Thursday, January 26, 2012

Kickstarter Preparation- Lantern Brackets Design

So, I need a bracket to hang each lantern on the cart

You'd think I would just whip out some regular old brackets to hang my lanterns from.  

And pass up on a design element? way!  So, Here are some bracket sketches....

Each design with a lantern hanging from it...



yummy nouveau swirl

peacock feather- love

 interesting and too complex

my last sketch and favorite.
 The overall shape frames the lantern perfectly. As well, the foot of the bracket mimics/echoes  the shape of the wheel on the side of the cart. 

Funny, once you cut this little design out there's really nothing to it....will have to find the right material. foam is flimsy...maybe if I layer foam and glue it that will stiffen it. or maybe wood.  will post pics of the finished brackets..maybe even mounted on the cart with lanterns hanging and flickering. excited already!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Kickstarter preparation- Twig logo design

Okay, I want to post about my logo which appears to be an ongoing process.  I really like all of the designs I have come up with and I feel I am getting closer to what I am trying to express..

This was the very first logo several years ago. I have always known there would be some element of Art Nouveau. The space in the middle was to be an abstract illustaration of trees or grasses with a glowing lantern.

Here is my second logo attempt...kept the Art Nouveau lettering. Lost most of the border. Kept the abstract grasses...all scraggly and bent made for a bit of darkness. The "lantern" became a glow emanating from the grasses. I love this design...something mystical hiding in the dark grasses...our illumined beingness.

I elongated the "T" so it looked like the first letter in a giant storybook 

Had so much fun drawing this one

love it in pencil

I played with it in high contrast to see what it looked like as a blockprint (sort of) you get the general sense anyways.

playing with colors

Here it is on the mini cart. I really do love this and also feel it is more like an illustration or mural...rather than an abstract logo. I don't actually even like the word logo. feels 'commercial'. I just want something visual that represents all I'm trying to express...haha! don't want much! no wonder it is an ever evolving process!

Anyhoo..after stewing and brewing for a few weeks this came out....

A moon, crescent.
Twig in the shadow of the moon. Dangling tangle-vine hanging down the right side. quite Art Nouveau. In fact my first real Art Nouveau drawing. (to me!!!) Am very excited to be bringing this art movement into my work. I have felt very passionate about it for sometime. There is a bit of akwardness in the "T" and how it joins with the rest of the letters...will play with that some more.  Process process process! am feeling this design in my chest....I always feel Art Nouveau so viscerally, as if the lines were coursing through my body. like it lots. will work on lettering tonight.

Here is a turn of the century artist that has inspired me very much lately

Margaret MacDonald  Mackintosh

I will post more on the logo as it unfolds.
I am very excited to see how this Art Nouveau stuff makes its way into the actual puppets!
we shall see!

Kickstarter preparation- Mini Art Nouveau Lanterns

These mini lanterns will hang on either side of the miniature puppet cart.

Here is their construction...

This was the first little mock-up...first play with Art Nouveau lines....decide to make window holes smaller and maybe a different cap...although I like the magical mushroom look.

I started with a sheet of Foamie(found at Michaels craft store). Comes in many colors. I played with many window design ideas and settled on Art Nouveau lines. I love love love Art Nouveau and have for many years and can't believe I am finally going to play with it myself in my own project! I will soon post some very inspiring Art Nouveau images and artists.

               Cut pattern out with a blade.

Surprised to see it almost looks like a butterfly in the middle

spray paint brown

Cut clear acetate and frosted tracing paper to adhere to back. If you have frosted acetate how perfect...saves a step!

acetate spray glued on

tracing paper glued to that.

sun shining through...going to be a magical lantern

wrap this around the base of a battery powered candle and you have the perfect size mini lantern

Here they are again . The one on the left has been antiqued with a little burnt sienna(rust) and a little Jamaican sea green (oxidized copper)   The "dots" are also a new addition. I believe these dots may be a continuing theme with the theatre. There is something creature-like, or at least animated that they add to the look.

Here they are both complete with dots and rust. The one on the left is turned and you are viewing it in profile.


flickering Lanterns by night....

KICKSTARTER preparation- Twig Theatre Project

Twig Theatre has been in developement for some time now.   Financial restraints have been part of the reason but when all is said and just wasn't time. Not sure how to explain this ...the creative process(and creating a project) is such a strange interesting thing. It happens or it doesn't. There are things you can do to help it along, however until its truly ready to come out it will just meander all over the place. It doesn't play by any rules..... And I'm not the type to push and barrel thru.

 I have sought to honor this process, although, i must say, it has been quite disheartening at times. In fact, as of this spring...I gave it all up. All my plans with puppets... I said 'to hell with it' . I'm tired of all the efforting to manifest something that doesn't seem to want/need to manifest. So, even though I felt it my gift I just relinquished.. I surrendered completely any control over this manifestation. There was even a mourning process because I was prepared to not look back. It had been a painful process pushing something which doesn't want to be pushed. So I stopped. This felt like the last straw for me. I was still struggling with some long term health issues. I didn't have a career, a house or anything like that to " lose". The puppetry was it...the last major(obvious!) identities I was clinging to.... so I gave it up. I was scared, yes, what would I do if I couldn't even manifest what my gift was? I ,at least, remained curious about this.

 Then, ironically(or not) over the last several months I noticed some intense shifts in my energy and vitality.  And one morning to my surprise and delight I awoke, rubbed my eyes, scratched me bum,  and a voice announced in my head. said...'Heidi it's time!  It's time to launch Twig Theatre as a Kickstarter project!" ""  I heard myself exclaim. "Is this it? is it time?"

 It appears so. TWIG theatre project seems to have a momentum of its own now and I am really excited.  Okay! I guess I'm back on board. And I'm not having to "work" at it so is WANTING to come through me and manifest. was it the surrendering? was it just the right time? I don't know. I don't know . I don't know, but here i go.

As you may know Kickstarter is a funding platform for artists and their projects. You passionately pitch your project so as to inspire others to want to be involved. If individuals are moved to support you they donate funds to your project and in return you not only include them in the creation process, you also give them cool interesting rewards that are connected to your project.

So, my kickstarter Project will be two fold....the creation of the physical theatre/cart AND the creation of a puppet and short performance.  The cart needs 2 speakers, 2 - 24" handmade amish wagon wheels, 2 lanterns and further decorative touches to be complete. My vision for the performance is a mystical nightime piece with illuminated props , a Shaman puppet and other little beings and creatures that glow, fly and invoke magicalness!. It will be an exploration of our primal earthy nature.  healing. the inner healer. our resources...our inner shaman.

In an effort to be creative with my project pitch I have decided to build a miniature of the whole thing.... theatre, props and puppets so as to give the viewer, the funding angel, a feel of what it is I am trying to create. I will shoot the miniature scene as if a performance is just about to happen ... my intention is to invoke the feeling of a mystical otherworld.

I hope to launch my kickstarter sometime in March!
I thought I would start by sharing the miniature theatre with you.

 As you may have seen in the blog entry  "mobile puppet theatre aka twig gypsy cart"  the Twig Theatre is a 5 foot tall wooden cart. It will house the puppets as well as act as stage and carrying box for sound system and other props. you can see the half finished full size cart here:

Here is the mini mock-up it is about 12 inches tall.


Here it is with the doors open. This is "back stage". Here, I will put the puppet on and then step out from behind to reveal to the audience.

There are 3 compartments with curtains that hold puppets and props. The top compartment holds the amp and ac/dc converter. The compartment with the door will lock and hold personal belongings. there are two shelves below that for my sandwhich board, two folding chairs, an extension cord and my puppet first aid kit!

Here is the "front" or audience side of the cart. This logo is in process.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Video performance of Little Man Monk!

This is a performance that took place at a Valentines celebration in 2011.
Even thought it looks fairly low light on video it was much brighter 'in person'. As soon as I figure out what happened with youtubes new uplink to Google(arg) I will Embed the video here. until then.....

I was pleased with the performance. It is always so interesting to perform. It IS much like a meditation. Moving with the flow of what is happening...not with what you had planned!! The two amazing musicians put their sounds together in a 5 minutes rehearsal. so  lovely.
my only critique is to keep working on his hands. Actually his wrists....I would like to have wrist movement so there isn't so much stiffness to his gestures.  

Much Thank you to Serge Gubelman (cinematographer)
Patrick Baker(throat singer)
Christopher of the Wolves (musician in back)
 Scott Robinson (coordinator of event) and
of course, Heather Pendergast, my sister, the other puppeteer (on his right)

Little Man Monks moving hands/ fingers

I wish I had documented more of the hand and arm making process. It was the most difficult, stumbling time, consuming aspect of Little Man. The chunk of foam done in days. The hands and arms ...many redos over weeks and weeks.

Here is the first arm I built. I knew I wanted at least the wrist to move. I watched a step-by-step tutorial online. Here is the tutorial I used:


I can't remember why I didn't stay with this design..I seem to remember it working quite well.

So then I built my own wrist movement mechanism. It involed two tubes one seated inside the other, the length of his forearm. The outer tube(plastic pvc) had a slit in it about an inch and a half long and the inner tube(aluminum) had a pin in it that fit in the slit of the outer tube so that it slid up and down inide the outer tube. Still with me? I then used a spring at the wrist to create an uppull on the inner tube and to pull the wrist down. So, as my hand hoeld the rod at the end of the forearm I only had to pull down on the pin (sliding it to its bottom parameter) to cause the inner tube to slide down pulling up on the wrist/hand. 

This was his right arm.
 His left arm I wanted to have finger movement and be able to pick up small objects. I was amazed whan I saw a puppet performance by Beau Bond a Seattle-based puppeteer. His puppets were small and his finger movements exquisite. So I referenced his hand control mechanism, which you can see below. 

The toggle I have my thumb on is a fixed piece of hanger wire seated into a rotating dowel. Pulling down on the mechanism pulls the strings running throught the 3 tiny tubes and closes the hand. Pretty amazing and not that tough to build

The thumb is fixed as leverage for the fingers to have something to grip against and yes that IS mini measuring tape you are seeing as fingers...i couldn't find anything else that worked. I spoke with a puppet friend of mine (Fred Fraleigh, creature suit fabricator for film)) and he said he once heard of someone using measuring tape metal for fingers. So I tried it and it worked amazingly well!  It is strong yet easily flexible and has spring-back to it. The perfect combo.
I eventually made both of his arms/hands this way. so, the fingers on both hands can pick up small objects or scratch his ear. I really like the element it adds. Now to just figure out how to move his fingers AND his wrist so that his wrists aren't  fixed and stiff. Workin on that!

Little Man Monk inspiration and creation

Little Man was inspired by an inkling of an idea.....of dueling stories. Sacred and "non-sacred"...the holy and the taboo.  more on that part in a bit!

The creation part......I had an idea of his general nature and movement. I looked for references (faces) of people who I felt embodied this beingness...a certain sweetness, an accessability, something a little creature-like. 

These Tibetan people (or at least the photos of them in this moment) held the essence of what  I was looking for.

I like the assymetry in her face right here. Is she grimacing,  smiling, or just content?  Its just a little ambiguous and I like that. Leaves more for the viewer to project. I see the sweet creature-being in her.  Just what I was feeling for Little Man...Something to take him a bit out of the human realm and yet not too much.

dear sweet face, gentle, kind eyes.

My sister Olivia (Holly) Pendergast did the design drawings of Little Man Monk. These drawings would be what I used to build Little Man.... 

I used a little bit of all of them. The top two are a little bit Gandhi looking...A little more Indian looking.

...A few more

Basically I started with a square piece of "couch" foam.  A cube. I drew his profile on either side of the cube and approximated his eye, nose and mouth position on the front. I tell you....I don't know how I did this in one try. I was quite shocked with the results. It felt as though something came through me and already knew how to do this. I don't know what that means but that was my experience. I just started to cut away at the cube of foam with a pairt of scissors. I used a blade a bit but mostly scissors. 

His eyes were a little too difficult to cut so I just did them separately.  I paper mached over a small ball. two half moons....when they dried I popped them off the balls and painted them a dark green(almost black), added some yellow accents and some clear gloss nail polish to make them look wet and alive.

I did not want a "pupil"... it makes the gaze too penetrating.  i wanted a gentler looking.  Otherworldly was what I was going for...I did have a few people think he was actually an alien (not sure how with the robes, Mala beads and all but that is what they experienced.)  I'm sure if he had humany puples he wouldn't be seen as alien. There is a balance in there somewhere. maybe I have found it ...maybe more exploration

His body I began some time before I even got to his head....
It was crudish but worked. I ended up keeping the same framework (pvc pipe) and just refining some of the joints

I tried and tried to come up with a way to attach my shoes to the back of his shoes but every attempt led to complication, awkwardness and loss of control of his movements.  I eventually arrived at the simplest solution after loads of sweating and cranial exertion....I cut his shoes open in the back and I stick my toes in! 3 toes to be exact...allows me to grip. it is easy...he then can go from sitting meditation to walking without too much gadget interference.

I must tell you a secret now.....
 Little Man Monks true inspiration came from none other than this person....

tehe  :)

Can you see the influence?!

It began for me after watching two different biography/interviews with Britney. One was a heartfelt seemingly honest look into a persons life with Barbara Walters (i think) and the other was like a "Star Magazine" trashy biography; same person portrayed very differently.   I was struck how we label others and ourselves. And how quickly something sticks and "becomes us".  Or I should say we believe ourselves to be this thing. Mind is pretty gullible this way.

Then I had the thought of an individual who is considered sacred or holy, such as a Monk....and what if this Monk did something somewhat out of character...such as dance and grind his hips? Would we suddenly think less of this individual? Would we close our mind, our heart? ...would we make generalizations about Monks or Buddhism or religion in general? Would we question this means of expression? Is the expression of a Whirling Dervish more sacred and more divine that Britneys expression....who decides where this begins and ends? 

Maybe seeing a monk shake his hips would make for an opening....and in this opening would be a questioning of inquiry into how easily we sum up our experience ....what is the divine?  maybe everything is an expression of the ONE. Just playing with duality here.

  Mostly I think people experience his dancing as amusing and sweet ( I mean he twitches his hips but he doesn't grab his junk or anything!)  I'm okay with that (with it being interpreted as funny sweet) I'm not out for a is mostly something I was exploring for myself.  Thought it would be interesting to share how I arrived with Little Man at my side.