Our Construction Diary
Page 85



Ping Pong's Puppet Workshop


February, 2006

The Fort Vancouver Regional Library District serves southwestern Washington State. We were contacted by Sue Vanlaanen and Jacquelyn Keith of the District to build a walkaround River Otter costume for use in their get-children-to-read program.

The Otter needed to be large enough for a person about 5 foot 9 inches tall to fit into comfortably.

Let's see how the process went.



The approved drawing

We started with lots of drawings going back and forth, until Sue & Jacquelyn approved the one above. You can see that we named the Otter "Boris", a name that will NOT be used, because they decided that the Otter is a female. They're having a naming contest to decide what she will be called.


Blowing up the drawing on the wall


Once we had the final drawing, it was time to get started on turning the drawing into three dimensional form. We printed the drawing out on a clear plastic transparency, and then projected it on the shop wall so Steve could draw the head the actual size that it would end up being carved.


Building the clay

Then we had to build the head out of Plasticine, a non-hardening clay over which we could do the papier maché


Roughing out the clay

Steve has now started to rough out the shape of the Otter's head.

The final sculpt in plasticine.

Here's the final full size sculpt in Plasticine.

Starting the papier maché

Now starts the first of seven layers of papier maché. Five layers were placed over the Plasticine, and after cutting it off the clay head, another two layers were added, one inside, and one outside.

Finding the shape of the fur using muslin fabric

Since the fur is quite expensive, we first cut cheap cotton muslin fabric to figure out the shape of the fur to be cut.


Starting to cut the fur

Once the papier maché was dry, the fur could be cut to fit on the head. The advantage of fitting the fur to the papier maché before removing the papier maché from the clay is that pins could be pushed into the head and held by the clay.

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All text and photos © 2006, Olde World Puppet Theatre

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