It’s only a puppet.

I’ve just started to make some simple puppets for an online show which will be featuring soon on the artlog written by Clive Hicks Jenkins. Clive frequently works with folk mythology, particularly with Welsh legends and characters. His blog is on my side bar and is well worth a frequent peruse.

The theme of the show is folk tales, fairy tales, myths and legends, not a subject I usually work with, but I like to try something different every so often. Browsing on my computer to gather reference material I spotted some mummers wearing animal heads, which appealed, as I much prefer to work with animals in my art than humans, unless of course they are humans pretending to be animals, which is always an interesting interface. I particularly have always wanted wings and a tiger’s tail.

I wasn’t at all sure what I would make, but the remit is wide, and I appeared to have invented some characters via the mediums of the mummers and my collage box.

Delving into this magic box produced some materials which I have loosely put together to make some simple, flat, jointed puppets in the vein of shadow puppets. They will never be employed as puppets, as far as I know, unless I change my job perhaps, but I will photograph them looking suitably puppet like for the show, with shadows if I can manage it, and with their stories told too.

DSC_0044Some of the contents of the collage box.

The puppets look quite creepy, but they are not all bad, don’t worry. Mummers, puppets, folk lore and all the rest of it are designed to unsettle us. These personages are going to have a mix of traits, and to represent a range of emotions; I haven’t decided on all the traits as yet, but basically they are are animal/Moon gods with a mix of roles in the world. And because I refuse to be completely dark, at least one of them will have to be the goddess of cake, pasta and chocolate, let alone books, artist’s materials and other good stuff.

DSC_0087The Moon person, in a map kimono, with her moth entourage.

DSC_0091The sea and air goddesses, one of whom will have the title The Keeper of Lists. They are laid out here ready to construct.

DSC_0092The skull is a print on paper from one of my embroideries; the small fish was embroidered by a friend many years ago. I have polished up some old coins, threepenny bits, half pennies etc, with tomato sauce, which I may use too.

DSC_0094I reckon these could really take off as some of those giant slippers, or perhaps funky goth trainers?

DSC_0093The goddess of The Sea. The pieces will, I hope, suggest more of their stories to me as I continue to make them. I was hoping not to involve stitch but some may creep in, there are pebbles and coins to attach, and I do love a bead.

I’ll post a reminder when the show is on Clive’s blog.

9 thoughts on “It’s only a puppet.

  1. Stephanie, they are really delightful! I look forward to their development. They remind me… have you been to the Rowland Emett exhibition in the Gas Hall yet? I took the children last week and we were enthralled with the wonderful machines ( And Charlie and me with the drawings). I shall certainly be going again… with you, maybe. Jane x

    1. Thanks Jane, I’m not sure if they are delightful myself, but they seem happy with the compliment!
      I’ll e mail you and we can arrange a trip to the Rowland Emett, I’d forgotten about that exhibition.

  2. Hi Steph. This is very interesting. I like your words to explain & I really like how your style comes through into this form. I can see this being a book, a story book, a new direction. Very inspiring & thought provoking for myself, whose personal creative gene is taking a break whilst I get the new business up and running & become an even more devoted (dotty) gransmother. Maybe I should do a story book about him!
    Hope you see you soon, no time or funds to do workshops at the moment but if this new style continues then I will defo have to make the effort x

    1. Hi Shelagh, great to hear from you! Glad you are enjoying being a grandmother so much. It would be lovely to see you at some point, hopefully you will visit FoQ this year?
      I’m pleased you find the puppet work inspiring, I just let them evolve as they wanted; I did think they looked a little ghastly, but of course they are not all bad, as I’ve said. You are right, they are already developing into characters with their own stories; I would like to give them some more time for that, but they need to be sent to Clive asap, so that will have to wait.

  3. You may well say ‘it’s only a puppet’ but the whole thing intimidated me so I steered clear and felt a real wally for being such a wimp. I do love those funky feet though Steph and think these will be great fun when they’re completed. I knew Chloe had signed up for it but was not aware you had too. I think the results will be staggering as Clive’s ideas seem to draw the best from other artists. I love puppets and Clive has given me a lot of pleasure with his links and posts about puppeteers whilst increasing my knowledge. I shall look out for the completed sea goddesses in the artlog puppet show line up!

    1. You are not alone, they worry me too Lesley and I made them. Clive is an inspiration, and such a generous person too; the show looks as if it will be very interesting, to say the least.
      I’m off to photograph mine today, hopefully I will be able to get some strong shadows going on, most likely with Chloe’s help, not that she knows that yet..

  4. Love if, can’t wait to see the finished work( maybe book or books? ) carry on xxxx

    1. Thanks Lorraine, that’s 2 people who have mentioned the book idea, maybe I should think about that. They are quite exacting as a cast of characters though, but there are a couple more I had in mind I didn’t have the time to make.

      1. Yeah you really should break out and do a couple of books, you have so much talent and those puppets are crying out to be created. Go girl GO…….

Comments are closed.