Tuesday, 28 July 2009

My First Puppet

No strings, and not a girl, but last week, after forty odd hours that were punctuated by despair, frustration, a boiling brain, support from fellow benchers, and the occasional glimpse of joy ... I finally made my first puppet.

What was probably the hardest aspect of the week was the intensity of work and learning. 9-6 every day, till 8 on a couple. Iwas grateful I was familiar with a chisel, cos there was the whole land of design, band-saws and articulation to enter.

We were working in Horse and Bamboo's beautiful workshop and taught by John Roberts who displayed remarkable patience throughout the week - with 12 people irregularly calling Jawwwhnnn in a slightly higher pitched voice than their usual (I'm sure) to have some joint, porportion, or blade checked by the maestro (as he became to be called by day2).

As I said the puppet didn't turn out to be a girl. It's odd. I always start out with my carving/modelling to make female heads and always they turn out male. I think it's because I'm drawn to large features and am not (yet) skilled enough to make large features feminine.

The fingers turned out exactly as I envisioned. Long, and disprtportionally large.

What I also noticed through the week was my teenage temperament. I know puppets appeal to our childlike habit of animating everything, but what I wasn't expecting was the making of one was a sleek dive into regression.

I got so whingey (in my head, I hope) and frequently on the brink of throwing the limp, disjointed parts on the floor and stomping out of the workshop while announcng I never wanted a puppet anyway. But some self-control stopped me. And I got the joints made, stuck and soldered together.

I was terribly knackered by the end of the week and the trying nature of production was such that it took me a couple of days of doing absolutely nothing (except watching the last three dvds in the final series box set of Six Feet Under) before I could look at the moonboy with some sense of love and achievement.

Which is odd, since my usual tendency in making things, or writing poems is to swell with a huge sense of god-like creation at the end of a first draft, unable to see any of the huge (or small) faults with it, bursting with pride and struggling with myself to not send off the tacked lines to Poetry Review in the expectation of instant acceptance.

Now the hardwork is behind me (except for the stringing of his hands, head, legs etc etc) I am beginning to feel rather fond of the chappie and slow murmurings of anticipation at writing for him are tickling me.

Since that is the larger plan he is part of - to write things for him for me to perform with him as part of any poetry set I give. This is scuppered slightly by him not being a girl so I can't develop the whole auntie business that I was toying with - or at least not with him. But he is tall enough to hold his own on a stage - standing upright he comes up to my knee. And I'm thinking of some lovely hair and a costume for him. Although she doesn't know it yet, my mother's down for that job.

And since we've had all these recent celebrations of the lunar landing anniversary, I'm thinking maybe the moon isn't a bad alternative subject ...


Jenn said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who gets teenage strop craziness when I can't master something new five seconds after giving it a whirl... if I had that self control that you mentioned, I'd probably be a genius crocheting-hero by now. Honest.

Sarah Hymas said...

the self-control was enforced by being in a room with eleven other people ... maybe that's the way forward - surrounding ourselves with eternal witnesses