If you were just starting up

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If you were just starting up

Postby Chris Richard » 11 Oct 2017, 18:25

Just a subject for conversation. If you were to start from scratch purchasing a set of puppets, would you get the whole cast from one maker or one character each from several makers? And who would you choose to make your Punch?
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Re: If you were just starting up

Postby Richard Coombs » 12 Oct 2017, 19:57

Ooooooh great Question Chris

Gonna have a think about that while I soak in the bath ( might be a long - or at least multi-part answer )
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Re: If you were just starting up

Postby Richard Coombs » 12 Oct 2017, 21:41

Right , that was a fun bubble bath soak mulling over your question Chris.

Firstly and 'obviously' ( certainly to anyone that knows me) ...I would never actually do a show with puppets made by anyone else.
The whole concept is totally alien to me.
Right from a tiny child have always played with puppets that I had made myself.

Likewise I never make puppets for anyone else to use.
That too is something I cannot get my head around.
I don't know how anyone can make a puppet and then part with it.

But this question of yours was posed 'for conversation' ...so in the spirit of folk who put together 'fantasy football' teams ...here is my answer. ( well Yes : Answers )

When I watch other people perform I like best the shows where there is a cohesive unified look to the set of puppets.

So for me in descending order of the visual merit- OF THE PUPPETS ALONE - nothing to do with the actual performance - I enjoy:

(1) Shows where the performer has made all their own totally unique looking puppets -
Examples : Geoff Felix , Mark Poulton , Chris Somerville , Rod Burnett , Martin Bridle , Miraiker Battey , Gary Wilson , Les Clarke, CvdC , Damien Wiess ,Bryan Davey and Bryan Clarke and err, Richard Coombs

(2) Where the performer, although not themselves a maker, has bespoke commissioned a unique matching set from elsewhere ( often a puppet maker who does not solely produce Punch Puppets but makes all sorts of puppets)
Examples : Clive Chandler , Glynn Edwards

(3) Where a performer uses 'off the peg' bought puppets made (a) by one maker
or (b) by only one or two makers , but where the styles have been tastefully matched
Examples : David Wilde , James Arnott , Chris Drewitt .. actually they all seem to have so many puppets ( particularly David) that they never seem to be using the same set twice , and will fluctuate between a 3a and a 3b sort of set.

(4) Any old miss mash of puppets , used because they were obtainable , rather than because they 'fit' together.


If someone is using a mixed set I like to see both Punch AND Judy made by the same maker .
As long as these two make an attractive 'Pair' together , then I think each of the other characters could be from any number of makers ...so long as the set looks attractive all together.

Sadly too often you do see mixed sets where Punch and Judy do not gel well together because they are made by totally contrasting makers ..and often totally different sizes.

Even if you are not a maker, if you buy a new Punch from someone but can't afford ( or can't find ) a good Judy for it ..... then seek out a second hand ( tatty even ) Punch by the same person , and repaint it and redress it to make a Judy worthy of that new Punch.


Told you it would be a long answer ...enough preamble
If I were starting out :


IF BUYING NEW FROM CURRENT CARVERS :

Punch AND Judy : Geoff Felix
Joey: Gary Wilson
Monkey: Gary wilson
Policeman: Bryan Clarke
Hangman: Bryan Clarke
Crocodile: Damien Wiess
Doctor: Miraiker Battey
Devil: Damien Weiss
Horse: Damien Wiess
Pair of Boxers: Mark Poulton
Ghost: Bob Wade

Booth Frame built by: Chris Van der Craats
Proscenium painted by: Chris Drewitt


IF ABLE TO BUY 'NEW' FIGURES FROM ANYONE ALIVE OR DEAD

Punch AND Judy : Wal Kent
Joey: John Thirtle
Monkey: John Thirtle
Policeman: Christopher Leith
Hangman: Bryan Clarke
Crocodile: Quisto
Doctor: Geoff Felix
Devil: Christopher Leith
Horse: Waldo Lanchester
Boxers: John Blundell
Pretty Polly : Alistair Fullarton
Ghost : Bob Wade
Baby: Sergei Obratsov


Booth Frame built by: Chris Van der Craats
Proscenium painted by: Rosellia



If I were recommending a maker to someone new to purchase a total set of NEW puppets and a Booth from , then Miraiker Battey in the UK , for sheer speed and price .... or CvdC if you are in USA or Australia.


Well that was Fun !
Last edited by Richard Coombs on 13 Oct 2017, 14:36, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: If you were just starting up

Postby Chris Richard » 13 Oct 2017, 01:36

Great, well thought out answer, Richard! Thanks for taking the time.

It's interesting you brought up new vs. used, because with the latter one can see the finished puppet before purchasing, but when commissioning a new figure you never know how it's going to come out.

Bryan Clarke and Geoff Felix made both your "alive" list and your "dead or alive" list.

And it just occurred to me that puppeteers are frequently made to feel as though they must make their puppets, (which I did myself during my first go at puppetry, from childhood through college) but there no such pressure on working magicians who often use purchased ready-made props or musicians who almost never build their own instruments. Hmmm.

This discussion idea came up because I'd love to own and work with a puppet made by each of the well established makers. I don't know if I could limit myself to just one or two. Punch and Judy would need to be from the same carver, though. And I would use my own baby. I love my baby.


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