Hot Glue and Horatio.

January 20, 2010 at 2:31 am (Uncategorized)

It has come to the point that I don’t mind being covered in hot glue, foam, thread, or permanent marker from head to toe anymore. I might complain about my schooling like any normal college student, but I really and truly love what I do…working in theater.

The crafts class I am taking has given me an opportunity to try my hand at puppetry with my seasoned instructor, Holly Cole. I have always been fascinated with puppets, from The Muppets to Sesame Street to Avenue Q, and I jumped at the chance to make one this quarter. After much deliberation, I decided to make a giraffe puppet (based on the long-nosed donkey pattern that Holly has honed to perfection) and powered along with much enthusiasm.

Fast forward to a few days later–my first day doing extra work on my puppet. I’ve spent about 24 extra hours in the crafts shop since Friday working on that thing. I never realized how hard it is to make something that seems so simple at first glance. Developing a pattern, deciding what material to use, and then actually beginning to build the shape of your object/animal/person, etc., is incredibly difficult–to me, anyway. The bulk of my time was spent trying to make the shape of the giraffe. The eye ridges, the hump on the forehead, the eyes themselves….I wanted to tear my hair out. By the time our first “rough draft” of our puppet was due, I had managed to create a somewhat giraffe-like silhouette (this meaning that if I stood a few feet away and squinted, I could kind of see the essence of the giraffe in my big pile of foam and hotglue). With Holly’s helpful suggestions and revisions, I finally achieved success today. Horatio (his name, of course) looks magnificent, even though he is nowhere near completion. He looks nothing like the semi-retarded, possessed horse that he did a week ago, or even yesterday, for that matter. I’m so excited!

The process isn’t over, of course. Next, I have to drape muslin over it and create a very clean, precise pattern–which I know I will have a hard time with. Draping on dress forms is fairly easy, but draping over a shaped mound of foam with bits of three-dimensional pieces sticking out for eyes and other various parts feels foreign and very intimidating. But I know I can do it. I’ve come so far already–why stop now?

Pictures to come soon! Each time I go in to work on it, I end up only having my phone to take pictures with.

What lesson have we learned today? Making puppets is a hard, but rewarding, skill to master. I think everyone should do it. Tomorrow is going to be great: 4 hours in the costume shop making a fabulous mock up for a coat, a meeting with a senior performance major who would like me to do costumes for his show, and then more Horatio. I love Wednesdays.

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1 Comment

  1. Candice said,

    I love reading this. =] It makes me the most happy.

    I miss you. And I want pictures soon. =]

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