Friday, May 8, 2009

Paper Puppets: Mermaid

Mermaid Puppet, paper, stencil board, mini brads, prismacolor, Sharpie marker


Articulated paper figures have been called puppets, maquettes, pantins or dolls. I research, modify and perfect my designs to make them durable, movable and creative. I love to make things move. She has nice little wiggle in her middle.

Although I find this a very successful first attempt, I felt the neck was too short.

Mermaid Puppet, detail

The Mermaid.

The Mermaid is my original blank design cut from oiled stencil board and white cardstock. I cut each piece three times.
Once for the white card, twice for the stencil board.

The stencil board is glued together. When dry, it is finished with layer of white card stock, ready to be drawn upon. Once the layered pieces are dry, they are illustrated. Each part is hand-drawn with Prismacolor pencils and Sharpie markers.

The illustrated pieces are layed out and assembled, using tiny brads to form joints so that the puppets can move.


An old-fashioned board that is fortunately still made. It has changed little over time. Stencil Board is a material used by "old school" sign painters. It is meant to repel inks and paints. It is a card saturated with Linseed Oil and baked. Often three times.

It is a beautiful, durable, crisp board that is very thin and strong. It has a lovely, earthy, mottled complextion and when freshly ordered one can actually smell the Linseed Oil. Stencil board is not generally or popularly used in puppet making or paper arts, but it should be. It is so versatile if you know how to handle it.

I prefer it over chipboard because of it's sharpness and strength despite how thin it is. This is especially attractive to movable projects such as puppets.

Introducing the BLOG

I try to be organized. I really do.
I have boxes, baskets, bags, drawers, bins and shelves galore. I have suitcases, train cases, totes, crates, cigar boxes and tins for every imaginable need.
My world is filled with stuff. Cool stuff. Fun stuff. Dusty stuff. Lots and lots of shiny stuff. Be it fiber, paper, beads, clay or collage, each medium has it's cache.
The great thing about this is that I have at hand many wonderful elements for my own use and to share with students and kids and friends. The down side is that I am challenged constantly for a system that will keep me organized. So far, nothing has cured me of working at a 4X6 area. Perhaps the supplies are a barricade or a nest. I guess it depends on the day.
I bring this up because it is this very desire to organize which has kept me from initiating and continuing a blog. How do I start? Where do I put things? What do I call it? So my ideas and words pile up like the stacks of cut paper that surround my laptop. I have never been organized, nor limited to one art or craft. I have always walked a crooked path. Why do I think it should change now? Follow me on my creative adventure.