In a land far, far away…
and more years ago than I care to recall, I designed and sold soft sculpture puppets. Did it for about 12-13 years, so would be on the premises at school’s day end. It started as something to stop me going crazy, with a small child as my audience, and it died a natural death all on its ownsome.
Still too wobbly on my pins to faff with the would-be dolls house, I’ve been reading, planning and looking at interweb bits and pieces and generally lazing around.
Today I came across a fun item on a blog (jeremiahgraves.wordpress.com) concerning the appearance of children’s toys, citing a particular example received this Christmas, and using it to test out readers’ reaction to the look of the thing. I have to say it gave me the heebie-jeebies and brought to mind the problems there were in designing the faces and general bits and bobs of my mob of puppets so that they might stand a chance of appealing to kids and the folks who buy for kids.
Soft sculpture puppets from the past
I was never that thrilled with the outcomes but they kept me company, out of mischief and, what’s more to the point, made the whole family go through inordinate stresses in travel and setting up at trade shows, without which we would not be the odd folk we are today. They do have a fun aspect so, being at a loose end, I now take the plunge and dare to share.
They were made entirely from fabric, including eyes, noses etc, designed for working one-to-one with a child or for story telling, and were mostly two-handed puppets – by which I mean you needed either both hands or two people to operate all their bits. They had dancing feet. There were also finger puppets in sets for well known stories and rhymes, varying sizes and personality of storage bag and large cushion filled bears and clowns, along with all sorts of weird things I’d decide to make. I remember one which was Charles I after he was beheaded – head tucked underneath his arm and operative as part of the puppet. He still haunts the place somewhere.
The largest range of items was sheep, and here are a few of the old motley crew along with a couple of mice. Sorry; forgot to say, the names are mostly dreadful word-play on an idea or theme.
In these pics, they’re all pinioned to display boards with, in some cases, suitable scenery to set them off.
(Click on the first one and a gallery view will open up with arrows to left and right to move along)