Well there is a reason why I have not written here in a while…. I have been building lots of commissioned puppets! Some I can’t share here yet- but I can share the journey of one puppet that has an extra special place in my heart. I have blogged, tweeted and facebooked about a wonderful puppet shop I have been visiting for over a year now called Loutky Puppets. Recently the creative genius behind Loutky Puppets, Wez Champion asked me to collaborate on building a foam puppet for the new Gaki Puppet Series. Gaki is Japanese for Devil and the puppet series focuses on the Tasmanian Devil using rare Australian Timbers carved and burnt in the Japanese Kokeshi doll style.
I jumped at the chance to build this puppet as Wez is a great collaborator and puppet designer in that he provides gentle direction but lets me have creative freedom! While I don’t yet have an official photo of the Gaki Puppet who we call Cerny, (Czech word for Black) I have been the guest build blogger and you can see how I built the puppet.
I hope in the future that I can collaborate with Wez to develop more new puppets. It is such a wonderful creative process that I have been privileged to experience twice now. The Cerny puppet will now be up for sale- so while I will miss him as he is crafted with care and love, I hope his life’s journey as a puppet will mean that he will be ‘treasured forever’.
I have been building puppets now for 8 years and most of my practice has focused on building hand puppets out of foam in what is called “Muppet Style”. I am now incorporating simple puppet mechanisms such as eyeblinks but I now want to challenge myself to build more sophisticated puppet mechanism similar to what is used in the Zazu puppet in the musical version of the Lion King.
So I have started building a new dragon puppet. Ultimately, I want the mouth to open and close via a trigger on the handle of the puppet as well as incorporate an eye blink that not only closes but also opens wide for when the puppet is surprised.
So far I have built a 3D maquette of the mechanism and I have started building the head out of plasticine. My visits to Loutky and talking with Wez, the creative spark of Loutky has really helped me understand how mechanisms work inside the head of a puppet.
A friend recently invited me to afternoon tea at a new Teahouse in Epping called Loutky. Loutky is Czech for Puppet and the whole concept of the Teahouse is to encourage the visitor to experience the world of puppetry either by watching a puppet show or by choosing a book to read from the extensive library while enjoying a lovely selection of tea or coffee.
Since my first visit, I have visited many times and I like to take the puppet I am working on and just sit and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere. I have also watched Wez the owner/ creative genius of Loutky carve the most exquisite puppets for their resident shows or special commissions. Wez has kindly helped me develop the mechanical concepts for my next puppet and he has invited me to collaborate with him to build the puppets for the first show in 2013. This will be the first time that I have had a hand in building puppets for a real show.