Monday, September 18, 2006
Day 16 - THE ULTIMATE DAY AT LAST!!! and wrapping wrists
Tom is our model tonight. He's demonstrating the handy-dandy wrist-wrap method, so good for those liquid latex buildup puppets. This is a little technique I first saw used in Dan Anderson's Mirror Monster puppet, and then Grant used the same technique for his Vitruvius puppets. The idea is to fill in the empty space between forearm and hand with wrapped string and then cover that with liquid latex. I'm using a special method that allows the ends of the string to be tucked away down inside for neatness' sake. You start by making a loop as shown in the first pic, which you hold in place with one hand while you wrap string - loosely around and around the wrist with the other.
I'm using a nice soft string Shelley sent me as part of a fantastic and incredibly useful fabrication kit for my birthday a few months ago (thanks Shellsies!). It's cotton, which makes it a bit absorbent... that might soak up some latex and end up being a bit stiff, but it's a soft string that will move much more freely than a hard thread. I tried an even thicker nylon wrapping string, which wouldn't absorb latex, but it was too thick and lumpy and I couldn't get a nice wrist shape with it. So I tore it off and went back to cotton - the fabric of our lives. Wrap until you have the shape you want... pay close attention to what's happening, and sometimes you might have to back off a few wrappings and re-do them to fill in an area or to bring down an area that's wrapped too high. When you're done, tuck the end through the loop as demonstrated in the second pic.
Then pull the first end of the string, the one emerging from under all the wrappings. This will pull the end down inside, where it's out of sight and out of mind, and you don't have to worry about how to tie it off or glue it down. Then simply snip off both ends as close as possible.
You know... if I had all these puppets to do over again, there are so many things I'd do differently in hindsight. I completely overengineered these armatures. Since I ended up building the forearms out of epoxy putty anyway, there was no need to do all that intricate thread wrapping and nail cutting way back at the beginning... the stuff that was the hardest to do and that my hands have only recently recovered from! But ya live and ya learn, right? Next time I'll know... next time.....