born

Well, apart from the clothes, she’s done. There was a bit of a set back this morning when both of the leather tabs I’d inserted at the ankle joints, snapped when I was putting the puppet through its paces. I probably hadn’t allowed enough slackness, and the tension between foot and leg took its toll.  So rather than repair the joints as they had been and risk it happening again… and maybe at a more inopportune moment, such as in the performance… I made a different, slightly less delicate attachment. After that I carved her hands and did the last of the assembling. When she’s in her nightdress… yet to be made… she’ll be ready for Ann and Diana, and it will be for them to nurture her into life.

These things always take longer than expected. A puppet made from scratch requires so many elements of design and manufacture, and the many moving parts must fit together perfectly and work properly and give up a performance that will serve the text and draw in the audience. The surprise should be not how much time this one took, but how little.

Beauty and the Beast

14 thoughts on “born

  1. Pingback: Puppet Catch-up: Clive’s Posts | Clive Hicks-Jenkins' Artlog:

  2. Dear Clive, I had to play a bit of blog catch up, I may have lost some of the details. That said, she is quite haunting, not post-mortem as you feared, but other worldly. She is by far the greatest maquette -I know she is a sophisticated puppet- but the compositional opportunities seem endless with this little being. Once again I am move by the tenderness you imbue your work; it reflects your own deeply ingrained humanist approach. Aesthetically she is a great success.
    LG

    • Leonard, thank you for that.

      She may one day join me in the studio, perhaps when her stage career is behind her. I can see all too well what a wonderful model she’d make.

      You’re not the only one falling behind in blog world. I’ve been an infrequent visitor to yours. You and I are clearly having a busy summer! Hope That all is well with you my friend.

  3. it’s amazing how adding the head has changed the character of the puppet,

    in your earlier (headless) post I thought she looked like a sprightly creature,

    now she seems so fragile and vulnerable.

  4. Beautiful, the emotional impact of a puppet is unlike anything else, seeing this figure in your hands brings up so many feelings. She’s wonderful. Great work and I’m gobsmacked how quickly she came to be.

    • Making a puppet is like embarking on an extraordinary journey for which you’re not entirely sure of the destination. At least, that’s the way it’s been for me. Before this project I hadn’t made puppets in a long, long time. My skills are rusty or non-existent, and I’m constantly having to just work out the best way of doing something. It’s end-to-end problem solving, all the while trying to hold onto the creativity without which the puppet wouldn’t have the necessary spirit. This one started out in my head as one thing, but changed as she came into being. It has ocassionally felt like a wrestling match with a recalcitrant baby not yet ready to come into the world. And now she’s here, I keep looking at her and thinking to myself ‘Where did you come from?’

      She has her awkwardnesses. A stiffness here, an uncontrollable floppiness there. But for better or worse she’s done, and when next month she’s passed to the puppeteers who will help shape her performance, under their hands she’ll turn into something else again. Their hands will ease her joints and smooth her actions, to the point that like one of those fountain pens that yields beautiful handwriting only to the owner who has shaped a nib by years of use, so she will only reveal herself to audiences through her chosen puppeteers. Right now she gives up a performance to me, but all that will soon change, and I know that by the time she’s ready for performance, she’ll have forgotten her maker.

    • Like any great actor, she’s ready for all parts. Exhausted rock chick, wan English rose, Bloomsbury aesthete stricken with ennui… you name it. And like many of her profession before her, she seems to have mislaid her clothes.

      • Any woman of “a certain age” might be able to relate!! ; )
        As do I! She looks as if she, too, might have just returned from a week’s vacation with three pre-teens and walking through NYC at 100 degrees F. LOL!

        • That sounds as though it was a challenging experience! Negotiating New York in a heat wave in the company of three pre-teens sounds like a bridge-too-far for me. Here at Ty Isaf I’ve been hiding in the cool shade!

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