All the work we’ve put in the last four weeks(!) is finally paying off into tangible puppets!

After a couple evenings work I’ve flushed out 8 feet (giving us a few for back-ups) allowing the puppets to stand, even without using the tie downs!

On top of that our three groups who are producing the television channels (shorts w/in a short) have been showing considerable progress over the past week and we’re both very excited to see how their shorts come together.

Sam has been building up the bodies of the puppets even more, which means that I can now start working on their costuming. I’ve picked out some great fabrics which will fit within the color scheme I’ve been imagining (salmon pink/aqua/light purple) and have sketched out some of the initial designs for the costumes (photos soon!).

Nathan has been working on building the stages and foundations for our two sets.

The goal is to try and pull all these elements together so that we can start our animation on Feb. 5.

The biggest challenge facing us now is getting our armatures for the arms and heads floated correctly with in our mold (no wires sticking out). So far we’ve been unsuccessful (though really really close). The problem with this is the 5+ hour wait time before we know if it was floated right — so the guess & check process moves very slowly.

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Through these past couple weeks we just have to remember — the process is the point — the process is the point – the process is the point—

— and no matter what… Don’t Panic!

Andrea and I have been pushing through production of all of our puppets. Somehow I grossly underestimated the work it would take to make four, full sized silicone puppets and armatures. Last year, we had two and it took a ton of time so I should have known what was coming when I doubled the number of puppets to be produced. Not to mention, this year it is up to Andrea and I to do all parts of the process and much of this is very new to us. Last year, Matt (who co-directed The Treeshaker’s Worry) made the armatures while I handled the molds but now Andrea and I have had to team up to figure out everything ourselves. I must say that I am proud of what we have pulled off so far, as failure ridden as the process has been.

At the end of the day today, I poured what I hope will be a successful pour of a hand for one of our puppets. I know that it sounds simple and I am sure that it would be for some, however, the size of the hand and how tightly the armature fits within this makes it a pretty tough thing to do successfully. I had the the thought today that painting on the first layers of silicone in the mold and then letting those layers set up completely before laying the armature within it would ensure no part of the armature would be visible or sticking out. So that’s what I tried but we won’t know if it worked until tomorrow morning and we pull the mold apart. FINGERS CROSSED, knock wood, all of that. This is the most drawn out trial and error experimentation I have ever done. But, as the title of this post reminds me, the process is the point.

Good things: Nathan is making good progress on our two sets, including an adorable apartment door complete with mail slot and peep hole (pictures to come). Andrea secured a second computer from the @lab, which will allow the students working with us to animate their pieces on a separate station. Also on a high note, animator Justin Kohn will be coming to Ohio University the first weekend in February and will be running various workshops and doing a presentation/question and answer session one night during the week. This is an incredible opportunity and I will be sure to keep everyone posted on details about his visit. When I know the date of his presentation, I will let all of you know and anyone who is interested in coming to his workshops, please just let me know! We want to make the most of his time here, so the more the merrier.

Considering I am writing this to postpone studying for a financial management test I have in the morning, I will wrap it up now. But progress is slow and steady, good things are happening often enough, and if you want more information of Justin Kohn’s visit, please just let me know. Pictures soon!

-Sam

We’ve been pushing forward with our puppets.

We”ve completed three molds – with three nearly done.

We hope by the end of the night we’ll have six molds, leaving only two left!

Along with that we’ve been continuing work on our armatures, we have the very base design of the wire armature completed and are working on the attachments for the arms, legs and head as well as building up their bones.

Here’s the first batch, unfortunately their arms are a little two short for what we want but good practice nonetheless — and an added decoration to our studio space.

So having finished a marathon weekend of trial and error, which was greatly a weekend of error, Andrea and I had a few successes. We are in the mold making process and this is a very time consuming, precise and tricky part of production made even more difficult by a few factors: 1.) Andrea and I are what I would label as “messers”, and it takes everything we have to not “mess” with the molds before they are completely set up. This is a lesson that has now been cemented into our minds, though, and I don’t see this being a problem anymore. 2.) we are trying to make silicone molds for silicone puppets. This is very tricky because the silicone wants to adhere to itself, so without proper application of a release agent, a spray that creates a barrier on the surface of the silicone so that it will not fuse with the new silicone, there is the potential of ruining your mold as well as what you were pouring into it.

So failure after failure, Andrea and I finally got things together last night and have many of our molds underway. That means pouring them tonight and having puppets sometime this week! Next battle: ball and socket armature.. We’ll keep you posted.

-Sam

AAAAND….. WE’RE OFF!

A new year and a new mess at our studio space.

Sam and I have been in a puppet making frenzy over the last couple days, with still more to do. We’ve made a pretty good start — making the base of the wire armature’s for the aerobics girls as well as making molds of their hands and head.

Still to go… ball and socket armature for our couch potato (an intimidating task!) and building up the aerobics girls puppets — building up their bones with epoxy, then snipping some foam for their torsos. Not to mention crossing our fingers that our molds set right, and plugging in three heads of hair — and of course costuming!

-Andrea

First post! We’re so excited about starting this project. Yesterday we went over our exact sequencing of events, and over the next 4-5 weeks we will begin the fabrication of our sets, costumes, and puppets. Starting in January we hope to begin animation. So stay tuned for more updates, posts, pictures, and teasers!