About Sue Truman

After seeing the crankies of Anna and Elizabeth and Katherine Fahey, I had found something I had been looking for for years - a way to combine the folkart images I love with the fiddle tunes I play.  When I saw the crankies I knew THIS WAS IT! I jumped in with both feet and it has been my passion ever since.


In addition to making and performing crankies, I became intrigued with the history of this forgotten art form. In the 19th century, crankies were known as moving panoramas as well as many other names. I sought out moving panorama historians such as Erkki Huhtamo, Suzanne Wray, Peter Morelli and Russell Potter to name a few. They have been most generous in contributing information to this website and supporting my efforts. I am truly grateful.

As for accompaniment, I have been fortunate to work with brilliant musicians:  Scottish Gaelic singer, Rich Hill, Scottish piper Skye Richendrfer, the French Canadian band Podorythmie, Lisa Ornstein, Dan Compton and others. Their fabulous musicianship bring the crankies to life.

I've performed on both American coasts and Europe, to audiences big and small.  I love sharing the magic of crankies.

Yours in crankiness,
Sue Truman

Selected Performances, Lectures, Workshops, Exhibits, Writing and Adventures!

Accordion man made the trip up to British Columbia to perform with us - Podorythmie.

2016 and 2017 have been a blur of activity: creating crankies, performing, coordinating crankie festivals, teaching, writing, exhibiting, good grief! I will update this section soon...

March, 2017 - Coquitlam, British Columbia.  One of the groups I perform with, Podorythmie, had the great honor to be invited to Festival du Bois. We gave a crankie workshop at the Mackin House Museum as well as a crankie performance at the festival. 

Fall,  2016 - Crankies: Reinventing the Moving Panorama as Contemporary Folk Art , Honored to be asked to write an article about the crankie revival.  It will be published in a book of articles by International Panorama Council members in late 2017.  Done with the first draft...

At the magical NW Puppet Center, one of the best spots for a crankie fest! nwpuppet.org

2016 - October The NW Puppet Center's 3rd Crankie Festival, Seattle, Washington  I helped Dmitri Carter coordinate the Puppet Center's 3rd crankie fest.  It was a sold out success and featured Katherine Fahey, Squirrel Butter (Charmaine Slaven and Charlie Beck) Dejah Leger with her father-in-law Louis Leger and Podorythmie. More information about the event here.

We were able to live video project the performance so that everyone in the audience could see the detail of the scrolls.  Thank you to Doug Plummer for his help with this. 

There was crankie merch during intermission!  I sold matchbox crankies out of the Cranke Factory Dollhouse. Louis Leger sold crankie kits.  Dejah Leger and Squirrel Butter sold CDs!  Great fun!

Julia Derby is cranking the scroll, while two workshop participants crank automatons. I am playing fiddle!

2016 - July, Seattle - Crankie Basics Workshop, Seattle, Washington I gave a workshop/demonstration at the Felt-A-Con Puppet Festival in Seattle. The workshop covered designing and constructing the scroll, combining the crankie with shadow puppetry and automatons and a brief history of moving panoramas in the 19th century.

Sue Truman cranking miniature crankies in the attic of a dollhouse crankie while it was being projected on a screen above. Photo Jon Bolton

2016, January - Baltimore, Maryland.  The 3rd Annual Baltimore Crankie Festival, two nights of magical crankies. I was so inspired by everyone's art.  I was invited to collaborate on a DOLL HOUSE CRANKIE created by McKenzie Elizabeth Ditter, Matt Muirhead and Laura Kalman. I made a small contribution by making miniature crankies for the attic.  Watch a video of the DOLL HOUSE here.  Read about the festival, coordinated by Anna and Elizabeth, here.

The GEORAMA crew is painting the enormous moving panorama in a skating rink. It is 8' high and 600' long!

2016 - January. St. Louis, MO. International Panorama Council Outing in St. Loui. I coordinated an "outing" for members of the IPC which included seeing one panel of the "Dickinson" Mississippi moving panorama at the St. Louis Art Museum and  attending a presentation especially for us by Melissa Wolfe, Curator of American Art.  Then, we had lunch at the Panorama Restaurant (of course). Then off to the St. Louis Repertory Theatre for a special presentation and sneak peak of the moving panorama painted for the GEORAMA musical. And that's not all but I am out of space. All I can say is that it was a panoramaniac's dream day. More later!

Interactive crankie display. IPC members were able to crank the crankie while I did the shadow puppetry.

2015 - September - Namur, Belgium.  The International Panorama Council Conference, I was one of the featured artists at the conference. Totally honored to have been invited.

You see I am smiling but also holding on for dear life. Not a big fan of heights but had to have my picture taken beside this enormous moving panorama scroll.

2015 - August - Saco, Maine.  Crankie display and demonstration. The main attraction was the performance of the 19th century Moving Panorama of Pilgrim's Progress. Much gratitude to  Peter and Julia Morelli for hosting me. I had a fabulous time.   Read more about the Pilgrim's Progress moving panorama here.

Before the Crankie, talks about moving panoramas of the 19th Century. I also demonstrated my children's magic lantern.

2015, February - Olympia, Washington. The Oly Old Time Festival.  Performance and a Power Pointless presentation about the history of crankies.

The crankie wagons were circling!

2015, May - Seattle, Washington. Northwest Folklife Festival's Crankie Fest.  Crankie performances by Dejah Leger, Charmaine Slaven, Gregory Johnson and myself.   Before the performance, the crankie wagons were circling!

Outslide the glorious Veleslavasay Panorama. A historical treasure in Los Angeles.

2014, July - Los Angeles, CA - The Veleslavaysay Panorama, Performance and presentation. If you are planning a visit to L.A., try to visit The Velaslavasay, it's a magical place.  Read more about it here.

2013 - Lucerne, Switzerland.  The International Panorama Council Conference,  Presentation + demonstration.   Crankies: Reinventing the Moving Panorama as Contemporary Folk Art.  I love the title on my name tag - "Crankie Specialist"!  Read more about it here.

PODORYTHMIE performed at the historic GARDEN HOUSE in Seattle to a packed house on Feb. 5th, 2016. You can see the crankie box behind the stepdancers. That's me playing fiddle. WOW, a night to remember. Thank you to Doug Plummer for the photo.