Pleased with my Punch

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Pleased with my Punch

Postby Chris Richard » 22 Oct 2010, 01:10

Hello,

This is my first post on the forum, though I've been reading it for a couple of years.

After many years away from puppetry, I have returned later in life to try my hand at Punch and Judy.

Although I am involved with 18th century reenacting and may eventually do shows at historical events, I'm going to explore other performing possibilities in my local area.

I have nearly finished Mr. Punch. He only needs his legs. His head was made by layering a papier mache of brown paper and newsprint with thinned down white glue over a form carved from foam. His neck is PVC plastic pipe. I cut his hands from a soft, flexible 1/4 inch craft foam.

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Though he's made of modern materials, at a distance of two feet he looks quite historical, I think.

I welcome your comments.

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Re: Pleased with my Punch

Postby johnstoate » 22 Oct 2010, 10:27

Looks like a fine effort to me - Well done :D - My only criticisms being ; Whether the hands are 'workable' in the sense of being able to pick up such props as the slapstick. and the (seemingly) rather small 'Hunch'
But that's just personal preference. All in all, looks like quite a nice figure to me.

PS; There's a couple of 'Richards' on here too, -It's my middle name! :lol:
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Re: Pleased with my Punch

Postby Miraiker » 22 Oct 2010, 11:34

I agree, it looks a great effort. Nicely painted too. Once you've used him for a while you may choose to change the hands to wooden ones for practical purposes.

John, are we due some pictures of your figures?
How are you getting on with your replacements? Did you ever get any of the original gear back?
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Re: Pleased with my Punch

Postby Chris Richard » 22 Oct 2010, 11:50

I might rework the hands, but I didn't like the wooden pair. The hands are not in a tube of any sort, but are attached into the inner sleeve. My fingertips reach right to the wrists. The stick and the baby being the only things he'll need to pick up, I think that holding them with his arms works just as well as anything. Can Punch really swat someone with his stick by holding it out at his fingertips? I usually see him wrapping his arms around the stick.

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All of the books and instructions I consulted--"Successful Punch and Judy," Fraser's "Punch and Judy," and other sources were all pretty vague about the actual construction and securing of hands.
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Re: Pleased with my Punch

Postby Chris » 22 Oct 2010, 20:37

Most of the very old Punch and Judy figures I have seen have had wooden hands, small in proportion to the head, with a groove round the wrist and the end of the coat sleeve gathered with thread securing to the hand via this groove. This in the days when Punchmen tended to make their own puppets. The puppeteers fingers in the sleeve do not enter the hand - thus the hands flap at the end of the sleeve. This I have always thought to be a characteristic of Punch manipulation as the puppets count or emphasise by striking the playboard. More modern puppets - those produced commercially - perhaps since the 1940s have often had an extension to the hand, a sort of splint. This is like a flat lollipop stick or tongue depressor extending from the wrist at the back of the hand. Thus the finger, while not attached to the hand, does have some extra control. You can see this in action in many shows where they not only speak the dialogue but also send semaphore messages to those out of earshot or suffer a hearing impairment.
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Re: Pleased with my Punch

Postby CvdC » 27 Oct 2010, 00:06

One thing I found is that if you make your heads too round the eyes will look out to the side rather than out to the front. I call this Egyptian eye.
So it is best to have the front, back and sides a little flat as shown in the diagram below.

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Re: Pleased with my Punch

Postby Chris Richard » 27 Oct 2010, 00:31

Chris (vdC), I had intentionally painted his eyes cast slightly outward because when he's in action he's rarely facing the audience dead on. Generally one side--most often his right--is facing outward. By cocking his eyes outward a bit, he keeps better eye contact when he's side to.

It also makes him look somewhat deranged when he is looking at you straight on.

I appreciate everyone's helpful comments.

My first internet contact with a real Punchman was a bit of correspondence with Tony James through a US busking forum a couple of years ago. He was very helpful when I was taking my very first steps into the Punch world after being away from puppetry for almost 30 years. He pointed me to Ray DaSilva, from whom I purchased Glyn Edwards' book and Edwin's Hallo Mister Punch. (I've owned Fraser's Punch and Judy since the 1970s sometime.)

You folks are very generous with your help.

CJR
Last edited by Chris Richard on 27 Oct 2010, 17:30, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Pleased with my Punch

Postby Nick Jackson » 27 Oct 2010, 08:04

Chris Richard wrote:I appreciate everyone's helpful comments.... You folks are very generous with you help

How very nice to see comments like this.
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Re: Pleased with my Punch

Postby lesclarke » 01 Nov 2010, 14:59

Hi Chris,
it seems that your questions on the other thread, re - the price of puppets, and the limited choice, or rather the limited range of qualities available, comes from the frustration of realising that to get a decent sized set together involves a lot of work, or laying out a lot of money.

Personally I'm good at starting puppet heads, but usually never get round to finishing them. I enjoy the process, but there is usually nothing really 'pushing' me to fully finish a figure.

I have in the past wondered how long it would take me to produce a 'set' if I was really motivated.

Out of this pondering, I came to two conclusions, firstly, that I 'think about it too much', and secondly if I really had to produce a 'set', I'd work on a group of figures all at the same time. If you were making, say four figures I think there would be real time-saving benefits.

So if you continue with your foam/papier mache method, perhaps you could make several at the same time. Certainly when you come to the painting I'm sure you'll find it will save time.
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Re: Pleased with my Punch

Postby Chris Richard » 01 Nov 2010, 17:01

Good suggestion, Les,

The time, effort and/or price are also because Punch and Judy puppets are subjected to a lot of physical abuse and need to be very sturdy.

Back years ago when I performed non-Punch puppet shows regularly, I could throw together a set for a fairy tale or something in a couple of days if I needed to by shoving styrofoam balls on cardboard tubes, gluing on noses, painting them, and attaching hair and quickly sewn bodies. In fact, I have a set of really poorly made Punch and Judy characters that I made for a single show twenty years ago. When I pulled the case down from the attic to see if there was anything I could salvage, I was disappointed at how crudely made they were. They would never stand up to being whacked with wooden sticks time and time again.

Unfortunately, at this time I rarely have more than an hour or two at a time to devote to puppet making. To a certain extent I do have more than one puppet underway at the same time, but it's going to take a while.

Judy has one layer of brown paper over her foam core right now.
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Re: Pleased with my Punch

Postby johnstoate » 03 Nov 2010, 00:32

Oddly enough, I've recently had occasion to make a full set in a hurry :roll: . Using me usual papier-mache technique, I built a complete set of basic head shapes, (Left handed) and two Right-handed (For Punch) Then built the rest of the features for the individuals. My biggest problem proved to be 'drying time' , But the net result was a very basic set of workable figures in a relatively short space of time (2-3 weeks including painting and dressing, working more or less 'spare time' odd hours as available) So, I'd say, 'Get in there, and make a start' - Once you've finished them, it will still take quite a bit of time to 'work them in' and establish their characteristics before you can show competently with them - Best of luck,
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Re: Pleased with my Punch

Postby Chris » 03 Nov 2010, 10:35

So you lost your Punch in the robbery as well John? That must have gutted you. We would love to have some pictures of your new puppets.
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Re: Pleased with my Punch

Postby Punchman » 04 Jan 2011, 04:19

What size PVC pipe did you use?
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Re: Pleased with my Punch

Postby Chris Richard » 05 Jan 2011, 23:15

The inside diameter of the PVC pipe is 1-5/8 inches. I use two fingers in the head and it fits me perfectly.
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Re: Pleased with my Punch

Postby lesclarke » 06 Jan 2011, 18:18

Stout cardboard tubes with an internal diameter of approx one inch, (external 1.25") are very convenient as a basis for heads and are found on the inside of rolls of cloth, so check out fabric shops or market stalls.
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