conjuring an apparition

The Mari Lwyd puppet currently under construction is being made from materials intended  to create an effect of translucence, as though it’s more apparition than corporeal beast. I don’t want to disguise its component parts either. I’m happy for it to be seen for what it is: a construct.

Plastic mesh is malleable, taking curves and folds well. I’ve made it hold its shape by stitching it over a wire armature. Because the material takes light well, I think it will create interesting effects when viewed through the medium of the camera.  I’ve blurred the image below to make it more ghostly. The light coming from the window throws into silhouette the wire armature inside the head. Lighting from the front will make the wires vanish, but I favour a lighting state that has the puppet changing from solid to transparent as it moves.

Below: adding a neck of plastic hose, which lends a marvellously sinuous quality to the animation. I could only find dark-coloured hose, and so I’ll use car spray-paint to make it pale.

Above: this is just the upper part of the skull. The lower jaw has yet to be added.

6 responses to “conjuring an apparition

  1. Brilliant use of materials for the purpose, Clive. I love the technical processes that go into making things like this and the imaginative, bold way in which you go about it.

    • Not sure about bold, though thank you for attributing that quality to me, Natalie. I flail about happily, ideas flashing and carrying me to unexpected places. It feels less like ‘bold’ and more like a stroll down a lane that’s meandering along goodness knows where! (-;

  2. I love that blurred image against the light coming through the window, it has a ‘tales of the paranormal and unexplained’ quality, something like ‘I took this photo and when it came back from the developers this ghostly image had appeared’, very spooky. The materials you’re using look full of possibilities

    • Phil, although the puppetry will be carried out in full view of the audience with the puppeteers on show and no attempt to hide them beyond the fact that they’ll be dressed in black, the puppet performances will be streamed to a large projector above the heads of the musicians, and so there will be plentiful opportunities for creating a darkly mysterious atmosphere. The small scale of the puppets will allow for really delicate and subtle animation. It’s an exciting prospect for us to create performer-controlled physical effects, combined with edgy, gritty visuals the camera operators will contribute. Close-ups will carry the audience right into the action, and I can’t wait to experiment in rehearsals with the effects of hand-held camera and motion-blur.

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