Funded! This project was successfully funded on December 2, 2012.

Update #48

Jigbone bits and pieces

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Ok, so a small quicky update. In the previous Jigbone post I took apart his shoddy shoulders and made new ones out of SuperSculpey to match his pelvis....

 Here are the shoulders re-attached to the spine and pelvis. I spliced the wire at the top to give the shoulders more stability and to allow his head to have its own swivel joint (rather than running the same wire all the way up to his head like I had before)

 With each rebuild it gets better and stronger and I learn more and more. The best puppet school I suppose one could go to...."Trial and Error U of P"

His cute tailbone- the end of the yellow wire will be cut short up against the bottom side of the pelvis. Then I will slide this bead on and glue it to the end of the wire. There is a little indention in the underside of the pelvis for the bead...This will allow the pelvis to swivel. good idea?...hmmmm not sure. we shall see!

 Put the ribs back on and painted the shoulders to match the rib segment

 Then I went back to the head since I was almost ready to attach it and modified some of the vertebrae. I made the top two out of foam

 So that as they slid up under his jaw they would be squishy enough to allow the mouth to open

 yup- still opens

 and then, as I was gettin' the head all attached and things were lookin good for Jigbone...OH NO!! his hip...it broke! Seriously!? my dear....my beginner chops are showin' real good today!

 so, to see just how weak the material was I applied some pressure and it just snapped. Not sure what happened with me and my materials . I have worked with Supersculpey before and it is really strong. I'm thinking maybe Supersculpey is great for bulk solid items like a head or a body but not great for small structural pieces that will have torque applied. ok....so I guess wood for the pelvis too.....boy this is the one I was hopin' I wouldn't have to make out of wood! Disappointing fer sure...but a very minor nothing - I see it as an opportunity to hone my dremeling skills.

 Ok so that's it for Jigbone today.

I will post a more meaty update of the Shaman Puppet in the next week.

love and love puppet family.


Update #47

Earth Shaman update and information about "Kickstarter awards"

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HI All! Happy World Puppetry day!!! Officially it was the 21st, but what the hey! Every day could be World Day of Puppetry.

Awards Info

It has come to my attention that some project contributors have thought they somehow missed out on the awards because they haven't / hadn't received them yet. Well, the good news is that no one has missed out on anything!!!....because....none of the awards have gone out yet! (said the girl shlightly embarrashed)

Yes, this is one of the areas I would do differently next time around.....I will create awards that are complete and ready to be mailed immediately after funding. That way you have received your gift for supporting the project. I regret it has taken so long. ...however I cannot finish the awards till I know the final look of the Earth Shaman..... And who knew that part would take so long? You will know when the awards are coming....it will be a big dealio!

Which brings me to my next topic....

Project pace...

The project will be moving much quicker now. I have had a powerful personal/creative opening happen in the last two months due to a type of trauma releasing 'tremor work' called TRE. It is helping me physically as well as emotionally. I am experiencing a return of resilience to my entire system, as well as a vitality and focus I thought was never to be found again! Maybe more details on that later. And for now.....I feel on fire and I want to really get back to the original vision I had of the Earth Shaman.

Earth Shaman

 I just wanted to do a very simple foam mock-up of his face. It turned out a bit small....the final piece/head will be larger. It will continue to evolve and shift until I find the right blend of creature, human-ess, wisdom , gentleness, abstract and real, darkness and light.

Right now it is a bit flat.....needs some more dimension. I will work the mouth some more until it finds some more human, old man-ness in there. stay tuned.

 Remember that set of shoulder pads I bought last summer..... pulled that out again. Going to build my puppet mechanics on top of it (how I had originally planned). Because these shoulder pads are quite small and ride up on me I will only use it to build my prototype and then find a larger one(thrift store) for the final build.

 Here's the first concept....to build an armature that will hold the puppet head out in front of me. I don't like the long bar behind the puppet head....it needs to be more of a "point" of anchor.

 I will attach some type of hinge to the shoulders so that the armature can hold the puppet head in several different positions

 My first hinge is a pair of casters (I drilled off the wheels) . I love casters and have always wanted to utilize both directions of movement....the hinge (where the wheel is) and the spin. This would prove a little challenging!

 So, here we have each wood armature piece held into place with a bolt, spacers and and some washers

 They lift and hinge very nicely.....now to create the second half of the armature that connects to the puppet.

 I roughly drew out the plan and then bent the aluminum pieces to fit the drawing

 Here is the armature put together in the forward position (puppet head out in front of my body at the end of the aluminum)

 Here is the armature in the back position (the puppet head would be positioned on top of my head)

 It goes something like this......

 And actually the audience would see this in reverse......meaning I come out with the Earth Shamans face/head on top of my head.....at this point it wouldn't really look like a puppet head yet....It looks like some type of skull on top of my head. Then at some pivotal moment  in the performance I can drop the head down in front of me and it becomes the Earth Shaman being/puppet.

ok so, this design seemed simple enough...each wood arm hinges up and each one can turn on the caster....my thinking was that if both arms turned together with the puppet head on the end you would get a movement somewhat like a horse turning its head on its long neck.

However....when you connect the second part of the armature (the two aluminum pieces that are locked together)....the casters can no longer swivel. Darn it!   I knew something would be wonky about the movement but wasn't sure how it would play out. so I built it to see. I love learning about physics and engineering! If the two aluminum arms weren't 'fixed' together...it WOULD work.

I did try  to come up with an ez way to get the two aluminum arms to slide together...this simple adjustment would have enabled the whole armature to turn on the casters but it would have also created other problems ....like what do I attach the puppet head to if the aluminum pieces are both moving and sliding.......stay simple Heidi. Stay simple! My mind likes to play with complexity but I actually want to finish this project!

Sooooo

 Got rid of the casters and just attached simple hinges.....

 I decided to use flatstock aluminum....easy to shape ( holds that shape) and very light weight.

 Here it is in the 'back' position

 and what is this funny guy?  Pex pipe, pvc elbow, wooden dowel and pvc endcap

 I want to create some additional accoutrements to the Earth Shamans look....some type of headdress possibly. The brackets that are holding this are loose enough to allow the dowel to rotate......

 Here's the shape....it can be flipped up or down in the back

 Here is the new aluminum armature and the headdress arch

 ok two more just for fun...all play here

 This is what it looks like with everything in the forward position. Puppet head in front, two headdress pieces above ....I envision my face  somewhat visible ......only partially obscured by headdress decorations and maybe even some dark paint.   I don't want to hide the puppeteer completely in a 'puppet suit' I want you to see the 'hand' involved.... Want something more symbolic... I will play more with that idea as the outside elements start coming together.

 Here are all parts in the "back" position...puppet head resting on my head....

 All parts forward. (its ok Heidi, don't be so sad and somber. this isn't the end... more later tater!)

ok, thats it fer now. Hope this wasn't a confusing post!

Next Shaman post maybe I will have begun his arms....and maybe some face/head changes!

blessings and love puppet family. heidi ho


Update #46

Windwands!.....and other Sound Design ideas with VIDEOS!!!

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Hello all!  I am really excited about this update. Sound! I have been playing with sound. It can be such a powerful element to add to a performance. What kind of mood do I want to evoke in the Earth Shamans audience?  What kind of impact will he have?....heart pounding power of drums....subtle mysterious bells tinkling. I wanted to share with you some sounds I have been considering for the Earth Shaman piece.

First up.....

Windwands

I have liked the sound of the Windwand for some time now. If you didn't see someone playing the Windwand you might not know what you were hearing.....Is that a large colony of bees??? .....it might evoke a feeling of strangeness.  In my experience if something isn't readily recognizable and the mind fumbles slightly with some sort context this can be unsettling to normal thought patterns. It takes us slightly out of normal perception and asks us to pay attention....it puts us in the realm of something unknown....what is that? I don't recognize that sound. Whats making that noise???  I think this "unknown realm" is the perfect place to introduce the Earth Shaman". Ok, more on the performance later....back to Windwands!

A windwand is a wooden instrument with a large rubber band stretched around it. When spun through the air the wind passes over the rubber band creating a vibration sound like that of a didgeridoo or a bull-roarer. I have loved the sound of this strange instrument for some time and thought it would be interesting and mysterious for the Earth Shaman piece.

Here are two handmade Windwands I bought at a music store
Here are two handmade Windwands I bought at a music store

The large one, on the left, is held by the knob handle and spun while the smaller one is spun by holding the string. Each produce a different pitch. You can change the pitch by moving the flat center bar up or down. The thought of hearing a chorus of these things spinning all at once is just too coolio, so I'm making a bunch of them!

8 big ones and 8 little ones. 16 total. It cost me about $30 or so. The large one in the above photo cost me about $24!

 parts and pieces

 handles for the bigger ones

 drillpress holes

 filing little ridges

  little rubber band notches

a nice dark stain.....do I ever stain anything any other color than dark walnut??? no.

 knobs and handles

 Parts and pieces for 16 Windwands!

 Here is the first one I assembled. I wanted to add some paint to the shaft so I taped it off ....

 and added some white paint for some nice contrast

 yummy Windwand!

 me playing this Windwand!

 Magical Hulls

Ok, another instrument I am excited about is not really an instrument so to speak.... Sort of like a magical dancing Talisman that produces its own music!

Remember these.........

 from the very beginning of the project??! I know I'm asking a lot....that was like a year ago!

These are the magical Shaman items that just appeared in the trees the "Day I went a Hunting" (for an Earth Shaman) Remember???

.....I'm sure its all coming back to you now!

 They are constructed of the rather common, yet not unmagical, Hickory nut hulls. As well, some type of mysterious animal feathers. 

 Here is what a Hickory nut looks like with the outer hull or shell

And HERE is what these Hull strands look and sound like when they are moving......

 I like how they look alive..... bouncing puppet creatures, clacking and whipping around. I like these little guys and feel strongly about them being in the performance somewhere.

(And yes it is snowing....that was today. Just a coupla hours ago!)

Earth Shaman Performance Sound Design

So, Here's what I'm thinking(and this is just rough, loose ideas right now)

This is a twilight performance..... with a fire or simulated fire. The audience gathers, sitting on the ground. As the group quiets and readies for the storytelling the Windwands begin their humming and droning...... surrounding the audience, coming from all directions.

Here is an image that might help you visualize the Shaman puppet. At first the Shamans head is on top of mine....not yet recognizable as a creaturely puppet....So, the initial impression is a bit more human. A human with a costume/animal hide on.....I am holding these Hickory hull creatures....I come out bouncing and dancing whirling with the Hickory Hull creatures....the pace picks up and maybe some mallet drums come in and at the peak of the dance I suddenly drop to the ground....At the same time, in one motion, the Shamans head/mask drops down in front of me. At this point all is silent....the Windwands have stopped and the drum has stopped. Something has happened.... the audience can't quite decipher what is happening yet....The Earth Shaman is coming alive.  Slowly, slowly he moves.

I am tinkering with the idea of some really slow moving large bamboo chimes (live, not recorded) as he is awakening....moving and slowly looking about and breathing large deep breaths with maybe some strange sounds -humming -coming from him...

BTW ....The Earth Shaman is not scary in any way. his face will be ancient, wise and a bit o sweet. Even If I have to change it a bit from the original idea....I don't want alien and I don't want scary. This next week you will see a rough mock up of his face in foam.

Imagine this recording moving a bit slower and the clunking sound being a bit deeper.

Bambooo sound.......

 The best way to listen to these two sounds together is to turn up the volume on the bamboo bar and turn down the volume almost completely on the tinkling bells.  This will get you closer to what I am imagining. Ideally the bamboo would be slow and heavy.... the tinkling bell would touch in lightly here and there.

Tinkling bells

 Ok, thats it for now...will share new sound ideas as they come.

Look for a post this weekend....either an Earth Shaman or another Jigbone!!

Thanks Twig Family. Love and love and snow and love!


Update #45

Hello Helloo! Jigbone update!!

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Hi everyone, I have spent the last coupla days trying to load a short "Hello, I'm back and inspired video" to no avail. I will keep trying.

In the meantime, here is an update of Jigbone.... last you heard I was working on his arms.

Now , on to his legs....

Mr boney bone with a hollow bored in his hip for a ball joint
Mr boney bone with a hollow bored in his hip for a ball joint
here is the little wooden ball seated in the hollow as femur joint.
here is the little wooden ball seated in the hollow as femur joint.

 It took some consideration to figure out how to do a joint that allowed the leg to move in all directions. I seriously thought a ball joint had to have more restrictions...but this one moved very easily the way I devised it. very happy about this discovery!  After all he has to be able to get a serious jig on.

Femur and tibia sculpt out of white sculpey
Femur and tibia sculpt out of white sculpey
Femur with ball joint. purdy, ain't it?
Femur with ball joint. purdy, ain't it?
Several different foot sculpts
Several different foot sculpts

Not sure about the foot sculpts. They are a bit too human or something....may have to go more skeletal.

things pieced together
things pieced together
tryin' out his new leg
tryin' out his new leg

 Things are lookin' a little foreshortened from this angle

Here's a close-up of that ball joint. The only thi ng holding the joint and femur to the hip is a piece of bungee.
Here's a close-up of that ball joint. The only thi ng holding the joint and femur to the hip is a piece of bungee.
See! nifty huh!? The bungee provides just enough tension to hold the three together but not so much it doesn't move! The leg moves flawlessly in all directions
See! nifty huh!? The bungee provides just enough tension to hold the three together but not so much it doesn't move! The leg moves flawlessly in all directions

OK, So, after this brilliant discovery things went quickly downhill...

mumbling humbly jumblies.

For one thing his arms fell off!

Yes, note to self: don't use just any ole fabric for joints. won't last.

And because I made his arms out of paperclay I was unsure how to proceed. Hmmm, why not make the shoulder joints a ball joint too.This would need some consideration.

Then I realized his legs were pretty weak...I used sculpey (which is normally pretty strong after baking) but the mistake I made was bulking up the inside with aluminum foil. Not sure , looking back, what possessed me to do this. The greatest diameter was only  like a 1/2 inch. Oh well..live and learn....it made them really weak. Could snap em in half pretty easily.

So, I threw it all against the wall.

No....Just kidding, Jigbone's my buddy now....  too late for all that hatin' n stuff.

So, upon much pondering, cogitating and cud chewing I decided to make his limbs...all of them , out of wood. hardwood.

  The hardest part of making a puppet from scratch with no sketches or drawings(cuz I caint) is figuring out the proportions and look of everything. I  work better in 3D. So, once the specs part is figured out....making copies is easy. relatively.

Oak pieces with femur(ok- can draw a lick maybe)
Oak pieces with femur(ok- can draw a lick maybe)
With file and dremel I shape thee femur
With file and dremel I shape thee femur

 lookin' kinda wide there.....had to narrow it down.

OOOps got too heavy handed with the dremel and tore out the side of the socket...poo!
OOOps got too heavy handed with the dremel and tore out the side of the socket...poo!

 startin' over!

coming along now
coming along now
Still a bit wide....no ridin' britches for Jigbone! Gotta slender em down a bit.
Still a bit wide....no ridin' britches for Jigbone! Gotta slender em down a bit.
OK, here's the man all disassemblied.
OK, here's the man all disassemblied.

 I actually finished two tibia as well but forgot to photograph them. next time.

When I took him apart I realized his shoulders needed a redo as well...so I disassembled the chaos of cardboard and wire and sculpted a little shoulder and collarbone. Structurally this will be much stronger(than cardboard). As well, I have made them to accept two ball joints...actually the ones I use for the shoulders will be a bit smaller than the ones you see in the pic.

Here is his hip and new shoulders. Lets hope Jigbone doesn't have an identity crisis and want all of his badass self sculpted out of wood.

Ok.... thats it fer today! Tomorrow or Tuesday look for another post about the Windwands I am making!! A Windwand is a musical instrument! I have been thinking about sound design for the Earth Shaman piece. I will talk about this and have some MP3 samples of coolio sounds. 

Oh yes, and later in the week a post on the Earth Shaman progress! Got some interesting ideas.

love to Twig family.  Heidi


Update #44

Jigbone

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Hallo everyone! PIcs of Jigbone today. Little puppet guy that was inspired by my new dance event. I was designing some photos for the event with some nature bits and pieces... sticks, feathers, bones and whatnot. Two of the bones went together and vwalla....his face appeared and that was that.

Two vertabra bones from something??? A face?!
Two vertabra bones from something??? A face?!

A Jigbone face!

'An eye helps see' said the face
'An eye helps see' said the face

 I used simulated sinew to tie the two bones together (and glue)

then I used a piece of vinyl coated wire for his 'spine' -it is strong yet flexible.

Jigbone underbite!
Jigbone underbite!
Makin' a mess. I love to work on the floor
Makin' a mess. I love to work on the floor
tiny ribcage out of foam, covered in felt. I punched the loose fiber felt into the foam with a felting needle
tiny ribcage out of foam, covered in felt. I punched the loose fiber felt into the foam with a felting needle
Here is a lump of the felt and the needle
Here is a lump of the felt and the needle

 Moved outside because it is such a beautiful fall day.

crispy out!
crispy out!
I will punch a darker colored felt in between to add accent.
I will punch a darker colored felt in between to add accent.
Back in the workshop...adding some interesting touch with some lace trim I had.
Back in the workshop...adding some interesting touch with some lace trim I had.

 I will darken and stain the lace with sepia ink.

I think he's ready for some arms now
I think he's ready for some arms now
First arm ... little dowels attached to fabric joints then covered in paperclay.
First arm ... little dowels attached to fabric joints then covered in paperclay.
Oversized hands! Linen with hot glue to bulk out the fingers. May use paperclay later and re-make the hands more rounded . but for now....glue. The movement is nice. the fingers move at the joints like real fingers
Oversized hands! Linen with hot glue to bulk out the fingers. May use paperclay later and re-make the hands more rounded . but for now....glue. The movement is nice. the fingers move at the joints like real fingers

 you will see the movement in the video

Arm and hand attached!....second arm above
Arm and hand attached!....second arm above
Adding the 'Paperclay' to the arm dowels. It is like clay but made out of paper. dries super light and super strong. EZ to work with.me likes it!
Adding the 'Paperclay' to the arm dowels. It is like clay but made out of paper. dries super light and super strong. EZ to work with.me likes it!

 There is a bit of a hold up on the arm as I am having difficulty finding the right wire for the control rod. needs to be strong yet fairly small in diameter (florist wire, welding wire). Going to town on Saturday to find that.

Building mini vertebra with the paperclay. the spine still flexes nicely
Building mini vertebra with the paperclay. the spine still flexes nicely
Just wrap the clay around
Just wrap the clay around
Then shape your little bead with a tool
Then shape your little bead with a tool

 Let it dry for an afternoon....

And paint with some of the sepia stain and voila...little jigbones!
And paint with some of the sepia stain and voila...little jigbones!
He should be done in  the next week or so! Will keep you up on him and of course will have additional video when he is done. (dancing!)
He should be done in the next week or so! Will keep you up on him and of course will have additional video when he is done. (dancing!)

OK I have held off posting this update for two days because I cannot load the video of him. The video is AVI and it is only 118 MB ....Kickstarter accepts AVI and their limit is 250MB....not sure what is going on. will post as soon as i figure it out. Sorry Alex!!!

Stay Tuned! Heidi


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    Thank you so much! Please know that every little bit counts! Your contribution will breath life into the Earth Shaman Puppet and get Twig Theatre her wheels! As well, you will be able to access the project updates with the other backers.

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    5x7 color photograph of the completed full-size Twig Theatre, illuminated domes and lanterns, as well as the Earth Shaman Puppet.... taken at twilight! ooooh magico magico!

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    Twig Theatre Project DVD -this compilation video will include: the building and creative process of the theatre and puppet, a Q&A with the puppeteer about the project, as well as a greeting from the finished Earth Shaman Puppet. (in addition... the 5x7 twilight photo from the previous category)

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    A print of an original sketch of the Earth Shaman Puppet by sister and fine art painter and 3D illustrator Olivia Pendergast. Because this gift was added after funding for the project began I cannot offer it to any of the higher tier backers; with the exception of the $50 flipbook category which is also a 'new' award . Thank you for your understanding. (In addition, you will also receive the 5x7 twilight print)

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    a Magpie sock puppet head, with feathery pink hair and his flower necklace too! You met Magpie in the main video...he's the sock puppet with a whole body.(in addition...the 5x7 twilight photo, and the DVD)

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    A mini animation flipbook! As you flip through this booklet you will see the Shaman Puppet move and come alive! This will be video motion capture versus illustrated animation. (in addition, the 5x7 twilight photo, and a choice between the DVD OR the Earth Shaman sketch) **Please indicate your choice when you pledge, Thank you!

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    A handmade Earth Shaman tile (in addition...the 5x7 twilight photo, the DVD, the Magpie sock puppet and the Shaman Flipbook)

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    a signed Giclee print of an illustration of the Earth Shaman Being by Olivia Pendergast, fine art painter and previously a 3D illustrator in Hollywood. (in addition...the 5x7 twilight photo, the DVD, the Magpie sock puppet , the Shaman Flipbook and the Earth Shaman tile)

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    A hardbound book (5.75x7.75) of the Earth Shaman puppet being. This book will be designed by me and professionally bound by 'MY PUBLISHER"...20 images and entries(front and back of 10 pages) You will know him intimately! (in addition...the 5x7 Photo, the DVD, the Magpie sock puppet, the Shaman Flipbook,the Earth Shaman tile, the mini divining light and the Shaman illustration )

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    Maquette of Earth Shaman puppet standing next to an illuminated mini divining light. This is a 6 inch tall static model (not a moving puppet) of the NEW Earth Shaman puppet.From a sculpted head I will create a mold from which to make the multiples. The head will be mounted on a mini wire frame and stand....then he will be robed with faux fur and other puppet Shaman-like attire.(In addition, the 5x7 twilight photo, the DVD, the Magpie sock puppet, the flipbook,the Earth Shaman tile, the mini divining light, the Shaman illustration and the Shaman Photobook)

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    A replica of the mini theatre! Yes , the one you saw in the short film of my Kickstarter video! Includes theatre, two hanging lanterns(with flickering internal lights) and two Divining Lights(with flickering internal Lights) The theatre will be re-created out of really thin wood as opposed to cardboard. It will look just as magical and "home-madey" as the original...not slicked out. Very excited to offer this gift! Thanks to a backer who suggested it! RECAP...for this $1,000 pledge you will recieve the Twig Miniature Theatre with two illuminated hanging Lanterns, 3 Divining lights(1 from other award tier), the Earth shaman puppet(from other award tier) (In addition the 5x7 twilight photo, the DVD, the Magpie sock puppet, the Flipbook, the Earth Shaman tile, the Earth Shaman Illustration, and the Earth Shaman Photobook!!! wowza!)

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