Policeman

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Policeman

Postby Richard Coombs » 21 Nov 2013, 00:20

...And NO this is not about my current forays into Cop-Carving :-)

Except that while uploading a few new pics of my build to my flickr pages , I stopped to have a little look around Flickr.

Les Clarke has a wonderful set in his albums of him remaking a Laughing Policeman.

Both the new figure , and the older one he is updating are quite superb to behold ..really characterful and bold in style.

The Laughing Policeman looks Punch and Judy sized ...I am not sure if it is part of his Show ? , or a warm up figure used outside the booth ? or a puppet used for something else entirely ?

But it is wonderful workmanship.

I won't put on the link - as it is not my page to do so - (Anyone already viewing Les' flickr pages will already know where to look.)
But perhaps next time he is on here Les might add a link himself , along with a word or two about how he uses this splendid puppet perhaps ?

There are also some pics on there of a carved Devil head before it is painted ...again quite wonderful , bold carving : really nice to see .

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Re: Policeman

Postby lesclarke » 21 Nov 2013, 14:32

As has been said before Richard, 'The show's the thing!'

Bruce McLeod 'knocked-up' a set of figures from his garden fence and did a great show, with lots of 'attack.'
(Though not all figures based on fence posts are successful, eh James?)

But,the figures ARE fascinating in their own right, and it can be loads of fun making figures. Either with a real purpose in mind, or if you have the luxury of spare time, just experimenting with new techniques and styles. It's not for everyone, and can be daunting for the beginner, but I would encourage anyone to 'do their own thing' and not be put off by the thought that theirs may not match up to the standard of the recognised makers. We should encourage original approaches.

My own problem is that some times my making lacks real 'focus', I will start a project and not finish it. Partly this is due to me not having sewing skills, and so rely on working with someone else. In the last few years I have had lots of enthusiasm for starting heads, a fascination of how they develop, and basically no real desire or need to see them finished.


In my defense I would say that in part I am also searching for a 'style' to 'eventually' make my own full set.

The replacement 'Laughing-Policemen' were a slightly different story. Still not finished, it was a clear-cut 'focused' project, but 'fizzled-out' near the end when I realised that I was replacing a simple bit of business with something much more complicated, which would deliver little or no real improvement, and add two more bulky figures to the excessive amount I already cart about.

But it was interesting to do, and KISS, 'Keep It Simple Stupid' is always worth remembering.

I really liked the style of this PC that sold on ebay a while back.
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Re: Policeman

Postby Chris » 22 Nov 2013, 00:29

Yes, he's lovely. But not a style to be copied. Primitive art can not be copied or imitated once you have a degree of skill. One loses the innocent eye. It is like child or true primitive painting, they have no conception of perspective or depth or vanishing points or proportion. They just draw and paint the way things seem to them. An adult can never paint like a child, and when they attempt it the result looks false.

When I was around 6 or 7 I won an art prize for designing a road safety poster for a Bradford City campaign. I remember being baffled by an Uncle who measured the width, top and bottom, of my zebra crossing to see if I had applied perspective correctly. Why would it be narrower on the other side of the road? That would just be daft.

But there is something particularly charming about Punch figures made with great love but no sophisticated skill. Someone has just had a go because they wanted some puppets, and because they have done it out of enthusiasm their lack of technique doesn't matter, in fact it can enhance the result. To me, the very worst puppets are those that look like little people. Realism has no place in puppetry, and certainly not in Punch.
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I quite like these - but none have quite the simple charm of that policeman posted by Les.
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Re: Policeman

Postby lesclarke » 22 Nov 2013, 00:58

You have summed that up well Chris, and I agree with your conclusions.
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Re: Policeman

Postby Richard Coombs » 22 Nov 2013, 01:55

I concur with all the above.

That police figure you posted does have real charm Les.

There is no shame on working on something that then doesn't get used.
I imagine that is something we have all done. Working on something for the experience and fun of it alone is often reward enough.

I think your laughing policeman are quite stunning Les.


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Re: Policeman

Postby lesclarke » 22 Nov 2013, 10:44

Just to make it clear Richard, these two figures are mine, in terms of the fact that I do possess them, and I am remodelleing them, taking the excellent heads and making new mechanisms, converting to PCs etc, but they, or rather the heads are not 'mine'! i.e they were not originated by me.

Don't want to be thought to be claiming credit for something I had no hand in.

I explained this when I originally posted pics and info on them in March, 2012, in a thread started by Chris 'Just for a laugh' about a youtube clip of Ken Dodd, as one of the figures was originally Ken Dodd. Bit quoted below...

"I am at present converting a Ken Dodd rod puppet into one of a pair of Laughing Policemen, it was one of several figures originally made (by a very talented puppet-maker Brandon Corns) for a TV program along the lines of 'Ken Dodd & the Taxman' they didn't appear very much in the final edit, but have real character."

Link to this posting:
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1453&p=10749&hilit=+laughing+policeman#p10749

Brandon Corns worked on Willoughby Drive series: couple of links
http://www.dolphinpuppetfilms.co.uk/History/history.htm

...and lived in Huddersfield for a while, no idea where he is now, web search finds nothing, so may not be still involved with puppets.
... aslso bit in the Puppet Master
http://www.dolphinpuppetfilms.co.uk/Art ... Master.pdf

And yes Richard, sometimes if you have an idea you HAVE to work through it, even though you know from experience not everything will be used.
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Re: Policeman

Postby Chris » 22 Nov 2013, 13:35

I think starting projects which never get completed must be common among puppeteers, it is certainly the story of my life. But I suppose that is to be expected by the nature of our calling. Aren't we all dreamers?
And sometimes we wake to reality before the dream is finished.

And its funny how we cling on to our dreams. I have material or puppets or props put on oneside for some project or another which I will never complete. I perhaps haven't touched them for thirty years but will I throw them out? Certainly not.
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Re: Policeman

Postby lesclarke » 22 Nov 2013, 15:08

I like the term 'dreamers' Chris, and am willing to be included in that description, and good to know that you have had your share of 'uncompleted' projects.

A few years back I had an idea to make a life-size seagull, so it could perch on top of my booth. I then realised it would never get used, so didn't proceed. I clearly knew it would be a wasted effort, when I had better things to do. But then for months I would keep remembering the idea, and in the end -in the full knowledge that it would never get used - I thought I had better get on and it made, so I could 'move on'.

It was quickly completed, and has sat in my kitchen ever since.
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Re: Policeman

Postby Richard Coombs » 23 Nov 2013, 14:38

Ahhh yes , I too rather like that description , count me in a s 'Dreamer' too.


Thanks for linking to the 'Just for a Laugh' posting again Les - I sat and chuckled at the Ken Dodd singing clip when it was first put on here by Chris ...and have just done the same looking at it again today , what a talent that man is.

And I should have remembered you posting about your laughing policeman there too , but didn't.
I hope you didn't mind me pointing folk to it on your flickr pics ?

There is so much good stuff on your flickr site Les , I go and have a look every now and then.
Quite often it is when I am halfway through some bit of puppet building madness , I go there just to reassure myself I am not alone in the world ...there are other folk mad enough to spend all this time making fiddlesome things.

Usually a look at your whole wonderful process of making that Quisto-esque Crocodile sets me right again.

Nice to see other Dreamers Dreaming. :-)
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Re: Policeman

Postby Richard Coombs » 23 Nov 2013, 14:44

And yes Chris , I also have lots of half finished bits and pieces around the place.

Like you say it is all part of the process , and I am sure all puppet makers are the same.

And as Les says : sometimes you just have to push through and finish something even if you are not sure what for anymore , or the original reason for making it has changed or gone.

Or as with my Queen of Hearts , make it even though you know upfront that it is only going to get very , very occaisional use.

The process itself is oftentimes enough reason to do something . Just for itself , for what it teaches you or simply the sheer pleasure of the doing.

There are no rules to 'dreaming' , in our artistic slumbers we are free.


Best wishes to anyone embarking on some winter 'snoozing'
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Re: Policeman

Postby CvdC » 25 Nov 2013, 03:26

The naive style.
I keep a collection of this sort of puppet on my computer. Just to remind me.
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Re: Policeman

Postby lesclarke » 25 Nov 2013, 16:17

Richard, just located you latest PC on Flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/rkcpuppets/page1/ ...and I will have a good look this evening. I find unfinished puppets are fascinating. Need also to have a look at your design of hands again, it is something I always have trouble getting my head round in 3D.

The link for my various set on Flickr if anyone is interested is at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/properpunch/sets/

Not liking the period between Christmas and New Year I traditionally used to have a little making project so I had something to show for this 'lost' time of year.
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