(Nakiya Smith as Dinnawhan and Maitland Schnaars as Biami. Photo credit: Angie To)
For the Wiradjuri Echoes production Biami last year (see previous posts) I also made a mask and costume elements for Biami, and an emu puppet. In the creation story, Biami the creator spirit ‘created the emu Dinnawhan, the female emu, whose spirit he used to create the Wiradjuri people; who now believe they are of the egg of Biami and the female spirit’.
With a headdress (painted up by Duncan Smith) representing the five elements of the sky that he embodies – wind, lightning, thunder, rain and fog – and long soft brushing fingers, Biami’s presence was awesome!
These masks were made for walk-about performances by The Fool Factory at the National Gallery of Australia‘s festival during the Enlighten Festival, Canberra, March 2014. They were themed to go with the NGA’s exhibition Gold and the Incas.
The owl design was suggested by a golden bead in the exhibition, while the other was based on the decorative hilt part of a small sacrificial knife known as a tumi.
I couldn’t find any fur fabric that was right, so opted for felt for covering the kangaroo mask. I was actually happy about that, (although it still leaves the question of what fabric to use for a tail), because I loved the masks using this technique that I made some years ago. I built a section into the inside of the mask that will fit the wearer’s face comfortably and firmly. There’s still quite a bit of detailing to be done on the ears, eyes and mouth.
While the mask was drying I went back to making an emu egg for the same show, Biami. I’d already made a polystyrene form for it, but had set it aside while I considered how to make it light up inside. Today I finally covered the egg in Plastimake. I’ll have some photos of the egg later as it progresses.
Today I’ve been making a kangaroo mask. This is for the Biami production I blogged about yesterday. I decided to use paper mâché even though it’s a little time consuming. For something fairly small like this it’s fine, and I am pretty quick. I like doing paper mâché very much and find it meditative. I’m not sure on the final finish yet – fur or felt?
The windmill prop I mentioned previously was made for the National Museum of Australia‘s July school holiday program Little BIG Things. It ran in conjunction with the museum’s new Landmarks exhibition, which explores a broad history of Australia through stories of places and their peoples.. The kids visiting the Discovery Centre drop-in activity area could make small sculptures of a big thing from where they came from, and then write a story about it to place on the blades of the windmill.
Against the huge windows in the foyer of the museum the windmill looks quite small despite being 3 metres tall. At home when I did a trial assembly of the windmill outside my studio window, it looked enormous! There are some more photos of the windmill in my Flickr photoset.
These cool crocheted fox masks are only a couple of the unusual masks made by Huck and Stuff. I’m such a slow and occasional knitter and crocheter myself (in fact I’ve crocheted so seldom I shouldn’t count as one at all) that I’m amazed at the use of either to make masks or puppets. But they look great and given the wire frame construction are probably light and airy to wear, which is a terrific advantage.
Eric Testroete, a 3d artist in Vancouver, made this awesome papercraft self-portrait head mask for Halloween last year. If you scroll along at his site you can see the making process. Wouldn’t it be cool to use heads like this in theatre?
A mindblowing day at the puppet carnival: see my Flickr photoset for heaps more photos; I’ve just chosen a few here. Also Naomi and Gary have more, too, each a different take :). As far as I can see its just the three of us blogging from Unima 2008.
Cheryl Linnaker’s Yawaru gecko
Joan Baixas’ masterclass present the ‘Great Laughing Mutant Project’
Hersute Monsiour Telefon, the puppet I put in the Million Puppet Project
Trans Faunas by Swerve Association
Perhaps one of the creatures by Edith Cowan University Contemporary Performing group?
Murphy’s Puppets Allenby’s FAMOUS Flea Circus
Swerve Association’s sheep
My attendence at Unima 2008 is supported by the ACT Government