The next puppet in the French series: Beaujolais the Mime!
With the space age technology of a properly-placed stitch, I was able to create bent arms, giving the appearance of the "inside-a-glass-box" move for which mimes are commonly known.
I love doing research. Well, interesting research, that is. Interesting to me. So in trying to find out, "Where do mimes perform in Paris?", one of the answers was: outside of the Centre Pompidou, which houses all these things: a library, a museum, a center for music & acoustic research. In seeing the images of this fantastic building & its surrounds, OF COURSE I had to work them into Beau's backgrounds. I've not yet been to Paris, & hafta say: this research is really whetting my desire to go.
Beau is standing in front of the Stravinsky Fountain (also called the Fontaine des automates) in this shot. (Other photos show the fountain filled, with water spewing out of the lips!)
Because of the funny arm positioning, putting Beaujolais on the bicycle gave the appearance of "Look, Ma, no hands!" Also want to do a pic with him & my Mafia puppets, like he's getting held up.
Even though Beau doesn't speak during his performances, he's able to get his thoughts across.
Here he's thinking, "Please: no money. Your SMILES are ADEQUATE PAYMENT."
This philosophy is shared by ALL artists EVERYWHERE... true or false?
Buzzter Brown is the newest performer to join the side show! He, along with his apian sidekicks, delights the paying public with beards of derring-do!
As I was planning this character, it "just so happened" that I heard on the news about a phenomenon that's been plaguing honey bees of late, something called "Colony Collapse Disorder", or CCD. With this disorder, worker bees "abruptly disappear". Knowing this changed the direction of my design. I WAS GOING to make the bee beard part & parcel of the finger puppet, but being made aware of CCD = the bee beard needed to be a separate piece, capable of being taken on & off. In case this group of bees felt the need to am-scray.
Coming up with a suitable bee for the beard was something of a challenge. Started off with teeny pom-poms, stitching stripes onto them. Not only did this NOT look good, I knew that making a billion of them would/could cause permanent eye-crossage. There were fleeting thoughts of using beads, or creating the bees from fimo. Both of these ideas were summarily dismissed.
Had almost given up hope of finding a solution that would both: A. look halfway decent en masse, and B. not take forever to make. Then, in the craft store, looking for something else, I happened upon bee buttons! Had to get quite a few, and also had to order more, but it was worth it. They were the "shank" type of button, which meant using wire cutters to snip off the shank for a flatter back. The underpinnings of the beard is craft felt, & I couldn't explain how I made it if I tried. So I won't. Suffice it to say that it involved: a couple of prototypes, plastic domes, and my rusty hacksaw blade from college.
Here is Buzzter, without his beard. Knowing the color of the bees determined the colors that were chosen for his shirt and pants. Was hoping to find a honeycomb-patterned fabric, but was not successful. But this little dash-y fabric reminded me of the illustrative lines one uses to show the flight of a bee, & the colors were just great, so...
Above are the close-ups of Buzzter with the bee beard both on & off. When thinking about what kind of hair he should have, I thought "comb over". Then it dawned on me... duh... HONEYcomb over! Sometimes it takes me awhile to catch on to the jokes my subconscious makes.
Look at Buzzter's eyebrows in the above picture -- he's now angry, courtesy of Photoshop!
Since I can never leave well enough alone, as I was creating Buzzter, I realized he needed a girlfriend with a beehive hairdo. First I thought that this would make her a '50s gal, or like one of the BEE-52s, but then she kinda became a beauty-pageant-winner-princess-woman thingy. I HAD to name her "Lou", because her hair looked like a bee skep, and "Skep to my Lou" burrowed into my brain and would not leave. Buzzter & Lou are perfect for each other. In fact, it's almost as if they were MADE FOR each other.
Above left is a close-up of Lou's 'do, which is a long snake coil of wet-felted roving that I wrapped and stitched around a short finger form with variegated embroidery floss. So excited about being able to use needle-felting with the black roving that became the skep's opening. Doing this created an actual recess, which is EXACTLY what I wanted. (Yay!) Since needle-felting on this puppet, I'm now using this technique on other guys that I'll be showing you in the future.
Above right: Lou's wings! She can't fly. These wings are just a part of her pageant costume.
The second guy in the French-themed series is Francois the Bulldog.
He is a complete francophile, & writes about all things french-y to his pen pal who lives in Boston.
New inroads were made in finger puppet technology by putting a stitch into Francois' paw so that a flag (or whatever) may be slipped in. So much easier to photograph situations because of this; propping items and hoping they don't fall over is now but a bad memory.
Would have added some FROMAGE to this tableau, but only had swiss, so that wouldn't do.
Sorry about the lag... been makin' stuff... just haven't felt like photographin' stuff...
So now I present a new batch of finger puppets... with a French theme!
I'll show 'em in the order I'm makin' 'em.
This is Renoir Avoir-Dupois, an artist who uses WORDS as both his canvas & his paint... a poet!
I wanted to make a pig with the last name "avoirdupois" because it means "goods sold by weight".
Which is funny.
Plus, it's fun to say.
Renoir, a 2-fingers-wide puppet, is smoking a Gauloise cigarette (& got the rest of the pack handily available). Made the cigarette from a teeny length of skinny dowel paint-penned white, & wrapped the end in a bit of paper, colored with marker.
His sweater is made from both chunks of a knit Barbie gown, & a bit of felted human sweater.
(I've met some people who could be called "The Human Sweater". But that's neither here nor there.)
His glasses are the "wrong side" of black plastic eyes, and his peace sign is a jewelry finding from the bead store.