10 October 2011

The Making of a Giant Puppet - Part 2 (the head and skylines sweat shop)

It seems there are a few schools of thought on sewing patterns for making spheres. Rounded square patterns, orange segment patterns soccer ball patterns. I opted for the orange segment design mainly because the shapes fitted in we with the roll of fabric we had. The width of the roll (150cm) determining the number of segments we needed to make up the 4 meter sphere (which was 8).

So I sent the pattern off to Helen and whilst she was busy cutting and sewing I tried to work up how the frame was going to work.

My first thought was to build it up like a double sided dome tent having various fibreglass hoops at right angles to make a solid sphere (standard sized parent for scale)
Here it is with a tent fly draped over it and a projection of the animate face that one of the children at the local primary school had done. However, since its mostly white line on a black background, you done get much of a sense of the surface its being projected onto.

So here is an image of a giant white sphere sitting on the end of a jetty, as projected onto the side of a giant white sphere destined to be used in a show featuring that very same jetty....meta, meta, meta. Shows up the structures shape a bit more anyway.

So, after all that, I completely abandoned my double dome tent style frame and opted, framewise, for a sort of concertina type design like you find on those paper lanterns. Mostly because it was becoming more and more obvious that moving this thing around and storing it between rehearsals was going to be a bit problematic.  The easier it was to pack it up smallish, the less traumatic my life was going to be over the coming months.

Helen's sewing studio was too small to physically assemble the larger bits of the puppet but luckily Doug Hockly generously gave us the use of his Skylines Gallery space to put it together.

Sadly even this the space was only big enough to get the head half way up.
Curiosity got the better of me after a day or so and I dragged it out the front to see what it looked like.
This is how it looks on the inside . Simey happened to wander past just as I was trying to get it up and was good enough to crawl in there and hold the central pole up long enough for me to get back and have a look at the whole thing from a distance.

Next post, the whole rest of the puppet...

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