Conventional non-digital physical stop-frame animation is based on the inherently intuitive direct two handed manipulation of a passive figure. Digital media may provide powerful software tools for animation but they do so through less intuitive interfaces. We argue that we can unite these two areas in a new system which utilises the full potential of the stop-frame animators' tacit skills. We seek to create a haptic animation tool, the exact form of which is determined through the conduct of participatory design. This paper first introduces a theoretical framework on the design of the proposed animation system which is built in the digital/physical frontier. We then discuss the selection of participatory design as our methodology and describe the initial steps of this process such as interviewing animators about their practice and exposing them to the haptic device. We finally give a brief description of the initial technical and conceptual conception of the future system.