I was reminded when uploading Elizabeth Booth's guest blog that Julia Simmons-Collar also got in touch some time ago about a giant robot puppet she was making after seeing my robot puppet. I found a photo she sent me of her completed robot, and here are all three giant robots - from left to right - mine, Julia's and Elizabeth's.
I LOVE that these giant robots are popping up around the world, and that they are all different. As far as I can tell, we have all used some combination of metallic ducting, plastic buckets, foam, a metal frame backpack and silver spray paint. But the exact sizes, shapes and details of our robots have varied depending on what materials have been available/affordable.
So if you're thinking of making a giant robot puppet of your own, here are some links which might help.
And please send me a photo of your robot when you're done!
My robot -
Blog post 1
Blog post 2
Blog post 3
Video documenting the making of my robot
Elizabeth Booth -
The Puppeteers Cooperative -
This page contains a huge amount of traditional giant puppet making techniques, designs and ideas. It's a great place to work out what type of puppet your character should be
Welfare State International -
The book Engineers of the Imagination by Welfare State International has some great giant puppet making information as well as a wealth of really valuable information about street parades, festivals and outdoor events in general
I was so excited when Elizabeth Booth contacted me at the end of last week to say she had been inspired by my robot puppet and had built one for herself, which she took to the Maker Faire in Fredonia, NY.
I'm always looking at other makers work online to learn new techniques, solve problems and come up with ideas, so it was great to hear that one of my projects was helpful to someone else.
Elizabeth was kind enough to share these lovely photos of her puppet, as well as some making tips and solutions to problems she encountered along the way - over to Elizabeth:
I think connecting the arms and legs was the most challenging part for us. We cut circles out of the insulation board that fit into the flexible dryer vent.
These circles were glued to the bottom for the legs, and hinged to the shoulder area for the arms. This gave us the ability to use metal clamps to hold the arms and legs in place.
We had a blast with this project, and we thank you for being our inspiration!"
Elizabeth and Bob Booth
I've been working for the past week on these visors for the Weird Sisters, a walkabout street performance for Galoshins halloween festival.
Combining ideas from the witches in Macbeth, and the classical characters of the Fates, the Weird Sisters are three mysterious women who weave the threads of life, and sing songs of the past, present and future. The three performers are clowns, and the piece has a mock seriousness to it.
In designing the costumes for this performance I knew I wanted to work with the idea of second sight, by focusing on the eyes of the characters. The Weird Sisters exist outside of time, so I went for a retro-futuristic mash-up of Arts and Crafts, Art Deco, Mayan, Egyptian and Sci-fi to try and get a design which could be from the past or the future. I wanted this part of the costume to draw attention from a distance, to clearly identify the performers amongst other people in the street, and to trigger curiosity in passers by which could lead to engagement. So I went for a shape which distinctly alters the performer's silhouette, a shiny gold surface which stands out at a distance and draws attention to movement, and a simple pattern which focuses around the enlarged eyes.
You can see the making process for the visors, and an explanation of the stages below -
I began by hacking together a rough shape in cardboard - chopping bits off and adding new bits until I had a shape I liked - which I gave to the performers for testing. I then chopped the rough model in half and broke it down into four main pieces. I used these half-pieces to make four symmetrical templates, and a fifth template for the embossed detail. I transferred the template shapes onto 5mm plastazote then cut them out and used contact adhesive to join the pieces together. I engraved detail into the front of the visors using a Dremmel. To seal the surface I coated them all over with five layers of slightly diluted PVA glue and a final coat of white Gesso to provide a good painting surface. I was aiming for an aged, warm, gold effect, so I gave the visors two layers of black acrylic paint, then dry-brushed a mix of gold and crimson paint trying to build a bit of texture, and making sure to leave the black paint visible in recesses, at edges and around details. I then dry-brushed several patchy layers of gold acrylic, this time trying to leave the red-gold and the black visible in areas, and building up more reflective areas on flat surfaces and details. Lastly I dry-brushed a brighter red gold onto the eyes to bring them forward a bit.
I am a Glasgow based visual artist and maker