Catching Up: Growing a Backbone

(SURPRISINGLY TO ME) Puppet Building has begun in earnest recently (more on that as the next few posts unroll). I bought this tortoise shell on my cross country drive in 1994 for the Torhare character which is a white rabbit with a tortoise's shell that Tarn uses like a horse. I bought it in New Mexico I think for $15. I always thought of using it to cast the character's shell, but it occurred to me to just use this real one and paint it with prettier colors.

I removed the grotty remains of the poor turtle ( you can see the way his spine is part of the shell itself (upper left) as I painted the shell opaque white. I then built up layers of color using finger rubbed chalks (upper right). A jewel-like iridescence was added to that with my special ceramic pearl waxes in lime green and emerald (lower left). The natural veins were made smudge brown via umber chalk after a tone-down with walnut ink solution.

Here the finished shell, ready for the rabbit foam build-up puppet to be made using the pure white rabbit skin bought in New York for the purpose.


  1. thanks, Miss Marcie, Halfland's Official Naturalist!

  2. m_) danzing gerbils, this is amazing!

    m__+ I am working on a turtle puppet and this definitely inspired me enough to ..keep pushing forward to it.

  3. I had to turn the screen away to hide this from Casanova (my tortoise!)


  4. Go for it, Dan!

    Oh, Karima! I'm so sorry! YES, I can completely understand how awful seeing this shell must be. I'm hoping he lived a full life and didn't need the shell anymore. Please convey my sincere regrets to Casanova!

  5. Woww... this shell is really looking fantastic!


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