So, my 'Alice' Project has begun....and progressed thus far. One of my resolutions last year, or rather, goals was to do the projects that I never had time for. One was a to create a Marionette puppet. I have been totally enthralled with The Magical Marionette Theatre , a blog by a fellow miniaturist Patricia Cabrera of Wooley Tales Miniatures. It is simply stunning, how she and her family built and created a puppet theatre, that looks as though it stepped from the movie Sound of Music. Remember the part where Julie Andrews and the Von Trapp children perform a puppet show for their family? That was one of my favorite parts of the movie, 'One Little girl and a little goatherd, yoda lady yoda lady yoo-hoo...' lol. So I decided that I would try , at least try to create a marionette this year. It turned into an obsession. First, I researched many links on google and watched many marionette shows on YouTube to figure out how they were strung, made, and moved.
When I began sculpting, I originally wanted to create Alice, who I thought may be more simpler and I had the blue silk in my stash. I wished to base my marionettes on the Tim Burton movie, which seems more realistic as Alice is grown and doesn't really remember Underland, so therefore thinks it is a dream. But then the Hatter came out of my head and onto the clay. I must admit for several days I was stumped as to who exactly I had sculpted. When I began sanding and smoothing, it then hit me I had the bones of the hatter's facial features, which came together with paint and sanding. I have already ordered his orange mohair for his wig and eyebrows from Etsy. I am thinking of using a pair of bjd boots for dolls that I have seen on Ebay, which will be on his feet.
So far, here is my progress....
So far, so good. I have been rather ingenious as I have not been able to carve the marionette's body out of wood, as most marionettes have wood bodies. Patricia had all of hers carved from wood and used resin and polymer clays to make the head and hands. I have seen some work of Japanese miniaturists who used La Doll and it is finally available here in the USA, which I got at Michael's. The torso is made of a block of styrofoam, carved to fit the size. His arms are a reynolds wrap form around wire, wrapped with masking tape, and covered with clay. The wires are looped at the joints and the puppet will be strung when he's fully dressed. I will probably order the shoes and start working on his thighs and legs while waiting for the boots to come. I already have a top hat to customize. I do not want to start on another puppet/marionette until I fully finish this one, and must admit working on this is fun!I could not believe that the Hatter's makeup came out so perfect like in the picture, I am usually not very good at sculpting or painting eyes...unless the character is 'mad as a hatter'...lol.Since the Hatter is the first character that 'jumped' out of my head, I am mostly waiting for the next Alice in Wonderland character to fall out of my imagination and into the clay. I have already thought of how I would do the tea scene and the scale of the characters would be 1:4 scale in doll scale, as I have some perfect large pieces that would do well with puppets. Alice will be pretty complex, as there will have to be multiple Alices, since she grows and shrinks. Hopefully the Knave or one of the queens will pop out of my head. No deadlines on this one, since this creation is going so well!
Have a Frabjous Day!