- Associated Press - Monday, January 4, 2016

SALTILLO, Miss. (AP) - Third-grader Von Barfield is not afraid of performing in front of a crowd.

In fact, the 8-year-old performed his ventriloquism act in front of the entire third grade at his school, Saltillo Elementary, in October.

Barfield developed his own character, Stitches, and a short ventriloquism act that he now performs regularly for his friends and family.

His act was a hit with his classmates, whom Barfield said laughed and interacted with Stitches.

Barfield also performed with Stitches in the Tupelo Family Talent Show.

Fittingly, Stitches was literally stitched together by Barfield himself. He used a needle and thread to stitch some of his younger brother’s clothes together and then stuffed them with stuffing he and his mother bought at a craft store.

To build Stitches’ arms, legs and head, Barfield hot glued felt together and stuffed them as well.

The finishing touches were a mouth made of red felt, two big eyes and a full head of pipe-cleaner hair.

Barfield said he was inspired by a ventriloquist he saw on the TV show “America’s Got Talent.”

“It looked like the puppets were talking, and I wanted to do it like him,” Barfield said.

His mother, Heather Barfield, said Von has always been creative.

“He makes things all the time,” she said. “He likes to figure things out.”

Before making Stitches, Heather said Von would create puppets out of blankets or pieces of paper and walk around the house talking to his siblings with them.

Stitches has a few quirks of his own, Barfield said, like his obsession with the color green.

“I accidentally made him wear too much green,” Barfield said.

Stitches also loves to tell knock-knock jokes, which is evidenced by the several jokes Barfield has him tell during their act.

Barfield’s 10-month-old sister is perhaps his biggest fan. Heather said her son often uses Stitches to cheer her infant daughter up when she cries.

“She loves it,” Barfield said. “As soon as she sees him she says, ‘Stitches!’”

Stitches is just one of many things Barfield said he hopes to make. His ultimate goal is to one day build a robot.

“I want to be an inventor whenever I grow up,” Barfield said.

At the end of the day, Barfield said he just has fun making people laugh with Stitches.

“I like just having a little buddy with me,” Barfield said. “I’m planning on making him friends.”


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