Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Arm=a=Her

How can this armature fit this oddly shaped puppet so completely perfectly?! My jaw dropped. Then I got to work. I wrapped the entire thing in Teflon tape (the plumbing kind) very thin and stretchy. Followed that with a total layer of white floral tape (stem wrap) also very thin WAXY and stretchy. Then I went over every joint with ultra thin and stretchy German sports wrap (by Mueller found at a sporting goods shop) and then back over all the bones with more floral tape to neaten it up and keep it close.
Then I whipped out the expensive 3M Health care foam adhesive bandaging, adheres well, is moldable and extremely elastic, and wrapped it over all the joints again to make them more durable yet still flexible. Lastly, I sewed black elastic sports wrap over the four limbs. I added Rana's hands and arms to the armature in preparation of further build out into the sculpt shape.

These six layers will hopefully protect the armature from getting gunked up with any materials I may pour into the cast paper "skin" of the character. And in the event an area of it need surgery, I can easily slice through these materials to get down to the bones for repairs.

I turned the feet in such as way as to imitate the attitude of goat hooves, which utterly worked with the exception of the tie down hole ending up at an angle. The finished and costumed puppet will be quite heavy and I'll be asking a lot of these two little holes at an angle. But to tell you the truth, I'll make it work. Rana sits a lot and her hooves don't need to show from under her long skirts much during her walks.


My friend and Halfland Hero, Dick Kaneshiro, generously gave me his handmade Tom Brierton-style 14" steel armature five years ago to use for this film. I knew it was a big-hearted thing he was doing, not only because these armatures are very costly, but also because this was something he made for himself and took a great deal of time/effort to make. I wasn't certain I could use it as I wouldn't have the ability to alter it's proportion to fit my pupps. But...

This week, when I actually took it down from its base and started moving it around, I found the most remarkable thing. It fit the Rana puppet as if it were made for her! How is this even possible??! I just reversed some of the directions of the dowel/swivel type joints to approximate a half old woman half goat situation and--BOOM. Rana. The waist and wrists are even ball and socket!

I thanked him once again profusely, and tried to pay him something for it now that I'm getting to use it. But he refused to take anything. Like I said, a Halfland Hero. THANK YOU AGAIN, DICK!

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