With Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s leadership looking pretty rocky at the moment, I thought I better jump in and post these photos of finger puppets of her and Opposition Leader Tony Abbot before she isn’t Prime Minister any more! They were made for the Women’s Health Magazine late last year and appeared in the January 2013 issue, illustrating a fluff article about Aussie excellence, in this case how good Australian politicians are at insulting each other in parliament.
The magazine first contracted me to make finger puppets of then PM Kevin Rudd and OL Tony Abbot and their deputies in June 2010, but almost the next day Rudd was rolled by Julia Gillard. Don’t want to be gazumped again!
There are few more photos of the puppets in my photoset at Flickr. Of course I had some fun doing silly things like this with them before they were shipped. Do I hear a resounding ‘ewww!’?
Last April I made these four muppet characters for a student film project. I never saw the resulting video, so I can’t say how it went! The Mushroom King technically isn’t really a muppet; instead he was made to dangle on a string, and his mouth is moved remotely using a bike cable.
I’m trying out the WordPress gallery here. It annoys me that you cant’t see the tentacle monster’s one eye in the thumbnail, but once you click on the thumbnails the gallery viewer itself is quite cool. Time will tell if I persist with using the galleries!
The last few working days I’ve been making a couple of giant butterfly body suits. These are to go with the masks and wings I made some years ago for The Fool Factory. You may run across the new butterflies at the National Folk Festival at Easter time in Canberra.
These Barnes Products‘ adjustable mould boxes that allow one to easily size the walls around a sculpt are pretty nifty. I always like looking through their sculpting, moulding and casting supplies, although I don’t have much call for them. The times I have, they’ve been very helpful. I also like their online tutorials, and they are now running courses. There have been a few in nearby Queanbeyan, but only in resin jewellery. Now if it was in casting silicon or something like that I’d be right there!
This is an origami shell sculpture I made a while ago for a special present. It’s folded from a large brown manila envelope, and measures 20cm both lengthwise and across the widest end. The ends are held in place with wires threaded with tiny beads.
Although I don’t generally like doing repairs (there are exceptions) it’s part of the business, and sometimes interesting to find out how something is made.
One of my clients asked me to mend a hat that he uses for some of his gigs. The brim is quite thick, and its shape was disintegrating. Much to our surprise there were lots of little chunks of wood inside! On the intact side the bits were glued together into a set shape, but elsewhere they were broken up and higgledy-piggledy. Today I poked around a bit more and ended up taking them all out. I’ll probably replace them with shaped foam.
The hat is from the Calcutta Sola Hat Agency, which was enough of a lead to work out on Google that this is a sholapith helmet, and the bits inside are actually pith! It’s the inside spongy core of a water plant which can be pressed and shaped into works of art. I hadn’t ever looked into why pith helmets had that name. It looks as if the hat makers pressed the pith into a newspaper-lined hat mold, and then sealed it off with a few more layers of paper, before covering it with cloth.
The custom softie I was making last week was “Officer Dan”, the face of a new board game called Highway Patrol. He will be part of the game promotion when its inventors travel to the International Toy Trade Show in New York next week.
Continuing on with my pattern making, once the clay sculpt is done I cover it first with aluminium foil, and then with masking tape. The foil covers the complex contours easily and stays in place, and the masking tape holds the foil shape together when it comes off the maquette.
I draw cutting lines keeping in mind both where to cut to get the pattern off the model easily, and where seams are going to be best for assembling the final pattern in fabric. I also sometimes mark midlines or possible dart lines that might be useful later.
It’s also good to label the pieces before they are cut off, because they are not alway easy to identify once they are cut up. These are still not 2D; they’ll need to have some further cuts made in them, but I haven’t chosen fabric yet, and if it’s stretchy I may not need as many cuts.
I began a new project yesterday, a commissioned soft plush toy. I can’t disclose exactly what at the moment, but can show some indistinct making shots. A clay maquette is probably a weird way to start a softie, but I find drawing a 2D dressmaking style pattern with darts and tucks difficult. It’s much quicker for me to start with a 3D shape and make a pattern from that.
Here’s the rough wire armature intended to hold the clay up,
followed by chicken wire and some crumpled newspaper to fill out the space.
Then the clay is sculpted on top, embedding in the wire.