Hello again : )
I left off last time babbling on about the making of my first stop motion puppet, such an arduous process that it took over 700 words to get from the head to the neck!
You interest means a heck of a lot to me, and sharing is something I overly love to do, so here goes with the next instalment- hopefully shorter than the first one!
I got up to the ball joints I used for the neck- from here I wound a wire armature that was proportional to the body and glued it into the hollow metal rod at the base of the sculpted shoulders, this formed the flexible ‘skeleton’ for my puppet and would allow it to move freely. The armature wire I used had excellent tensile strength, so upon moving the wire there was no wobbling or wiggling about, it kept its position, quite important for accurate stop motion.
After an extra wrapping of thin craft wire around the armature, I wrapped it in fabric tape to hold it all together properly and prevent any little wire fly-aways. I then measured and wrapped each section of the armature in quilt wadding to make up the bulk of the body, sewing it all into position- wrapping the wadding as tightly as possible prevents too much movement when covered by the clothes.
I had already made a tiny set of pyjamas for the puppet based on the measurements from the plasticine proto-type I had made for casting. It was so exciting squeezing him into his little P.J’s, even though he had no hands yet, or even finished legs, but he had all of his little buttons sewn on, and the button holes done, so he seemed a bit more ‘alive’ at this stage.
The wire attaching his hands was made mostly in the same way his neck attachments- hollow wire to strengthen the joint, and join it to the thicker main wire- five smaller wires are bound and glued into the join, these are then cut shorter so the puppet lost his ‘Edward Scissorhands’ look, and bound the fingers in medical tape to prevent wire poking through the clay set to cover the hands.
As seen in the image above, when I added the sculpey clay to the hands, they looked much too Goliath to go with the fragile, timid little boy I was trying to portray- I removed the clay and left the bandages, painting over them in flesh colour later. I was disappointed, but a tutor of mine assured me that the bandaged look only added to a feeling of neglect.
The feet were less of an issue and i wrapped them with tape until they were wide enough, and then made tiny socks.
One thing that has always amazed me, is the variety of things that can be purchased from the internet- in my past doll making escapades i bought a job lot of doll wigs, some of which were made from actual human hair!
Glue and persistence, along with the aid of wig pattern reference made the bowl hair cut I have such a love of, and after much fume inhalation, his little wig cap was finished- I had to make it removable because of my replacement head technique. Every time the head and expression is changed, the wig cap had to come off, only to be ‘plonked’ onto the next head 🙂
Pheww. Here he is, standing proudly in his glass dome at my graduation show.
I didn’t want to stay for the degree show and hear what people had to say about my work, I was much too nervous for that, and after working all day, every day for months, I was just too exhausted to accompany the end result.
It was a long road to the finished design, and one that took at least four months. I know the puppet I came out with is far from perfect, with so many design flaws and impractical pieces, but as my very first, I guess it’s not so bad ^__^ just the first in many improvements and the long road ahead.
I hope you all like him x