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Working on Kermit’s Body

I’m almost done Kermit…well, not quite…I still have to pick the seams, glue down the eyes, make and attach the arms…yadam yada, yada… 🙂

I swore (sometime ago) that I would never build a Muppet replica for myself…”Why build a character that belongs to someone else? When I can focus my time and money on my own characters?”…Well, let me just say that doing this project has changed my approach to puppet building-I have learned a great deal!

Even though Kermit looks simple everything about him is a calculated piece of art. The natural placement of your fingers inside Kermit’s head allows you to know where the characters eyeline is at all times; since the positioning of your middle finger is perfectly in-line with the center of the frogs face. The Positioning of yourfingers also emotes totally different emotions. With just subtle placement of your fingers Kermit can go from a happy go lucky frog to a miserable toad 🙂 Everything about this character is subtle, and if not done correctly can produce a totally different outcome.

Kermit has forced me to build in a different type of style- with materials that I usually avoid because of how temperamental they are. It took me about an hour to cut one of Kermit’s black pupils out of felt. It is so hard to get a clean black line when you know will be contrasted against a white dome eye. It has to be done perfectly or it will display flaws, like uneven cuts etc.

Trying to get it to look close to the original is a huge challenge and has caused me to think out of the box a number of times. Usually if I make a mistake on a puppet, I’ll chalk it up as a learning experience and not too many people will take notice. But almost everyone has grown up with Kermit and knows how he is suppose to look. All his features must be correct or the whole puppet won’t work.

Kermit has required me to search through books and use online reference pictures. It is facinating to see how Kermit had blossumed through the years as Henson’s puppet builders developed the artform. Kermit started out as a hand puppet made from Jim Henson’s mother’s coat and evolved into a puppet that includes materials and processes that were highly researched- and only recently made available partly do to the internet.

Although I’ve not completed Kermit, I think he is one of the best puppets I’ve made and I will definately be using what I learned for my furture projects.

Swazzle’s “Dream Carver”

The fantastic company of Swazzle is presently working on a musical called “The Dream Carver” a 45-minute bilingual, musical puppet show based on the children’s book by Diana Cohn and illustrated by Amy Cordova. The play is for the Orange County Performing Arts Center.

Presently, they are posting pictures and videos of rehearsals on their Facebook site! Amazing stuff!

The World of Puppeteers Unite!

Here is a recent map of the traffic Puppeteers Unite! gets according to Google Analytics….where are you?  

It is the first time I used Google Analytics and was amazed to see the amount of traffic we are receiving. I’m also proud to supply puppet information to people around the world! Thank you for visiting! Come again!

The Hazelle Factory

The Hazelle Company in Kansas City was a company which manufactured beautiful marionettes and one of the few in the depression era that was owned by a woman- Hazelle H. Rollins. Here is a great video short of this fantastic historic woman and the company she founded.

Muppet Cupcakes

Sisters Mandy and Caroline of Cupcake Occasions say they were initially hired to create the cup cakes for a wedding last year. When the cupcakes were posed online, they instantly became a hit.

To produce a box of 12 cupcakes it takes an entire day at a price of £5 each.  I wonder if they taste as good as they look. MMMmmmmmm!

Puppet Slam: One Night Slam

All during 2011- Unraku (located in Toronto, Ontario) will be hosting “One Night Slam” an ongoing series of puppet slams! This trend of adult entertainment will be held at different locations throughout Toronto and the greater Toronto area.

The first One Night Slam takes place this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and will include work by The Bricoteer Puppetry Project, Quality Slippers Productions, Banjo Puppets, Applefun Puppetry, and Unraku
Admission is a suggested $10 but is a “Pay what you want” type event.  As an audience member you will be treated to not only the best puppetry ever, but admission also includes free drinks and snacks during the show. There will also be a small puppet market where puppet builders can buy and sell their wares.

To get all the details sign up to attend One Night Slam on Facebook.

Puppet Slam: Frozen Strings

Winnipeg’s Third Annual Puppet Slam event is happening at the Gas Station Theatre on January 31.

Heather Henson performed at Winnipeg’s first puppet slam in July, making the show a huge hit and encouraging local performers to put on a puppet slam — a variety show for adults where various artists perform various puppet works.
This month’s event will feature live music by the Secondhandpants and new works by 6, Adhere and Deny, Jazz on a String, The Wishweweres, Prominent Chin, X, and Jeannine DesRoches.

Tickets to Frozen Strings Puppet Slam are $10 and can be purchased at WinnipegPuppetSlam.com, or at the door. Doors open at 7 p.m. The show starts at 8 p.m.