Monday, April 25, 2005

Making a theatre puppet

I started thinking about the considerations I used when designing the Maurice puppet for Andrew MacDonald-Smith. I have often heard the argument of using hand stitches instead of a sewing machine when making puppets. There are two sides to this argument. I know that sewing by hand (which I tend to do) hides seams extremely well on a puppet, but there are benefits of sewing by machine. I find machine seams (although easier to see) are extremely superior in strength than a hand sewn stitch.

One of the considerations I had when making this puppet for Andrew was about the durability. As a result I chose to go with a machine sewn puppet.

I started with antron fleece which I dyed to a light blue colour.

I cut out the body pattern and glued the pieces together.

The head was assembled and I added a sleeve inside the puppet to make it more comfortable during hot performances on stage.

The eyes, nose and head are all ready.

The pattern for the fabric skin is created and traced on to the fabric.

The pieces are cut out and organized together. These happen to be the human arm pieces.

Pieces are sewn together with a sewing machine (making sure that each part is as strong as can be).

The final result is a puppet that is extremely durable. Reports are that Maurice has been used a tremendous amount and he is going strong. Everyone has their own thoughts on using a machine instead of sewing by hand. I have found that both are quite acceptable in different circumstances and when all is said and done, the results can be quite pleasing.


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