Thursday, April 7, 2011

The curious child part 1

This is another large project the will end up being a two part post. The goal is a ventriloquist dummy style puppet. The puppet is one of a group of characters called "the little ones" (more on the rest of them in another post). He needed to be able to move his head, have a working jaw and usable hands. The puppeteer needed to be easily visible behind the curious child and she needed to be able to take the rig on and off quickly and easily.
The head is paper mache over a cheap inflatable soccer ball, which I will explain in detail in part two. In this post I will be explaining the framework of the body.
The hands were made out of Sculpey bakable clay. Before putting them in the oven I added screw eyes into the wrists to attach the hands to the arms, and straightened out some wire hangers to serve as the rods for the puppeteer.
The arms were made of chain with hollow ethe-foam (sold in hardware stores as pipe insulation) to make the appropriate parts of the arm rigid.
Once the arms were assembled they were attached to a wooden plank shoulder/collar bone.
Also attached to the shoulder plate are two dowel rods that support the weight of the puppet freeing up the hands of the puppeteer.
The support dowel rods fit easily into PVC cups that are bolted to the puppeteer's belt. The rig allows her to quickly remove the puppet, then complete a quick change while leaving the belt on underneath.

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