In autumn 2009, I was asked by Blind Summit producer Helen Hodge to create a couple of puppets for Sidmouth Amateur Dramatic Society for their production of ‘Babes in the Wood.’
Bert the Owl and Ernie the Fox (named by S.A.D.S), were created slightly larger than life to be easier to operate and clearer to see on stage. Bert is made almost entirely of plastazote and fake fur…Erine is slightly more complicated using similar build techniques to Pacino the wolf.
Itool was my first attempt a wood carving and marionette making. He stands at 500mm tall and is carved purely from lime wood. He was constructed in my third year at Wimbledon College of Art and when I had access to such conveniences as a band-saw and disk sander, which made some of the initial work easier. Although power-tools provided easy solutions to most problems, much of the carving was done wit good old fashioned hand tools.
Although I am very please with how he turned out, being carved in Lime for it’s attractive grain resulted in him being too heavy to string without excessive hollowing out of all his parts. At the time, I didn’t know any puppeteers and he was left to gather dust until recently when Ben Thompson (Blind Summit’s Low Life, War Horse) and Iestyn Evens (of Talk To The Hand productions) worked their magic and brought him to life in this film.
In December 2009 Blind Summit collaborated with director Mick Gordon to make a puppet for ‘On Emotion’ at the Soho Theatre, London.
The puppet was a miniature replica of Blind Summit’s co founder Mark Down, who also stared in the show. The head was expertly sculpted by Nick Barnes, my part in creating mini Mark was fabricating his body and painting his hands and head.
My self and Paul Vincett (Puppet Master of Stitches and Glue Monster workshop), made various animals from bamboo, stretched cotton and silk cloth to imitate the kite style and be animated using simple but unique methods.
‘Running the Silk Road’ was performed at The Pit, The Barbican, London, in June 2008.
A very stylised portrait of Phil, a friend and DJ who I met through club flyering whilst at University. Drawn in ink pen using shading techniques inspired by the work of my favorite illustrator Patrick Woodroffe.
In Spring 2009 I was approched by Ben Lister and Victoria Emes of Antidote Productions to create puppets for an independent music promo of Lisa Li-Lund’s ‘Bloodface’.
Made on a tiny budget, it involved a very dedicated team to produce using many tricks to get the desired effects. It was a valuable experience that introduced me to some very talented individuals and taught me a lot about film making.
The miniature figures were made with an aluminum skeleton covered with carved and laminated bulsa wood. The underwater shots worked incredibly well have led to me thinking about making some aquatic marionettes at some point in the future. It was very enjoyable to work on such a small scale but I would approach many things differently if I had a chance to do it again.
The video was my first opportunity to do a little puppeteering myself as proffessional Jeremy Bidgood (Pangolin’s Teatime) is limited by how many hands he has. Set designer and textile artist David Curtis-Ring made an incredible environment for our characters and the creepy undead puppets that drag our ‘Lisa’ to her watery death. We were all soaking wet by the end of it, but it was a lot of fun in getting there.
My customised headphones were made using polymer clay, using a technique called cane rolling, which imitates glass craft of milleflori. Polymer clays such as Super Sculpey and Fimo and coloured modeling clays that can be baked in a home oven to set. This technique uses a pasta maker to produce lengths of clay that have a detailed pattern running through it (like a stick of rock candy).
It seems that I pretty much adore anything that’s been made obsolete by the digital age. So when I saw that someone was making change purses out of cassette tapes, I had to make some for myself, since then I’ve been an addict. My friends give me beautiful old Memorex and BASF tapes and so far I’ve made purses, broaches, earrings and necklaces from their disassembled parts.