Day 9: Tuesday June 7, 2016
Today was the first day of the Beyond the Sock workshop!
The workshop started with everyone registering but everyone brought puppets with them so I had the opportunity make many new friends as well as catch up with friends I met last year at Beyond the Sock.
Once introductions were completed, we moved to the design studio where we started designing our chicken puppets by drawing and colouring versions of the puppet Miss Hannaford was going to make. Miss Hannaford has known for many weeks what type of chicken she wanted to make so she already had a few sketches finished before the course.
After designing the character, the students cut out their puppet pattern pieces
After class there was an informal get together of all the students, teachers and staff at the group hotel. Miss Hannaford not only invited me to join her at the party but she also brought another puppet she had made- my friend ‘Fire’- a carved African Mask puppet based on a famous puppet from the Harry Belafonte episode of the Muppet Show
Fire was not only very popular with all the students but he was also enormously popular with Miss Hannaford’s puppetry teacher Noel MacNeal! Mr MacNeal took these photos of my friend Fire-
I also got to mingle with all the other puppets in the room while Fire was being admired.
Day 10: Wednesday June 8, 2016
Today was the first full day for Miss Hannaford learning puppetry and starting to make her chicken puppet. Classes started at 8:30am and her morning class was held in a room with a long mirror along a wall so the new puppeteers could practise their hand movements. The thing that Miss Hannaford found challenging was redeveloping her lip sync techniques and keeping her hand still so that the lower jaw of the puppet is the only thing that is moving. The class practiced counting the numbers 1 to 20 many times while the two puppetry teachers, Martin Robinson and Noel MacNeal went along the line assisting each of the students. Other activities we did was learning to centre the puppet on the screen, following a ball around a screen to create the illusion of that the puppet is looking at things in the area.
After lunch, Miss Hannaford went over to the construction workshop to start building her chicken puppet. The process started by cutting out all the fur pieces so they could be sent to the sewing room where the volunteers see the pieces together. Nice all the fur was cut out, the next process was to cut out the pieces of foam that made up the head structure and glue them together.
Day 7: Sunday June 5, 2016
Today was another travel day. Our next stop was Texas for the week long Beyond the Sock puppetry workshop! Since Miss Hannaford and I had a 6am flight to Texas, we had to leave the hotel by 3:30am!
We arrived in Dallas Fort Worth Texas and caught a shuttle bus to our hotel in Denton Texas. Miss Hannaford was really excited to meet one of the other students from the workshop who had also come from Australia that day! We ended up having an early night since we had been travelling since the very early hours.
Day 8: Monday June 6, 2016
One of Miss Hannaford’s favourite activities before the Beyond the Sock workshop is to visit all the places where people can buy puppet making supplies such as hardware stores, art supply stores, and dollar stores that are similar to the variety stores we have in Australia. The difference between these stores and Australian stores are their really big size and the quantity of different kinds of products they sell. The best thing about these stores is that they are all in walking distance from the hotel where we are staying.
After our shopping expedition, Miss Hannaford had dinner with some of the other workshop students who had arrived during the day at a local restaurant.
Tomorrow the workshop begins and we are so excited!
Lucy and Miss Hannaford
Day 5: Friday June 3rd 2016
After 2 years, Miss Hannaford and I are finally back at the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta Georgia, the largest museum in the world dedicated to all forms of puppetry.
In those 2 years, the Center has changed a great deal- with a new museum wing being built on the front of the old school building.
Top photo- how the Center looked in 2014, bottom photo how the Center looks now.
My visit began by sitting with Miss Hannaford on the replica Goblin Throne from the Jim Henson movie Labyrinth.
We then went to see the current resident puppet show called a the Swan- an Ugly Duckling Tale.
This show is from a French -Canadian puppet theatre so the puppeteer spoke to us first in French until he realised that his audience didn’t understand what hew was saying and he repeated himself in English.
After the show, Miss Hannaford and I went on a behind the scenes tour of the whole building. We got to see the storeroom where the puppets not on display are kept, the new library and research space, the education faculty where people can make their own puppets to take home or attend courses and lectures on puppetry. The next stop on the tour was the conservation laboratory where Miss Hannaford had lots of questions about how they preserve historical puppets that are made of foam. The conservators where very generous and gave Miss Hannaford samples of the Nufoam they use take home and find the Australian version.
After our visit to the conservation lab, Miss Hannaford and I got to have lunch with the resident puppet builders followed by a longer visit to the research library where Miss Hannaford got to look inside the archive box for Australian Puppetry. Inside that box were articles and information about Australian puppeteers and puppetry companies from the mid 1960’s to the early 1990’s. Normally researchers have to make a special application to be allowed to open the archive boxes but since Miss Hannaford was a special guest, she was given special permission to open a box of her choice and to take notes.
After Miss Hannaford finished in the archive, it was time to go back to the hotel after such a long, fun filled day.
Day 6: Saturday June 4th, 2016
Today was our second day at the Center for Puppetry Arts. Our first activity was to have a longer tour through the global collection and the Jim Henson wing of the new museum. We got to have our pictures taken with so many famous puppets and characters!
Since Miss Hannaford is a huge fan of the Muppets and makes lots of foam puppets, she took these photos so that she could see up close how these famous puppets were made.
After visiting the Jim Henson wing, Miss Hannaford and I toured the Global Collection which displays puppets from all over the world. Miss Hannaford’s favourite was the Gumby and Pokey claymation puppets. Miss Hannaford was really surprised at how small the puppets are. Gumby is only 15cm high and is much smaller than the other kinds of claymation puppets on display.
After touring the Worlds of Puppetry exhibit, Miss Hannaford’s next stop was the Build A Puppet workshop where people get to make a little puppet that they can take home. The puppet Miss Hannaford got to make was a little Cygnet- a baby swan using cardboard, paddle pop sticks and split pins.
Miss Hannaford and I had such a a wonderful time in Atlanta that we can’t wait to come back again but tomorrow we are off on the most exciting part of the trip- Beyond the Sock in Texas!!!
Day 3: Wednesday June 1, 2016
Today Miss Hannaford and I explored a few of the great sites of Chicago!
First place we visited was the Harold Washington Library which is an amazing public library. On the ground floor, is a space called Youmedia which is a space for teenagers to be creative with all the resources they need including computers, music equipment and 3D printers.
On the 3rd floor of the building is the Makerlab which has 3D printers, lazer cutter, cnc routers, vinyl cutters. Anyone is allowed to go in there and make anything they want or learn how to use the technology. Unfortunately, while Miss Hannaford and I were there, the workshop was closed but there were a few of the objects made in the lab on display in a case outside the doors.
One of the big differences between American Libraries and Australian libraries is that the books are organised by the Library of Congress classification system instead of the Dewey Decimal system. The Library of Congress system is very different in that all spine labels start with a 2 letter code. For example books on Puppetry start with the classification PN which refers to Language and Literature- General Miss Hannaford found that there were 3 shelves of books on Puppetry and anyone is allowed to take books from the shelf to read at the reading tables.
After visiting the library, Miss Hannaford and I went to find a Lego store. There are currently no Lego stores in Australia, and since Miss Hannaford loves playing with Lego- it was a wonderful, fun place to visit. The shop even has trays of Lego out for people to play with.
Next door to the Lego Store building is one of the tallest buildings in Chicago- the John Hancock Tower. The building is 100 stories tall and has an observation platform at the top which has great views of the city and Lake Michigan. Miss Hannaford and I spent a lovely hour at the top taking photos of the city just like we did in New York in 2014.
Day 4: Thursday 2nd June 2014
Today Miss Hannaford and I flew from Chicago to Atlanta Georgia. The trip took all day and fortunately Miss Hannaford used the airline app on her phone because the gate for the plane at Chicago airport changed four times and our bags arrived in Atlanta before we did. The app let us know each time circumstances changed so we weren’t too anxious.
Once again, Miss Hannaford and I are off on another Puppet adventure. This time it is a three week puppet adventure through the United States of America. Miss Hannaford won the UNIMA Australia Lorrie Gardner Scholarship to study puppetry at Beyond the Sock Workshop in Texas, but both of us are taking the opportunity to visit new puppet places either side of the workshop.
Day 1: Monday May 30, 2016
Our first stop on this adventure is Chicago a major city of state of Illinois in USA. To get there, it took two plane flights- 13 hours from Sydney to Los Angeles, then we had to change planes to catch another 4 hour flight from Los Angeles to Chicago. Chicago has a wonderful train system so we caught the train from O’Hare airport into the city because the station we got off at was not very far from the hotel.
When we arrived in Chicago, the city was very quiet because it was Memorial Day. Memorial Day is a public holiday and very similar to the Australian ANZAC Day where Americans honour the memory of those who died serving in the military.
Miss Hannaford was very tired after the long 24+ journey from Sydney, so we both had an early night.
Day 2: Tuesday May 31, 2016
The reason why Miss Hannaford and I travelled to Chicago was to meet up with a young American puppeteer and puppet maker Connor Asher. Connor owns and runs his own creature creation studio called Creventive and so when we arrived at his studio, we were given a tour of all the different puppets, creatures, molds and equipment Connor has. Connor is a special effects artist and he uses materials like foam latex, resin as well as the foam similar to what Miss Hannaford uses to make movie creatures as well as puppets. He is also a professional puppeteer and so he had invited Miss Hannaford to come and practice her puppetry skills with him. I even got to meet, sing and dance with Connor’s main character Jeremy J Giggles!
Connor asked Miss Hannaford to collaborate and build a puppet with him. Since we only had one day at the studio, it was decided to keep the design of the puppet really simple and on his ideas wall, Connor had a picture of some musical note puppets someone had made and that he had always wanted to try. Miss Hannaford showed Connor how she makes puppets as her method is different to how he makes puppets. The musical note puppets were made using the Project Puppet Roly puppet head pattern and the stem of the note was designed by Connor and made in L200 foam.
Miss Hannaford wants to experiment more with the shape of the musical note puppets to try and make their heads rounder especially under the chin but it was really fun to work together on creating a character so quickly!
Towards the end of the night, Connor had a surprise for Miss Hannaford. He owns replica puppets of Kermit the Frog and Fozzie Bear from the Muppets! My new puppet friend Molly who is travelling with Miss Hannaford and I, even got to sing with Kermit! Miss Hannaford was so excited to actually get her picture taken with these replica puppets!
Can’t wait to get started on Day 3!
Lucy and Miss Hannaford