See Rough Magic Theatre’s Crown Jewels!

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Hi folks, here’s the latest installment of stuff from our upcoming Glastonbury Festival Show “Clueless & Wuffles – The Case of the Missing Jewels!”

Obviously as the plot involves the theft of the Crown Jewels we needed something to represent the Crown Jewels.  I had a look at things that were available to buy but wasn’t impressed with the quality or price of anything I saw on a certain well known internet auction site.

So instead I scoured the local pound shops to see what they had in the way of sparkly plastic tat for girly little girls and also sparkly plastic tat for girly hen nights.  The magnificent effigies of the crown you see in the pictures are lovingly glue-gunned together from 3 headband/ tiaras, 12 tiara hair combs and a selection of delightfully gaudy and tacky party favour necklaces.  The orb is a mini disco mirror ball with various additions of beads/ribbons etc. that have been hoarded for many years in the hopes of them coming in useful.  I am a great hoarder of things which makes our house rather untidy, but you always find you need something just after you’ve decided to throw it out!

The sceptre is exactly as purchased though was described as a “fairy wand” I think.  I imagine the real Crown Jewels do not have tiny pictures of Disney characters painted on but who knows?

I am not a girly person hence my pouring scorn on pink glittery plasticky tat.  However, I have to confess that on bringing my sparkly haul back to the house I could not resist bedecking myself in sparkly plastic grandeur and indulging in some dancing about and giggling.  I would never have expected to feel such a sense of innocent delight at this girly dressing up ritual.  It would be amusing if the Queen did this occasionally with the real Crown Jewels but I suspect dressing up is too mundane a procedure for her.

The portrait of the Queen in the background of one of the pictures was drawn by me onto a flip-chart pad that is going to be one of the major props for the show.  I used a photo from the Queen’s Coronation day as the basis.

Have a lovely Easter everyone and I’ll be back with more news soon!

Sock Crows flock to Glasto!

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Once again, sorry to have gone quiet on you all but I have been very busy making 2 sock puppet crows for our Glastonbury Festival show: “Clueless & Wuffles – The Case of the Missing Jewels”.

As you can see above, they are now finished but I think I shall be adding one or two little tweaks to improve them.  Looking at the photo’s I think tongues would help with the visibility of the puppets’ features.  This is a bit of an issue for an essentially all black puppet.  I hope that the textures of the shiny beaks and legs and the fluffy feathery bits will help.

  • I used black welly socks turned inside out (to show a fluffier texture).
  • The eyes are gold beads (literally beady eyes).  The shapes of the beaks and parts of the wings and tail are made out of polythene damp-proofing membrane, (because we happened to have some spare).
  • The beaks have black carpet or “gaffa” tape over the top.
  • The legs are metal springs from the spiral binding of artist’s sketch pads, (covered with more carpet tape).  The fluffy/feathery bits on the tops of the legs and on the chest are from a chenille scarf of mine that had seen better days.
  • The fabric parts of the wings and tails are made of black “ripstop” a material often used for kites because you can cut it into shapes and it does not fray.
  • The feet are made of black cable ties, (zip-ties for my American readers).

The crows will look a lot better in action than in these photographs as, like most puppets, they are designed to look good in motion rather than sitting around like a dummy.  This is why it is so challenging for museums to display puppets in a dynamic way as they are designed to be seen in performance.

The picture of me making the puppets was taken at our local Celebratory Arts based Healthy Living Centre: “Looking Well Studios” in High Bentham.  They have been opening up their space on Saturdays for people to come in and do creative stuff.  It is nice to do this kind of thing in company with other people as the creative process can often feel a bit isolating.  A bit like Frankenstein going into his laboratory to make his creature for hours on end and only surfacing occasionally for cups of tea and a spot of mad cackling.  I did most of the making at Rough Magic Theatre headquarters though.

I have also been busy booking in various other work for the summer and I shall be putting the details up on the “Where You Can See Me” page as soon as they are confirmed.

If you have any comments, suggestions or questions about the crow puppets and how I made them please make a comment below :)