Puppets wear baby clothes, which are often more expensive than the the clothes I wear, so when we make puppets clothes are not included. Clothes also contribute greatly towards the character, so we prefer that their owners pick an outfit for their puppets that matches the character they’ve created. (Yes, I do actually hope that the people who buy my puppets take puppetry as seriously as I do. No, I don’t actually think that they do.)
We always ask that people send us a photo of the puppets once they are clothed, but they seldom oblige. This time around, I can show you a pic of the last two we made, fully clothed for a change:
Their new mom will use them to teach music to little kids, so naturally they are called Mini and Maestro. Cute, huh?
The daughter of friends of ours (technically the mother was my teacher back in primary school, but adulthood has this funny side effect of suddenly putting you on equal footing with people you’d have called “sir” or “ma’am” two decades ago) is studying to become a teacher. She needed a puppet for one of her classes, so she came to the experts. When she saw one of our grandpa puppets she immediately said she wanted one like that, and here he is…
We never did find out how many marks she got for our hard work…
And the other two kiddies led to a referral which produced the sisters:
Why are all these puppets so pale? Beats me. We have a chest full of different colours cloth, and a fabric shop nearby where we can get many more colours, but these are the colours our customers picked. Some people just don’t have any imagination.
But for her brother I wanted a specific hairstyle and had no idea how to achieve said hairstyle. They say necessity breeds invention, and so the wife suggested we make a tapestry, like this:
I spent more time making the hair for one puppet than the total time the wife and I spent assembling them both, but I’m so happy with the end result, the new method for making hair is becoming part of the permanent toolbox:
It was tough letting these two go for adoption, but I know their new mom will take very good care of them and they’ll bring hours of pleasure to the children she works with every day. That’s why we do this, after all.
I’ve been very lazy with blogging the past couple of weeks. You can probably tell, right? I think it’s because last year this time I was relaxing at the seaside. The feeling lingers.
This year, the wife and I are staying at home for the winter holidays. One, we’ve already been on vacation this year. Two, we don’t have any money to go on vacation. And three, we each have a massive amount of studying to do, which won’t happen if we’re on vacation.
This week, though, we’ve been quite busy. We got roped in to help a local church with a vacation club they’re running for the town’s kids, so we’ve been dusting off our puppetry skills (and rediscovering muscles and joint we had forgotten about).
As this meant getting all our puppets out from the various cupboard where they are usually stored I reckoned it’s the perfect opportunity to photograph them all so I can show you. Previously I’d shown you the puppets we have made on order for other people. Today? Here’s a line-up of our puppets made for personal use:
In a previous post I mentioned (and got absolutely no reaction, by the way) that I’m trained in puppetry and also make my own puppets. I don’t get a lot of opportunity to practise these skills, though. When I was still working as a youth pastor I did puppetry quite often and also trained kids in doing puppetry, but no more. We also went through a phase where we got several orders for puppets, but those have dried up (probably due to the fact that we don’t really advertise).
Until this week. A student who was doing her practical at the wife’s school needed a puppet for a class requirement. They have to make it themselves. For marks. And not just any old puppet. It must be a human mouth puppet, you know, like Elmo.
This shows once again just how little some university lecturers actually know of the real world. See, these puppets can be tricky to make, the materials are expensive (the foam used for the insides cannot be bought in single-puppet quantities), and good patterns are not freely available – you have to buy them. But they have to be hand-made because that’s cheaper than buying them (then have them make glove puppets, for crying out loud!)
As one would expect, most students cheat. They pay someone who has the patterns, materials and expertise to make the puppets for them. I don’t really have qualms about helping them in their cheating – I enjoy making puppets and it’s good money. I’m much more concerned that these students will enter the teaching profession with a puppet but without any training in puppetry and without any appreciation for the puppet they purchased, cause every time I sell a puppet it’s like putting a child up for adoption. That’s how I feel about them.
Maybe you’ll understand a bit better once you’ve seen a bit of what goes into making a puppet.
Advisory Warning: At this point I have to warn you that the rest of this post will contain graphic images of naked, skinless and skinned puppets. Sensitive readers might do well to go look at these funny pictures of crying babies.