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.