What makes a maker?

Anything relevant

What makes a maker?

Postby johnstoate » 10 Sep 2007, 00:04

Since the board has been a little quiet of late, I thought I might stick me head above the parapet and ask the above question.
Whenever the origin of dolls is mentioned on this board, certain names appear. Personally, (Of course) I am of the opinion that one should make one's own dolls. Easy for me to say, since I have been blessed with the capability to do so. However, I have noticed of late an encouraging trend in some of our younger 'Profs' to post enquiring about the best ways to make their own sets, By the same token, I have noticed that, (Without ever having seen them) certain persons have presumed to 'Knock' MY creations!
My point is, Certain, (excellent) makers on here freely advertise dolls ' In the style of...' No disrespect to the individuals, but, We are in danger of creating a 'Heirachy' commanding exorbitant fees for dolls by particular makers as if the ownership of such dolls gives a special right to produce a quality show, regardless of one's ability to animate those dolls :roll: - So, What makes a maker?? - Is it purely the ABILITY to produce a set of characters, and subsequently animate them in a memorable manner, or is it more the artistic thing that states ' That is (Per se ) John Constable, It's a work of art' Who are the new 'Makers', And what makes one?? - And just before certain people start, A simple question, Who made the FIRST set of Codman dolls, Why? and why are they not highly desirable collectibles? - (And copied accordingly?) - Come on folks, Let's have a discussion on this one, What are YOUR views???
John
Weaselly distinguished, Stoatelly different!!
User avatar
johnstoate
Joey's Jewels
Joey's Jewels
 
Posts: 821
Joined: 26 Mar 2007, 15:07
Location: Lancashire

Postby CvdC » 10 Sep 2007, 08:59

The good thing about this board compared to the previous one is that if you write something silly you can always go back and edit it.
I do it regularly. Not only do I fix up my syntax and bad spelling but I sort out some of my strange postings as well. Things I might type when the wet weather is getting to me and I haven't been getting out as much as I should. Except it hardly rains here anymore.
It has been my experience that I am always true from my point of view, and am often wrong from the point of view of my honest critics. I know that we are both right from our respective points of view. - Gandhi (Having a bob each way.)
User avatar
CvdC
Joey's Jewels
Joey's Jewels
 
Posts: 1032
Joined: 12 Aug 2006, 01:02
Location: Antipodes

Postby lesclarke » 10 Sep 2007, 12:32

Taste in the style of dolls used has obviously got to be purely personal, and people should have the confidence to go along with their own personal ideas, but possibly review them now and then. In other words people should think for themelves.

I do like the look of your Punch, Judy and Policeman John, they have a suitable cheeky-but-mad look, but then again I don't like the baby.
But I'm not using it and we must all work with dolls/actors that we feel we can 'work' with.'

Coincidentally, I'm at present reviewing what I think is best for me.
My usual set is a mixture of makers. Always a big fan of Wal Kent and WK style dolls, my taste is moving more towards dolls that are even 'cruder.'

I used to wonder if my liking for crude figures was possibly a rather adult viewpoint in that I was 'sophisticated' enough to value their 'primitive' style, but I'm moving more towards the view that cruder figures may be an important part of the whole recipe.

I've been re-reading all the usual P&J books recently, just dipping in them here and there, and in one there's mention along the lines that ... that with these crude figures children can switch from 'believing' in the action and then realising that they are actually just pieces of wood, and this helps keep the boundary clear between slapstick knockabout and violence.

If you are a 'craftsman' maker there is the natural temptation to gor for a highly-finished final product, and obviously this style of doll is more easily marketed/sold. Then again it depends on the style of the show they are to be used in.

Puppets are magic, to me crude puppets can seem slightly more magical.
As if I haven't got enough to do today, with all I've got to do today.
User avatar
lesclarke
Joey's Jewels
Joey's Jewels
 
Posts: 758
Joined: 14 Sep 2006, 17:12
Location: Huddersfield, West Yorkshire

Postby Chris » 10 Sep 2007, 12:56

Who made the FIRST set of Codman dolls, Why? and why are they not highly desirable collectibles?- (And copied accordingly?)

The first set of Codman dolls were carved by the first Richard Codman, the founder of the show. Make no mistake about it John they would be highly collectible and fetch enormous prices if they were available. They aren't. Apart from two people, I know of no Codman puppets not either in the hands of the Codman family or else donated by them to museums. The Codmans are a very active Punch family, justly proud of and protective of their heritage.

Certain, (excellent) makers on here freely advertise dolls ' In the style of...'

Actually John, I think you mean than one maker has once advertised a set of dolls for sale as "in the style of". In fact it wasn't even a set as I recall, but a single figure.

Firstly to attempt to work in the style of someone is not to copy them. I gather from your remark re the Codmans that you do not appreciate the difference.

And of course many punch makers are influenced by carvers of the past who they admire, and thus do work "in the style" of their heroes. Geoff Felix notably has the ability to work accurately in the styles of the masters. But then a lot of his work is in the restoration of old and damaged figures, particularly vent dolls, and so such skill is essential.

Who are the new 'Makers'


By that I think you mean who are the current makers of eminence who are collectible now and will be in the future. Well there's Bryan Clarke, Brian Davey, Geoff Felix , Miraiker Battey, Teddy Corden, Mary Edwards , Mark Poulton - some of their work will certainly fetch high prices in the future. There are other makers with lesser output but still of quality and their figures too will become collectible.

We are in danger of creating a 'Heirachy' commanding exorbitant fees for dolls by particular makers as if the ownership of such dolls gives a special right to produce a quality show, regardless of one's ability to animate those dolls


That's a bit of nonsense John. It is a combination of Ebay and collectors who have produced the high fees for certain sets of figures. Some of the collectors are not performers at all, and those who are don't, as a general rule, pay these exorbitant fees for dolls to use in their show.

I have never heard it suggested that a Punch Profs brilliance in performance had anything to do with who made his puppets or how much he paid for them.

I agree with you wholeheartedly that is a very good thing if people make their own figures, just as it would be great if we could all strip down and repair car engines, do our own electrical work and plumbing, sign-write our own banners and design our own adverts.

But sadly we aren't all multi-talented and so we have to call upon the services of a specialist for the tasks at which we are not competent to achieve a sufficient standard.

That being said, it must be remarked that many of the leading Punch profs do make or have made their own puppets.

I have noticed that, (Without ever having seen them) certain persons have presumed to 'Knock' MY creations!


Any comments about your creations have surely been based on the pictures of your creations that have appeared on the web. Therefore they have been seen. We judge things visually by looking at them - and on a website that is by pictures. It is just the same process by which these people judge other people's puppets on ebay, for example, and decide that they like them sufficiently to pay your exorbitant prices.

So, What makes a maker??

Well surely the ability to make puppets well. Other than that, the successful maker will make puppets that people want to buy, either for their appearance, or their workability.

The ones that fetch the big money in the future will mainly be made in wood (to last over the centuries) and will have strong traditional elements which have come to be associated with Punch. The maker will have a name - they will often be from makers with a big output (therefore the survival rate will be higher) because more will be known about such makers, and collectors do like to also have some background. We know so much more about Quisto, Wal Kent and Fred Tickner than we do about Stanley Maille or Jack Whitehead because of the greater volume of their Punch work. A contemporary example would be John Blundall. He makes beautiful puppets - but perhaps only a couple of Punch figures. He is not known as a Punch maker - but I guarantee that if a Punch carved by him came up for auction we would have a couple of gentlemen wetting themselves.

Its the same with paintings isn't it? There are few, if any, recognised Old Masters who painted a single masterpiece. They are known for the volume of their work. And it is the sheer quality of whole which adds value to that sketch they did on an off-day.


<p>
Last edited by Chris on 15 Sep 2007, 11:14, edited 1 time in total.
It's good to squawk!
Image
User avatar
Chris
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3260
Joined: 05 Jul 2006, 11:13
Location: North Wales

Postby johnstoate » 10 Sep 2007, 14:19

Thank you, Chris, a very reasoned and informative response. - I would just point out that I was aware of the Codman history, and intended my comment to be rather more 'Tongue in cheek' than provocative.
To Les, thanks for the nice comments, - Oddly enough, I'm not too happy with the baby myself, He started out as a junior version of his dad, with mobile arms, and is now in line for a re-make!
John
Weaselly distinguished, Stoatelly different!!
User avatar
johnstoate
Joey's Jewels
Joey's Jewels
 
Posts: 821
Joined: 26 Mar 2007, 15:07
Location: Lancashire

the eye of the beholder

Postby Trev » 10 Sep 2007, 18:10

I think, as I understand John's question, that a 'maker' (if we mean someone who others would ask to make something for them) is rather defined by the buyer. As Chris says, the person who would buy them.

An example might be the set of dolls which were on e-bay some time ago and, as I recall, produced by one of the major producers of bygone days. Initially I thought 'wow! I'd like those', probably because of the name involved.

After reading some other responses about how difficult they might be to use and how some other performers and makers thought they were pretty ugly, I realised I'd been in a bit of an emperor's new clothes frame of mind. When I looked again, I agreed. Maybe a good performer could do something good with them, but it might be an uphill struggle. Upshot, I wouldn't buy them.

My dear little set of Bryan Clarke figures were bought after seeing and meeting Bryan and realising these would be a set I could use and which looked splendid.

However, this might be in contrast to how I think of John Blundall; I don't know if I would buy a Punch figure made by John with a mind to performing my usual show. I say this with no disresepct to him or his craft/art. I just find it hard to imagine his puppets being involved in anything so 'crude' as Punch and Judy. I think John would probably produce (and probably has produced) a superb figure but probably an aesthetic Punch which I would be terrified to batter and bang around. Therefore I don't know if I'd think of John as a Punch 'maker'.

Personally, I like the crude figures as they give me a feeling of a certain 'folky' element. I was recently looking at German kasperl figures which owed much of their appeal to their 'crude-ness'
Trev
Hot Dog
Hot Dog
 
Posts: 309
Joined: 05 Sep 2006, 17:44
Location: Poland

Postby Chris » 10 Sep 2007, 21:16

Crude German Kasperls? Really? I always thought the Kasperl tradition in Germany was very much a woodcarving tradition. I am talking post 1900. And even more so since Die Hohsteiner (sorry about the spelling - too lazy to check) reinvented the tradition.

As for Blundall's figures - I don't think he has made a full set so I wasn't thinking of performance. The one's I have seen exhibited have been a single Punch, or a Punch and Judy couple. But I did say that there was a difference between buying to use and buying to own.

<p>
It's good to squawk!
Image
User avatar
Chris
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3260
Joined: 05 Jul 2006, 11:13
Location: North Wales

yes

Postby Trev » 11 Sep 2007, 09:02

Kasperl is traditionally woodcarving but recently I was looking at some different types on offer in German high-street shops.Some were made of other materials and some were very refined pieces of carving, others were quite 'basic'. The refined ones were pretty but seemed to lack something the more 'folksy' ones had.

re: John Blundall, sorry Chris, I might not have expressed myself very well. I was actually in agreement with your point of 'performance' vs 'collection', that was my point also with regards to who would be considered 'a maker'.
Trev
Hot Dog
Hot Dog
 
Posts: 309
Joined: 05 Sep 2006, 17:44
Location: Poland

Postby Chris » 11 Sep 2007, 11:34

Exactly. There is a big difference between the basic kasperls you describe, and the crude Punch figures which are sometimes of great appeal. The kasperls are basic through skill - mass produced by a skilled craftsman who reduces the number of cuts to the bare minimum. They are slick but soul-less.
The crude Punch figures that have charm result from unskilled woodcarving rather than slickness, but have been worked with enthusiasm, and are similar in their appeal to that evoked by naive and primitive painters, or young children's art.


<p>
It's good to squawk!
Image
User avatar
Chris
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3260
Joined: 05 Jul 2006, 11:13
Location: North Wales

Postby johnstoate » 11 Sep 2007, 11:44

Just at a slight tangent, Chris, could you shed any light on those original Codmans? - My understanding is that Richard,(Senior) carved them from driftwood in order to make a living after becoming stranded in Llandudno after a fire in his living van. Presumably therefore, they were fairly crude. Was that part of their appeal and the subsequent longevity of that particular line, and do they actually still exist somewhere?
John
Weaselly distinguished, Stoatelly different!!
User avatar
johnstoate
Joey's Jewels
Joey's Jewels
 
Posts: 821
Joined: 26 Mar 2007, 15:07
Location: Lancashire

Postby Richard Coombs » 11 Sep 2007, 11:58

Hello john ..I had heard that story slightly differently , in that it was his Horse that died , rather than a fire ( maybe the horse died in the fire??) ..and that left him stranded .

It was a Quizz Question , but I cant for the life of me remember if it was on here or in the Swazzle ...James Arnott set the quiz I believe , so he may know a bit about the first Codman Puppets too.


Best Wishes Richard
User avatar
Richard Coombs
Joey's Jewels
Joey's Jewels
 
Posts: 866
Joined: 16 Aug 2006, 09:42
Location: Lichfield Staffs UK

Postby Chris » 11 Sep 2007, 12:22

No John, not quite. There is a story that he was stranded in Llandudno, because the horse pulling his waggon dropped dead, outside what is now the Links hotel. There is also a story that he carved the first heads from driftwood, and that gave him the idea of starting a Punch show.
But as for being crude, they don't look all that crude to me.

What bothers me somewhat is that you have to ask. You regularly visit this message board and comment and question - yet it would appear you haven't the enthusiasm to look at the website itself. If you had you would have found a menu called "Punch in Pictures" from where you would have clicked the Codman gallery and among them found a picture of some of Richard's heads together with his panpipes.

And if you had clicked on the button called Codman Family Tree you would have seen the reference to the dead horse. Both the dead horse and the driftwood may be apocryphal.

Richard came from Norwich, as his father George. George among his many jobs listed was a one time woodcarver so quite possibly Richard may have learned from him.

<img src="http://www.punchandjudy.com/images/oldcodman1.jpg"><img src="http://www.punchandjudy.com/images/oldcodman2.jpg">
User avatar
Chris
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3260
Joined: 05 Jul 2006, 11:13
Location: North Wales

Postby johnstoate » 11 Sep 2007, 14:16

No offence, Chris, _ I do visit other bits of this excellent site, albeit infrequently, as you must know from your site records. However, by including it in my previous response, it has now been brought onto the board, and therefore into a wider context. I also feel that it is justified, since it IS in the spirit of the original post, the point of which was to invite the sort of discussion, (Which has already introduced this concept of crudeness) as to what makes the appeal of certain makers, and may possibly result in an understanding of the 'essence' that produces the charisma of their work, to the benefit of the next generation of makers/carvers who are just starting out. :|
John
Weaselly distinguished, Stoatelly different!!
User avatar
johnstoate
Joey's Jewels
Joey's Jewels
 
Posts: 821
Joined: 26 Mar 2007, 15:07
Location: Lancashire

Postby Chris » 11 Sep 2007, 15:17

Dear John, I have no site records of who visits where. No such technology exists. The only records of which pages you visit are on your computer - not on mine.
I can see who is on the message board, just as you can. The purpose of that is so that people can send a private message. But it only works because you have chosen to login.
I wasn't complaining about the topic being inappropriate at all, I was just moaning that once again my work in gathering information on this website appears wasted. This in the light of the fact that 90% of the questions I have to answer daily are ones already answered on the website.
Of course they are members of the general public and may be excused for taking the easy way out - that is email me a question rather than looking to see if it has already been answered.
Of course tis but a triviality and nothing to make a song and dance about - but it may explain why I get a touch tetchy when people kindly suggest that this website needs X,Y & Z, when X,Y and Z are already on the site and have been for a few years.
User avatar
Chris
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3260
Joined: 05 Jul 2006, 11:13
Location: North Wales

Postby lesclarke » 11 Sep 2007, 15:35

My own use of the word crude in this context is intended to describe carvings that have a naive/primitive look, but then again most P&J figures tend not to be to carved or modelled with the aim of a realistic representation. So it's probably a case of 'where you draw the line' when saying that one figure is crude/naive/primitive in style compared to another.
I'd say some of the Codman figures fall into this category.

I think part of the appeal of such figures is that they appear slightly unsettling, and that one doesn't know what to expect.
As if I haven't got enough to do today, with all I've got to do today.
User avatar
lesclarke
Joey's Jewels
Joey's Jewels
 
Posts: 758
Joined: 14 Sep 2006, 17:12
Location: Huddersfield, West Yorkshire

Next

Return to Punch Chat

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

cron