…this might be time for that obligatory New Years post about how good/bad 2015 was to me. It was Great! The kids have made tremendous strides toward becoming wonderful adults; the wife has found her zen; and the company (Clothespin Puppets) has grown by leaps and bounds. This past year was a really good one for us – and we are uber confident that next year will bring greater rewards (or at least equal rewards).
A couple of years ago I had announced that I was working on a new puppet show based on the kids’ book Parts by Tedd Arnold. I know, I know, two years is way too long to be working on short-form puppet show, but the truth of the matter is I wanted these puppets to do so much that I couldn’t figure out how to build them. Let me explain:
Parts is a great little book about how a young boy starts to panic when weird things start to happen to his body. There’s fuzz in his belly button, his toes are peeling, and something just fell out of his nose. The last straw is a loose tooth, which convinces him of the awful truth, he is coming unglued! Parts deals with a subject of deepest interest to every young child: the stuff our bodies shed. In my mind the puppet needs to shed ALL the things the boy sheds in the book – hair, teeth, snot, arms, ears, eyes, skin, earwax. And once all of these things have been shed, they need to be reset onto the puppet for another show. I’ve tried to built this guy several times using various methods: papier mache over a balloon, giant plastic easter eggs, hollow sculpt upholstery foam balls. Nothing worked so this project has been shelved for a while.
Now, fast forward to this year when we adapted a great little book called Here Comes Santa Cat by Deborah Underwood and Claudia Rueba. This is a great little book about Cat who has a hunch he’s not on Santa’s “nice” list. Which, of course means no presents for Cat. So he tries to be good, but folks just aren’t ready, it seems, for his brand of gift-giving. We performed this gem a couple of times over the holiday season and it turned out to be a great success.
The cat puppet we built for this show is rather elaborate. The head contains a unique mech that makes Cat’s mouth appear to open and close, as well as mechs that raise and lower the eyebrows. I designed and built this guy fairly quickly because nothing motivates better than a deadline to perform with something you haven’t built yet. Before the final performance of the season, Maggie (my daughter and performing partner) was holding the Cat puppet and, out of nowhere, asked about Parts. A serendipitous event; a few memory flashes; and a serious “A-HA” moment happened in a nanosecond. The methods I used to build Cat will work perfectly for Parts! O.M.G!!
So, needless to say, I’m pretty excited about getting back to working on Parts. One of my New Years resolutions is to be a better blogger, so hopefully you will be seeing some pictures of the Parts build in the near future.
I also got a Hobby Lobby gift card for Christmas from my sister-in-law. Yeah, free materials.