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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
Shopping for art supplies is always a treat and an excuse to hit the thrift shops. I’ve had this bag of arms for a few years. Our 1000 Finger Puppets is the perfect project to put these arms to work!
When we invite artists to our workshops, we put an arm in their hands and wait for inspiration to take hold.
Last week, I hosted a workshop at Minotaur in Kingston, where many wonderful and often fantastical puppets were made by the participants. Thanks to everyone who took part in the workshop. Enjoy the photos!
Sometimes I like to start with a “blank page” and a lot of colour. I’ll pull a stack of felts from the box and challenge myself to create the same puppet with multiple colours.
Another time I was inspired to remove the colour palette. I gave myself a challenge to make use of only white, black and greys.
Rob Elliott of Swizzle Studio has created these easy to follow “Finger Puppet How-To Instructions”. Download and print, then set your fingers and imagination loose.
Download Paper Finger Puppets How-To PDF here: paper finger puppets
Download Egg Carton Finger Puppets How-To PDF here: egg carton puppets
Download Felt Finger Puppets How-To PDF here: felt finger puppets
Download Crochet Finger Puppets How-To PDF here: crochet finger puppets
Download Knit Finger Puppets How-To PDF here: knit finger puppets
Download Dollar Store Challenge How-To PDF here: dollar store challenge
Last spring, at the first Puppet-A-Go-Go meeting, we decided to include a wall of 1000 finger puppets in our group show at the Niagara Artists Centre (opening April 23 – save the date). We joked that by spring 2016, we’d be buying dollar store gloves, cutting off the fingers and calling them puppets to round out the wall.
Here it is, February 2016, and we’re actually doing pretty well with the finger puppets, thanks to donations, community workshops, monthly Puppet-A-Go-Go crafternoons, and many solitary hours of work. But when you’ve got a lot of finger puppets to make, it can help to give yourself some amusing challenges. At the January crafternoon, we decided that we’d go back to our dollar-store idea, pick up some gloves and craft some puppets. Here are the results.