Our Construction Diary
Page 58



Ping Pong's Puppet Workshop


April 21, 2002 (page 1 of 2)

Well, here we are again with another page of our exploits. Sorry about the six week absence, but we've been busy preparing for Portland's fourth annual Procession of the Species Parade, which steps off Sunday April 28th.

Those of you who are regular visitors may remember way back on Page 4 of this never-ending story, we talked about the 2001 parade.

It is also covered in greater detail at http://www.cappuppets.org/NDOP2001.htm.

For those of you who are new to these pages, let me say that the weather was a tribute to Portland's Spring diversity. Hail, wind, and temperatures in the low 50's. Everything and everybody got soaked through and through. The people went home and dried off, but the soggy, giant puppets were taken to a storage unit and forgotten for an entire year.

Since most of them were made of papier mache, they were in dreadful condition when we went to get them out of the unit. Heads were caved in, supports were bent and broken, and back packs were missing or incomplete.

We were asked to "do what we could" to make them usable for this year's parade.

And so started the renovation. We rebuilt 10 of the giant puppets (along with 10 big cloth banners and eight tall signs for the parade assembly area). None of them did we declare too far gone to save. (yes, we do love puppets)

After over 160 hours of volunteer time, they all stand proud and ready for this year's parade.

I didn't get a lot of before pictures of the puppets, but on this page and the next, you'll see the results of our labors.

On the next page we'll look at some of the restored Giant Puppets.


Caterpillar head-Before

This is the head of the caterpillar, which was in relatively good condition (on the outside, that is). Last year it had three giant balloons inside the body, which really didn't work very well. So, we started over.


The new body framework

We cut these ribs out of half-inch foamcore board so the body fabric would have something to attach to. Four strands of rope were later threaded between the ribs.
In the center rib you can see the support for the pole which holds the puppet up. (It takes three people to work the Caterpillar - one in a backpack holding the head, and two behind with poles in parade belts holding the body up).


Inside the head - Before

Here's a shot of the insides of the head when we got it. The brown tube used to be straight, but alas, no longer. The four wire-ties were all that held the head to the half-inch PVC pipes coming up from the backpack

The new and improved head insides

The new and improved head insides. The front PVC pipe keeps the head stretched to the proper width, while the rear one attaches to five points inside the head for strength.

Caterpillar at night

Here's a night shot of the (almost) finished caterpillar. We quickly decided that the half-inch PVC poles weren't strong enough, so we replaced them with bamboo. (Bamboo's strength to weight ratio continues to amaze us.)

Steve, Candace & Merry

Steve Candace & Merry, working on the banners.


Laura & Candace working on the signs

Laura & Candace painting the signs.

Laura, Sandy & Candace getting ready to sponge paint

Laura, Sandy & Candace getting ready to sponge paint.

To contact Ping Pong or the Museum Staff Click Here

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All text and photos © 2002, Olde World Puppet Theatre

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