Head Materals

This is the place for Technical Tips, Questions and Answers.

Postby Nick Jackson » 31 Aug 2007, 23:12

Ah sod the lot of them.
The audiences enjoy my shows and invite me back.
Why should I worry whether the committee of some organisation approves of me or not.
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Postby Chris » 01 Sep 2007, 09:54

Don't you think it rather bad form Nick to revive the topic I have just locked, and in a totally inappropriate thread. I appreciate that you were aided by Billy who couldn't let sleeping dogs snooze.

On a point of fact - the PJF (and I am not a PJF member nor particularly in favour of assessment) do give guidance on the criteria used for assessment. There was a supplement on the topic published along with the Swazzle during the past 12 months and sent to all members - doubtless Mark Andrews could supply a copy to any member who has missed this - and also there is a very helpful article by Geoff Felix entitled "Hints for Associates wanting to become Fellows" which is on the PJF website in the members section.

And Nick, isn't the difficulty for a swazzler to gain full membership pretty imaginary? Do you know of anyone with but a modicum of competence failing?

Also you may not have been reading it at the time, but the issues you continue to raise have quite recently been heatedly discussed on this message board, and at the time I would probably have been seen to be in your corner. But I agree with Richard that it is time to call a halt. I also feel that any political matters concerning either the College or the PJF are the concerns of College and PJF members. If you have matters to raise with the PJF then their AGM is in only a few weeks - that is if you are a member? Although I do wonder whether a fellowship is the place for an attitude of "sod the lot of them".

I won't lock this topic, since apparently such an action isn't respected. I do hope, however, that we can leave this matter a little while. And I do expect that if someone wishes to revive a locked topic in future that they do it openly with a new thread in Punch Chat rather than sneaking it into the workshop section.



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Postby RichardFlatter » 01 Sep 2007, 10:04

Hi head materials - how do you get papier mache figures to be as smooth as wood? Would you simply sand it down?

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Postby Chris » 01 Sep 2007, 10:14

No, don't make it bumpy in the first place.
Depends on the papie mache method - if doing in a mould then your finish will be as smooth as the mould surface - using tissue paper of course. If using the layer method then your final layers will be of tissue. If using a direct modeling method then your surface is smoothed with your wet fingers as with any other form of modeling. When dry you can finish with a layer of Gesso for a very fine finish.
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Postby Mark Andrews » 01 Sep 2007, 10:16

Nick

Your first move would be to join the PJF and we could then send you the assessment articles and score sheets etc, so you can see what is assessed and how etc etc.

These are not published on the PJF website but are readily available to anyone who is a Member, and as Chris says, from time to time we do include details in our Newsletter.
MARK ANDREWS
Secretary of the Punch & Judy Fellowship

Our website http://www.ThePJF.com
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Carving

Postby Punchman » 02 Sep 2007, 03:31

I heard that basswood is better than pine and balsa for carving puppet heads.

Does anyone agree?

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Postby CvdC » 02 Sep 2007, 07:19

Never use pine, it is too heavy and has too much grain. Never use balsa as it is hard to carve. You could use it as a base for papier mache I suppose.
Bass wood may be good. Woods that are too soft are not easy to carve surprisingly. Also they don't take a beating and don't hold an edge, which is why pattern makers don't use them.
The amount of wood you use to make a puppet is very little. A 6" or 5" length of 4"x4". The amount of time you spend carving it and painting it means that the amount of money you spend on the wood is of little consequence. So it pays to buy good suitable wood rather than opt for cheap whatever is available.
A while ago there was a posting here that gave an art & craft web site that sold pieces of Lime which seemed good value - and convenient. £3.50 for a suitable piece of lime.
http://www.greatart.co.uk/WOODFORCARVING-LIMEWOOD.htm


Having made papier mache puppets and wooden ones I'd have to say it is actually easier to make good wooden ones. To saw a defined shape and round it by whatever means is a lot simpler than modelling sticky bits of paper into a pleasant shape. You will see a lot more really disgusting papier mache puppets than wooden ones. Even the poorly carved wooden heads have some charm about them. But a bad papier mache head just makes you want to give up your interest in Punch and Judy altogether.

It must also be remembered that the head is just a proportion of the overall puppet. Wood, paper or latex it still needs to be painted and costumed. In terms of quality and time taken to make the whole puppet the head is just one element.
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.)
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Postby Chris » 02 Sep 2007, 11:11

Chris, if you can remember that far back, this was a question by an eight (now nine) year old boy as the best method for him to make puppets. Wood carving at that age, without professional guidance, is not a good idea.
Papie mache is a superb medium, capable of very good results, and has been used by all the great Punch makers. It has the virtues of being cheap, safe, not too difficult to achieve good results, and can produce a very strong and lightweight product.

Additionally £3 or £4 for wood for each head might be insignificant to many, but perhaps a factor in this case. Also I cannot agree that carving is easier than modelling. Mistakes in modelling can be rectified without starting from scratch, but once you have removed too much wood .....

To an adult who is generally experienced with the use of woodworking tools I would be strongly encouraging to try carving a set of figures in wood. This is immensely satisfying and as Chris vdC says, even a crudely carved puppet can have great appeal.

But to those without general woodworking skills I would suggest that there are quicker and easier ways to achieve good results and of these my choice would be papie mache.
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Postby jimdevo » 03 Sep 2007, 01:19

I use something called Creative Paperclay. They have a website. Molds like clay and air drys rock hard to which it can be sanded,painted,drilled or carved. I roll out thin sheets of the stuff which then covers a styrofoam ball and add clay features. Works great.
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Postby geoff.london » 10 Sep 2007, 11:55

Chris, by the time this discussion finishes, Tom will be in his mid fifties.....
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Postby Chris » 10 Sep 2007, 13:11

And I will be well and truly down under.....
and I don't mean Australia.
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Postby geoff.london » 10 Sep 2007, 17:16

Actually, so will I . Oh dear....
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