Our Construction Diary
Page 54






Ping Pong's Puppet Workshop


February 10, 2002

The folks in Ojai really liked our work on the Quilly puppets, and immediately asked us to build another one.

This one is to be a marionette likeness of the late Cesar Chavez, the former head of the United Farm Workers Union.

They need it in a big hurry since the State of California's Cesar Chavez Day of Service and Learning is less than six week away, on April 1, 2002.

We began the puppet by searching the web for photographs of Cesar, and as you can see by the samples below, we were rewarded by many images of him. It was then up to the sponsors of the puppet to decide at what point in his life were we to build the marionette likeness.

Cesar 1

Cesar 2

Cesar 3

Cesar 4

Cesar 5

Cesar 6

They decided that the puppet needed to show him towards the end of his life, like the two righthand images above.

The most important thing about carving a likeness of a real person, is that it has to look like the person (well duuh!). I thought we'd take a look at the progression of carvings as Bill Holznagel went through several stages in obtaining that realism.

Cesar 1
# 1

Cesar 2
# 2

Cesar 3
# 3

Cesar 4
# 4

Number one above is the first shaping of the ball of Plasticine. Some of the contours that outline Cesar's face can already be seen.

Number two shows the start of the hair, but he looks like an overweight midwestern businessman.

Number three is getting a lot closer, and you can see the lines where the lower jaw will be cut away.

Number four shows the lower jaw cut away, since we're going to do a different style of moving mouth than we used on the Quilly puppets. The jaw will move more like the mouth on a classic Nutcracker figure.

They also rushed us an advertising poster of the event, which is shown below along with the final carving of his head. (Well, sort of. Since the lower jaw is now detatched, Marty put it in place and then retoughed the photograph to remove the cut lines so you could see how Bill did in matching Cesar's face.)

Once he's painted and the blinkable eyes are installed, we think you'll be amazed at the likeness.

Cesar Chavez Day PosterCesar final - sort of

Cesar's Outfit He'll be dressed in the outfit shown here. We found it, in all places, at Knott's Berry Farm, when we were on vacation in January.

His body and hands will be cast from molds we carved for the Perseus puppets, while his arms and legs will be soft-sculpture. Later pages will have more details.

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All text and photos © 2002, Olde World Puppet Theatre

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