I’m fond of Virginia Woolf, and her writing has influenced some of the ways I look at the world. I’m not sure if that explains why I wanted to make a puppet of her or not! I do find, though, that the making process itself allows me to understand and meditate in a unique way on what that person was like, and I end up feeling I know more about them than before. From that point of view the result doesn’t matter much. However, I would have liked to capture her beauty more, and her look is rather alarmingly intense. I’ve read she could be, but she wasn’t all the time, like my puppet.
I started making Virginia quite a while ago, and was trying out some experimental techniques and materials. I tried an air dry clay for modeling her face and hands. I wouldn’t chose it again because I don’t think it is very durable. I also wanted to see if I could build the arms and legs using tubes for the straight bones, round beads for the joints, and elastic running through them to keep them tensioned, then covering them with padding and fabric. There was too much play in them, and the limbs twisted. At this point Virginia got put aside. But now I’ve re-built her with good joints, and her feet are weighted nicely. She stands about 50cm (20 inches) tall.
I really like her outfit, and her shape and movement; she is satisfying to hold and play with (my kids had her doing the Time Warp the other night), and she is very much a small presence around the house.