Tag Archives: puppet

In the Garden or In a Book

28 Apr

illustration from The Children of Green Knowe by Peter Boston, Lucy’s son

The weather has been absolute perfection. I can’t make myself work at the computer though I am behind on all kinds of things. I just want to be outside digging and dreaming up garden art.

Recent inspiration – I am rereading all the Green Knowe books. These were my favorite books as a child.

The sun had not yet pierced the haze of morning. The water was like a looking glass with a faint mist of breath drying off it. The children felt it so bewitching that without even a discussion they turned downstream, drifting silently along, willing to become part of the river if they could. Along the edge of the water ran a ribbon of miniature cliff, the top undulating like the cliffs of Dover, the vertical sides pierced with holes the size of a golf ball. Sometimes the cliff was high enough to show seams of gravel or strata of different soils. Above it willow herb and loosestrife and giant dock heavy with seed rose against the sky, and reflected themselves in the water with an effect like skeleton writing. The canoe seemed to hover between two skies.
The River at Green Knowe, Lucy M. Boston

Lucy Maria Boston merges the natural world, a child’s point of view and wonder of discovery, British history, and the slightly magical/supernatural in a way that touches me deeply. She lived in the 1000 year old house that inspired this series of six middle grade novels. She was an avid gardener and a quilter and she didn’t publish her first book until she was 60 years old, which gives me hope!

It’s magic realism in a similar style to Edward Eager‘s Half-Magic and Seven-Day Magic (oh, I loved loved loved those books too).

I also just finished reading The Night Circus, by Erin Morganstern. More magic realism with a surrealist, steampunk flavor. She is a painter as well as a writer and it shows in her descriptions of the amazing installations and acts of a very unusual circus of the the Victorian age.

The Bull puppets had their debut last weekend at Animalia and looked great. But 90% of my life is currently just about OA emails and OM fundraising. Blech.


White Whale

22 Mar

Towards thee I roll, thou all-destroying but
unconquering whale; to the last I grapple with
thee; from hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s
sake I spit my last breath at thee!

Ahab in Herman Melville’s Moby Dick

Came across this article today Write your White Whale.  His first question grabbed me:

Which idea, of all those swimming inside your brain, are you compelled to pursue the way Ahab was driven to hunt Moby Dick?
Here’s how you know: you’re scared to death of it.

Something I think about in the middle of the night. Glad to be asking the question at least.

I got a (mostly) satisfiying prototype made for the bull head. This is a project for a show called Animalia. It’s a surreal fairy tale with circus arts performers and will be performed at an outdoor amphitheater in late April. Two friends and I are making two very large bull puppets, to be manned by two puppeteers each.

photo 7I tried foam (inspired by my Odyssey of the Mind kids’ endeavors) but a 3′ x 4′ block seemed too heavy for one puppeteer to manuver.  I tried a basketry structure (with reeds and then with wire) but don’t have the skills for that yet, nor the time to learn them before April.  So I called on my old friend cardboard and the work started to flow.

This is card stock. Next step is to make this again, small scale in corrugated plastic. This is the stuff that political yard signs are made of and I now know they sell it at Home Depot in small and large sheets. Once I get the hang of using it and perfect my pattern, it’s time to blow it up big.