How to Make a Puppet

October 17, 2010

To begin a puppet, Francesca ties and glues a few elements together, to examine the interplay of qualities-shape, color, and texture, in their forms. If this initial construct appears as segment of a face or figure, she starts painting on layers of white glue to strengthen the structure and unify the surface. She incorporates wood, metal and found objects to build an armature, attaching joints where she wants the figure to move. She combines textiles, tissue paper, and other mesh and screen materials to form a figure, embedding natural and artificial elements to emphasize aspects of its character.
When one character seems to require another to help tell its story, she begins making it as well. She likes to work on a set of figures together to explore their dramatic potential. She builds a scene for their encounter, combining found objects and materials to understand their physical and symbolic relationships. She manipulates the puppets to learn their potential for voice and movement. By degrees, the characters determine their own dialogue as a segment of their story. She fixes these puppets into position in the scene to show their relationship to each other and attaches a text to explain their predicament. To present an installation, she tries to state a situation with which the audience can identify. When appropriate she asks these people to participate as well, to manipulate a puppet or contribute sections of the dialogue, to reflect on their own experience.

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