Monday, 12 November 2007

I Hear With My Little Ear!

Ladies and Gentlemen allow me to introduce Spam! (Shelley chose the name) Spam has been made entirely out of off-cuts and fabric samples. This was more out of necessity than any big eco-friendly drive on my part.... but it did make me think a lot about how easy it is to throw something away which you can actually still use. Spam was an adventure from start to finish. Because of the confines of only using scraps (hence his working name of scrappy) Spam's shape and size was very much dictated by what odd bits of foam i had left. This was a nightmare at first, but as soon as i got into it i really enjoyed the challenge, in fact i am glad to say there is at least one more puppets worth of off-cuts laying around - watch this space!

This photo shows Spam's skull before it was covered in fabric. It was a great fun shape to cover, but not one i would choose again :)

You can see from the picture that the pieces of foam are not very large, one of the things i did to make this interesting for myself was try and cut the foam as little as possible. This pushed the design in a direction i would never have gone normally. All i did to trim them foam was to make the pattern symmetrical. As you can see here Spam gets his name from the vast expanse of forehead he has!

Despite the unusual head shape the mouth is very easy to use and is not restricted at all by the over sized forehead. Although at first this looks like a really unnatural shape... think for a minute about male Orangutan and they often have large folds of skin on their cheeks. I'm not sure if they get bigger with age... i'm not a zoologist (but i did want to be as a kid).

So this is what Spam looked at when i initially covered him with fabric. His face was a puzzle for me, it took me a long time to find eyes i was happy with... in this pic i have some half cut ping pong balls which i am using to experiment with eye placement. I basically finished Spam in 3 sittings. I made the skull and mouth in one sitting. The came back and worked out how to cover the head in a way which would give him a really nice unique look. Then finally this morning i completed his body and human hand.

I am very pleased with the outcome, i have experimented with some new techniques during the construction process. The most radical change to the construction process with this character would be the fact Spam is the first puppet i have ever made completely using a sewing machine! For most people this would not even be worth mentioning, but i have hand sewn everything in my puppet building career to date so it was a great relief to see the total build time decimated by the introduction of the Singer!

Let me know what you think of Spam, don't forget to check him out on the crex81 channel where he will be hosting a competition called "I Hear With My Little Ear".

all the best - Dave

1 comment:

Adam said...

I think I've connected most with Spam because he immediately took me back to my Sesame Street days. It seems like he could come from the same world as Oscar the Grouch and Animal, be some sort of kin to them! It looks like Spam has room for a big personality.

The "from scraps" development of Spam is akin to what I sometimes do with music. I'll take a few melodies or progressions or rhythms and just smash them together and see what comes out. Most of the time it is a funny way to break through a creative wall, but on occasion I've actually been able to pull a pretty cool song from those sessions. Cheers Dave!