Inspirations and how to cope with them

Having been invited to join in with the Puppet Challenge, I am rather embarrassed by the lack of work I have managed to produce so far.  I have worked mainly on 2d paper puppets that are animated using the stop motion method.  This has been frustrating and joyful in equal measure.  The painting of Bloduedd as an owl was satisfying; creating the movement was a challenge but in the end I felt generally pleased overall.  Where it has been knuckle-clenching-ly frustrating has been in the quality of the final images. The shadows on the board caused massive problems with the green screen effects
The shadows on the board caused massive problems with the green screen effects

Even with Tim’s Canon Digital SLR the frames are very grainy; add to that the limitations of the software and my ability to use it the overall finish has not matched what is in my head.

Then there was the hiatus caused by school.  Working in year 6 of an inner city primary comes with time challenges that are sometimes overwhelming.  The needs of the children, and the school, are such that most evenings and weekends are spent working, marking and assessing.  What free time there is then belongs to family first.  So 6 weeks of school effectively paused any participation in the challenge.  What I was able to do was follow the brilliant work put up by the others taking part;  take a look for yourselves.

After that there was the small issue of an unfinished dragon, promised to the boys after they had seen the Hobbit part two.

Balance achieved with the essential addition of the tail.
Balance achieved with the essential addition of the tail.

As a result Smaug took over the work desk and ate up what little free time I have.  Even though dragons are dominating the table they are not quite overtaking my head, there are puppets there still, most particularly Bloduedd. I plan a move from 2 to 3 dimensions and this is where the posts title comes into play.

I am an avid follower of a number of artists’ blogs, Twitter feeds and Facebook pages.  Their sharing fills in the gaps when work overtakes;  their art provides inspiration and provokes thought and they act as a daily reminder that there is more to life than school.  Recently inspiration has come from two of these sources:  Rima Staines’ Hermitage and Nomi McLeod’s Air and Parchment.  The first pricking of ideas came from the recent posting for the Puppet Challenge by Nomi.  Her beautiful puppet is a work in progress, a process which I found very interesting as she offered a solution to a problem I have encountered when needle felting rod puppets.

My first needle felted rod puppet.  The body of which caused a major headache
My first needle felted rod puppet. The body of which caused a major headache

She shows the naked form and use of carved foam for creating the body shape. This offers such a neat solution to the bulking of a body in a felted puppet, the amount of wool needed, the weight and problems to achieve the same effect is prohibitive in so many ways.  Felting over a carved foam base offers so much potential and I can only thank Nomi for setting a train in though in motion.   Imaginings of Bloduedd turning into the owl are stirring and she was beginning to solidify in my thoughts.  I was problem solving ways of creating bulk, adding wings, making felt, adding the rods and …

….at this point I took a huge pull on the reins of thought.  I could see Bloduedd so clearly in my head, I knew just what she would look like, how she would move, where she would spread her wings.  She was so clear, so naggingly familiar, I knew I had seen her before.  Indeed I had, the Bloduedd in my head is not mine – not exactly – she is one of Rima’s creations.  You see: inspirations!  They come from  the oddest corners of the memory.  Slova Sova is the image I have been creating in my head.  However, though it is undeniably inspirational, she is not my image, she belongs to another.  So there is the rub.

I still want very much to make Bloduedd at the point she is transformed into the owl.  I want here to be a three dimensional puppet with rods for manipulation.  She will be made out of felt and foam, as I have envisaged.  But she needs to shake off the mantle of Slova, no matter how beautiful and clothe herself from my imagination instead.

I give grateful thanks to the artists who share their work and ideas, I will use their imagery as a springboard and now will rise to the challenge of makings of my own.  The ghosts of others will sit on Bloduedd’s shoulders but I hope to make her a homage rather than copy.



After an afternoon of playing with ideas I think I have banished Slova and invited Bloduedd in.

The point of transformation
The point of transformation

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