Our Construction Diary
Page 12

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ping Pong's Puppet Workshop

July 3, 2001

Well, we've finished one of our three summer projects.
The heads and hands of Hans Christian Andersen and the little girl were delivered to Larry Adrian of The Oregon Coast Children's Theatre tonight.
I thought we'd take a break and show Hans' creation from start to finish to give you an idea of how it all goes together.

The head roughed out

Here we have the rough shape of the
head on its stand ready for carving
.

The face begins to appear

The face begins to appear over the
rough shape of the head.

The final sculpts are approved

The final sculpts are approved by
Larry Adrian of The Oregon Coast
Children's Theatre.

The head is cast in two halves of a plaster mold

The head is cast in two halves of a
plaster mold for later
casting in neoprene.

The neoprene doing its magic.

The neoprene doing its magic. It will sit
in the mold for four hours, then be
dumped out and the remaining neoprene
(Chicago 501 Latex) dried for eight hours before splitting the plaster mold and removing the piece.

Marty grinds off the flash line and other imperfections

Marty grinds off the flash line and
other imperfections in the Neoprene
with a Dremel tool and sandpaper.

The finished neoprene

The finished neoprene, with a coat
of Gesso, ready for painting and to
have the moving eyes installed.

Steve begins the painting of the face

Steve begins the painting of the face
with water-based pastels which are
later sprayed with a matte-finish lacquer
for protection and permanence.

Faces are painted, and the eyes are installed and ready for painting

Faces are painted, and the eyes are
installed and ready for painting. The wigs
are at this point only attached with
T-pins just so they look like people.

Steve painting the eyes

Steve painting the eyes with a
tiny brush and acrylic paint.

This is the control rod for Hans' head

This is the control rod for Hans' head.
Since he's a reverse marionette (worked from below), the eye strings go up to the top of the crossbar and then back down through the eyelets to a ring controlled by the puppeteer's thumb.

 

View of head interior and mechanisms

Here you can see the the opening
in the back of Hans' head, the eyeballs, and the springs and strings that control them.

Hans' torso

Here's the body which Larry will attach to Hans' head. It is made out of vacu-formed plastic which is lightweight and strong.

Final acceptance inspection

Final acceptance inspection. Larry helped with the final assembly of Hans' head, since he will be puppeteering him and it needs to fit his style of performance.

I hope this helps explain the steps involved in the way we create most of our puppets.
The bodies, hands, and feet are made the same way, and the arms and legs could be as well, although we usually make them in soft-sculpture out of cloth which is tightly packed with fiber fill (fluffy stuff) and then painted to look like the neoprene pieces.

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All text and photos © 2001 Olde World Puppet Theatre

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