, Miss Fortune and Figby in Smart Cookies, as well as new characters for Season 47 and Once Upon a Sesame Street Christmas.


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