Marcus Clarke FRSA
Life is a Craft Foam Puppet Making
Workshop for Schools and Colleges developed
with support from Arts
Council England. A challenging Design
Technology all day Wokshop.
Puppets made and available to
our Puppet Making Workshops include a Tiger, Lion,
Shark, Dolphin and Clamshell.
Land Animal Puppets can be used as either a Hand
Puppet capable of
Lipsinc or as a Masks.
The idea was for me to Design
Puppets that could be made from another
material other than fabric,
something that could be printed out and on
something. Puppets that were
simple enough to be made by both adults and
children and with only
scissors and glue. This is it.
your own use for free. At your own risk!
See Shark Pattern
Shark on the
made by a Florida 2nd Grader and his Father
using these patterns and
Pattern's here 1
instructional and 'how to make'
Pattern's here 1
with instructional and 'how to make' videos on
line at you tube.
Patterns are also
suitable for printing on Cardboard Packaging
and Puppets can then be
made out of that too.
LIFE PROJECT STORY
|As I began this Arts
Council supported Arts project in
January 2010 I also began working with
Teaching Puppetry for the Screen in two
East Midlands Secondary Schools.
This enabled me to gain feedback from
Children to compliment that of
two Art and Design Students from NTU who
were also feeding back to me.
| I began by
experimenting with different sized and shaped Origami
style mouths using thin card
and soon realised that the scale and shape
would be mostly governed by
the size of my hand and the need to get it
inside the Puppet. Some
trials with remote, mechanical and
animatronic devices showed promise
but would prove needlessly difficult for
students with a low craft base
to make. I decided around the hand it
would have to fit.Experimenting
with card and foam style card I decided on
Hobbycrafts' FabFoam which
had a thickness and warmth that was
comfortable and came in a wide
range of colours. It could also be quickly
glued with Hotglue which
helped assembly speeds. No curing or
I designed some Clam
Puppets. Learning that I
could score and shape them by using the
Hot glue to distort the Foam.
I got positive feedback from an NTU
student and so proceeded with an
evaluation Workshop of the Clam Shell
Puppets at Rufford.
attendees of Puppet
Making Workshop made these Clams right.
I then made Dolphins and Sharks as below
and called them Japanese
Puppets as they had such clean lines and
then held other Workshops for
people to make these.
Next came some extensive work to create a
The need to hide the
hand in the Puppet led to a lot of scale
issues. I had hoped to combine
a Sock for the neck joint but it confused
the look. The Puppet then
became more and more complex as I tried to
solve joint flexing issues
by design. It
became more and more like a
suit of Armour.
eventually called this Puppet Design
'Armoured Turtle' so called
because it was like a Medieval suit of
Armour. It was obviously going
to be to complicated
and take too long
for people to make so I abandoned it.
experimented with creating the simpler
Turtle design above and decided
to evaluate them in a Rufford Puppet
The attendee's made them quite easily and
enjoyed doing so. As well as
performing them on Camera. These are some of the
Turtles they made.
As I moved on to
creating an Octopus it became clear that
again I was
going to be boxing in the hand and
restricting movement and
performance. I also had issues creating a
small mouth with my large
hand in the head. There was only one way
really for the arm to come out
and that was through the bottom too,
confusing the eight legs.
I decided to re-invent the project and
create a wider variety of creatures. Land
I decided to mark
this juncture by renaming the project
I made two prototype Jungle creatures. A
Lion and an Elephant and
gained very positive feedback. (Right
I then considered that they could also be
used as Masks. Tried them on and
they worked OK. After a trip to Yorkshire
Sculpture Park I hit upon
the idea of ditching the sock puppet
bottom part that I had been
trying out for lipsing and instead created
a drop down mouth for them.
Tested it and it worked better.
up the Elephant design and 'Puppet
and a 'Make Workshop' for it.
As I was returning to the Lion I thought
of Jungle Book and considered
making a Tiger. A Shere Khan with the same
drop down mouth. Easier said
And on the way came up with a Wolf Design
using discarded Tiger Pattern
that could be re-purposed.
I made another of the eventual Tiger Puppet
design and Filmed myself
doing so and then put this instructional
Video on YouTube. I then
contacted a retailer/manufacturer about
putting the Patterns on
otherwise discarded cardboard packaging so
that Scouts and other
interested young people could get free
copies of the Elephant, Tiger
and Wolf Puppet Pattern. I got useful
feedback from TV Broadcasters
too. Then I became interested in Teaching
For the Projects
evaluation in West Bridgford the consensus
was to make the Tiger. Which
all made successfully.
Well all of the Make Puppets would take a
day's Workshop to make
realistically. But they're all good, solid
original and inspiring
makes. I have my Sock Puppets that can be
made in a variety of times
from an hour to four. Depending on how
complex we want to make them.
This Project has given me the Original
'Puppet Makes. A Clamshell and a
Turtle. Ocean Life. Also combined Puppet and
Mask Making Workshops for
Schools, Kids and Adults in the form of the
Tiger, Elephant and Wolf.
And of course much more besides to build on.
I learnt a lot about
design, duplication and pattern cutting.
Previous projects include.
Puppets 4 Learning