A very exciting opportunity, I was commissioned to build two puppets for Australian charity SIDS and kids, a very well respected organisation who have been around for over 30 years. The below image was the guide I was given when building the puppets. The costumes scared the pants of me so I enlisted my good friend and talented designer Elissa Hullah (see http://elissahullah.tumblr.com/) to tackle their costumes while I set to work on the puppets. Certainly one of the most challenging jobs I have yet undertaken, I sought inspiration and advice from friend and established Sydney puppeteer Kay Yasugi (see http://www.digitalseagull.com/). Kay gave me the simple but excellent advice to use doll eyes for the pupil and cornea. This proved amazingly beneficial as not only did the reflective quality create the illusion of depth, the colored corneas instantly brightened their faces in comparison to my previous puppets. The building process gave me the chance to experiment with new facial shapes and continue to practice my hand sewing; which though is still not quite seamless has improved in leaps and bounds! The puppets turned out great (see the Gallery for photos) and were the beginning phase to what would become an even bigger project!
The staff at SIDS were very satisfied with my work and invited me to a meeting to discuss the program the puppets will be used for. I had made sure to tell them I also work as a puppeteer and so was intrigued and excited at the possibility of working with these puppets I had grown so attached to. The program is called "The Red Bag Superstars" or "Red Nose goes Green". It is a program focused on collecting donations of re-usable goods to raise money, and also raise awareness about recycling. The puppets will star in a touring schools program, presenting at different schools, teaching kids about recycling and encouraging them to donate goods to SIDS.
After a long meeting looking at the ins and outs of the program, I was hired! I would help develop the program, develop a script and the presentation and perform within the program up until I leave for the UK at which time I will pass my performing duties on to another capable puppeteer. As their are two characters I was asked to find a suitable male counterpart and consequently hired friend and talented puppeteer Drew Belsten.
Drew and I are now deep in development and will have our first school performance in April. I will keep the blog updated with how it all goes!