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Swizzle Circus comes to the Plate Glass Gallery

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Swizzle Circus acrobats by Christine Cosby and Rob Elliott.

Third up for Puppet-A-Go-Go’s In The Park residency is Christine Cosby, collaborating with Rob Elliott. Working as Swizzle Studio, Christine and Rob have created a circus scene reminiscent of a classic department store holiday window.

The Swizzle Circus is a carnival diorama with light and movement features, made up of 18 new puppets plus scenic elements. The installation’s main piece is titled “The Cowardly Lion Tamer” and depicts the title character being endlessly chased by a lion on a rotating platform.

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The Cowardly Lion Tamer’s timidity is in stark contrast to the nonplussed poodle in the centre of the ring.

The window exhibit is installed to be viewed from multiple vantage points. Acrobats soar over the circus floor as a human cannonball flies over the audience (which now includes Prince from the previous Puppet-A-Go-Go window). Roustabouts, circus performers, and trained animals look into the Niagara Artists Centre and towards sidewalk passersby.

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A pair of roustabouts working for the Swizzle Circus.

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The Human Cannonball soars over the crowd. The Puppet-A-Go-Go audience has been given boxes of Lucky Elephant Pink Popcorn and balloons for this month’s circus installation.

In one bit of dark humour, an elephant stands on a railway track next to a sign reading “St. Thomas 1/4 Mile”. This alludes to the southern Ontario town’s main claim to fame: It was here that Jumbo the Elephant was struck and killed by a train in 1885.

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Unlucky Jumbo the Elephant.

You can see photos of all the Swizzle Circus puppets here: http://swizzlestudio.com/2016/12/the-swizzle-circus/

Swizzle Circus is on view until December 31, 2016.

Puppet-A-Go-Go In the Park features four one-month installations by Clelia Scala, Trisha Lavoie, Christine Cosby (with Rob Elliott), and Alexa Fraser. It is on display 24 hours a day in the front window of the Niagara Artists Centre in St. Catharines, Ontario.

Puppet-A-Go-Go In The Park runs until January 31, 2017.

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Puppet Purple Rain

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Prince in felt, by Trisha Lavoie.

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Apollonia fooled by Prince’s silver tongue.

For the second installment of Puppet-A-Go-Go’s In The Park residency, Trisha Lavoie realizes a 80s pop culture milestone in felt and embroidery. Her Purple Rain diorama features puppets of Prince and Apollonia in a famous scene from the film.

“Purify Yourself in the Waters of Lake Minnetonka.”

Puppet-A-Go-Go In the Park features four one-month installations by Clelia Scala, Trisha Lavoie, Christine Cosby (with Rob Elliott), and Alexa Fraser. It is on display 24 hours a day in the front window of the Niagara Artists Centre in St. Catharines, Ontario.

Puppet-A-Go-Go In The Park runs until January 31, 2017.

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Purple Rain, in the Niagara Artist Centre’s Plate Glass Gallery.

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Science Fiction B-Movie

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The puppet audience is awestruck by Clelia Scala’s B-Movie scene!

Puppet-A-Go-Go’s Clelia Scala was first up for the In The Park residency at the Niagara Artists Centre’s Plate Glass Gallery. Her papier-mâché scenario of monsters and scientists comes right out of the late show!

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Pleading with the monster to put down its victim. Clelia Scala’s installation at NAC’s Plate Glass Gallery.

Standing almost three feet tall, the bug-eyed monster carries his victim while a pair of concerned (and maybe culpable) citizens beseech it to stop being so horrible.

Clelia’s scene also featured the debut of the Puppet-A-Go-Go audience, over 40 puppets built especially for the project by Scala, Christine Cosby, Trisha Lavoie and Alexa Fraser. These puppets are seated on risers and will watch four different scenarios over the coming months.

Puppet-A-Go-Go In The Park runs until January 31, 2017.

 

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Puppet-A-Go-Go in the Park

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Some of the audience attending Puppet-A-Go-Go In The Park.

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Something up their sleeves! Puppet-A-Go-Go (clockwise from left): Clelia Scala, Trisha Lavoie, Alexa Fraser, Christine Cosby

Puppet-A-Go-Go’s current exhibit mimics the summer outdoor theatre festival experience, showcasing a series of four “static performances” on a stage for an audience of enthralled puppets. The public is invited to peek into this world of puppets anytime night or day, through the windows of Niagara Artist Centre‘s Plate Glass Gallery.

The outdoor theatre puppet diorama is on exhibit from September 23, 2016 through January 28, 2017 for viewing anytime. The exhibit features puppets created by the Puppet A Go Go artist collective: Christine Cosby, Alexa Fraser, Trisha Lavoie and Clelia Scala and special guest artists. Viewers will be inspired to re-visit the window diorama and use their imagination to interpret the “static performances” that will be presented over the four month “festival.” Special puppet celebrity appearances are included in the festival line-up, and the audience is a wild assortment of colourful characters.

Niagara Artist Centre’s Plate Glass Gallery is located at 354 St Paul St, St. Catharines, Ontario and can be viewed from the sidewalk any time on any day. Show runs September 23, 2016 through January 28, 2017.

Thanks to the Ontario Arts Council for supporting Puppet-A-Go-Go in the Park!

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1000 Finger Puppets!

Did you catch Puppet-A-Go-Go‘s 1000 Finger Puppets show last spring?

Perhaps you’d like to see the show again? Maybe you missed it? Suppose you want to find your puppet amongst the teeming masses of felt and glue?

You are in luck! Niagara Artists Centre member Joe Lapinski shot photos of the whole show before it came down. Each of these images expands to a massive 4000 pixel image for your close-up viewing pleasure.

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Making Hands

By Trisha

With the opening of the Puppet A Go Go show less than a month away and so many wonderful submissions rolling in, I felt it was time for me to get pro-active about thinking about display methods and executing them.

One of the first great suggestions I was given was making or some how acquiring model hands to use for the finger puppets. After doing a bit of brainstorming and a bit of research, I recruited the help of my pal Leah, who has experience in mold and cast making.

While it would have been fun to actually make molds of our hands, we went for the quick and dirty version – pouring plaster into disposable cleaning gloves. The gloves I had purchased (which I believe were Arm & Hammer) had a textured, almost fabric like interior, thus step one was turning them inside out to so that the “lining” would face outward and the plaster would be poured into the smooth more rubberized side of the glove. As an extra precaution, we covered the gloves in Vaseline before turning them inside out to ensure the glove would remove itself easily from the plaster hand.

Next we propped open the wrist part of the gloves with mason jar rims and needle point hoops. For the record, the rims from antique glass lidded jars worked best, so if you plan on doing this at home and have an old Crown jar lying around, that’s your best option. At this juncture we also took the time to figure out how to we would suspend the jars and came up with so pretty simple techniques of bending wire coat hangers and using a bungee cord.

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Having sorted that out we moved along to mixing the plaster. The traditional proportions are 2:1 plaster to water, but we found that mix a little thick for easy pouring into the gloves and opted for a slightly higher water ratio. We used 5 cups of water to 8 cups of plaster.

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Because the goal is to use these for finger puppet display, I wanted to splay the fingers out a bit, which was easy enough to do with a bit of cardboard as seen here:

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After that it was simply a matter of putting cut pieces of dowel in to the gloves like you would a popsicle so that later I can attach them easily to a base.

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Plaster of Paris sets up rather rapidly so it seemed like in no time (well about an hour) we were ready to (carefully) remove the gloves and test out their display potential.