Thursday, 25 October 2012

Meet Mac...

For our professional practice we were asked to make masks of our 'alter-egos' to wear during a mock interview. This was supposed to make us feel more comfortable. But i can't even talk to people when I'm wearing sunglasses as I feel invisible, so I didn't really want to make a mask.

Instead I made my first puppet!
I made him in a day (due to the fact i only had a day or i would have spent longer on it, and anyway the pressure spurred me on). I'm glad I made him and although it was sort f on a whim, its given me the kick up the arse to stop faffing and just get on and work things out as I make.

I used what I'd learnt last term about sculpting in foam making my mermaid puppet, and set about sculpting the head in foam. I needed to be able to make the puppet speak so I carved the head with a moveable jaw and hollowed out the back for my hand to fit in. Then I covered the head with calico. The body I made by shaping wadding and covering with calico. The arms and legs were made with rolls of newspaper, wadding, calico and a cord running up the middle to act as joints.

I did encounter obstacles but just used my initiative to physically work out problems. For a while the head looked too lion- like so I  made darts in the side of the face and used Copydex to pinch them together and did the same at the top of his nose to shrink his face.

And here he is: Mac the Cat...!

I need a better photo. 


After resizing and shaping it looks more like a cat
than a lion.

Covering the head with calico
The calico is stuck to the foam with Copydex

Paws and arms operated with rods. I also added little felt
pads on his paws

The arms and legs: cord, newspaper, wadding and calico

Avec l' oreilles 

Ears made from felt and calico

Mouth made from pink felt and ink

Brown eyes....?

Or blue....?

I chose blue- it seemed to suit him better although they are quite
unsettling- but then so is he.

The body before I covered it with calico. I attached
the arms, legs and tails by threading
the cord they have running through their middles
through the body of the puppet. Once all the calico
was on, i just glued the joins together.
I plan to go over with some stitching on the arms.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Shadow story board...

I had a commission to do a simple story board for a shadow puppet play that would accompany a short story read at a story telling night as part of Paul Feast, Cornwall.
The story is written by Anna Maria Murphy (writer for Kneehigh, Rogue Theatre). The premise for the shadow play is to illustrate the story. So she didn't want it over complicated. I thought about how it will be performed and how many scene changes are possible in a short amount of time.

I also tried to show the design in the story board. Some of the backgrounds are more translucent- i did it like that so you could see where the characters are placed, but i said in the email to Anna Murphy that it might look good if the back ground was paler than the characters to give it more depth. But also that is the person who is making the puppets and scenery to decide in the end- due to materials at hand. (low budget and time) I made suggestions on how the puppets could move and also for the pantry filled with preserves, i thought if it was made using coloured acetate it would have a glowing affect with the backlight- perfect for the script.
I did this in a day- had to turn it out really quickly.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Gentle Mystics- Spiralling Breeze...The best music video I have seen in a long time..

After an afternoon of lying in the september sun, quietly hallucinating, I was shown this. It just made me want to be part of it, to create something along this lines. Creeping about the woods in weird homemade costumes- creatures that belong in a mushroom trip. Who needs drugs? I should just make the stuff physically. Gosh, what an epiphany...

Gentle Mystics- "Spiralling Breeze"

Not only is the song great but I love the stop motion puppets and the costume. It reminds me of the tiger Lillies- a bizarre cabaret act I saw when i was younger. It shows me that you can still create amazing things from basic materials. When i was little and my parents worked with Kneehigh Theatre- everything was made from what they could find and source from scrap stores. And as much as I love well funded projects that use top notch materials and techniques- a bit of paper mache and latex works wonders.
After all, Im gonna be pretty poor for a while so I may as well use what i can get my hands on...

Any too, Im setting up a Linkedin account to try and get in touch with the director- Oliver David and the artistic director Nompi.
Watch this space.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Marionette carving

A little video on marionettes being made:


Reminds me, I need to save some money to go on a puppet carving course in Dorset....

Amazing piece of puppeteering...

I was trawling through the realms of YouTube last night looking mainly for videos of Royal Delux's work when i cam across this.  
The concept is beautiful and sad and the relationship of the puppet and the puppeteer is perfect. It reminds me a bit of 'Being John Malcovich'. The walk cycle he does is really well done- I've seen puppets that loose their illusion when they walk as they just bob up and down.

Any way I'm rambling, probably chatting Sh*t... just watch this:

Philippe Genty (puppeteer)

Asylum photos

I managed to get some photos on my phone, but I'm waiting for some one I was working with to email me better ones of my work.

'The Hand Test'
Fire safety at the Asylum

Timothy Winters. Puppet made by Wright for the
Charles Causely poem 'Timothy Winters'

Sarah Wright and Giles King
performing Timothy Winters

Painting up the set for Timothy Winters

Almost finished. I then darkened it all down with a purple wash
to look like night. This get set on fire and i was hoping
that the paint would eventually blister and peel
to create a lovely war-torn effect.

This is one of the doorways i painted up for the front of house.
These photos dont show it finished, however.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Asylum 2012

So.... this summer I haven't done too much (as in I haven't done the things I told myself I was going to do this summer: finish my mermaid puppet, make lots of trial puppets, do shit loads of drawing, learn to drive, go to the dentist etc)

But I have done a week of volunteering with Kneehigh at their summer hang out- The Asylum

I have been helping out with the Kneehigh Ramblers, a small show set on a cart that will travel around village halls this winter. The show is made up of short stories written by Anna Maria Murphy and performed by Giles King, Anna Murphy, Simon Harvey and Sarah Wright. Wright performs puppets throughout the show- puppets made by her mother Lyndie Wright from Little Angel Theatre.
The puppets were so beautiful and Sarah performs them so well. I did have a little play with them- doing tightrope balancing acts. I also met another puppeteer from Little Angel called Rachel- she had just been performing the giant puppets at the Olympics opening ceremony. It was great to be able to cant with her about how she got into the industry.

As well as helping the Ramblers (i was painting sets for them and helping out with directing) i also painted up the front of house and behind the musician stage. I painted the doorways like toy theatres with woodland creatures playing musical instruments. I have to wait for the photos though as i managed to break my camera this summer (on a roll)