For my third major project in my time during Core Studio 3D, I was tasked with creating a puppet expressing the particular class theme of “Ocean” in relation to climate change and pollution (although there were a few other students who chose to deviate from the assigned theme). I was given the choice of either working on my own puppet alone, or collaborating with someone else. I chose to cooperate with a class friend of mine (Moussa) in both conceptualizing and creating the puppet, and the final result was not only satisfactory, but mechanically functional.
Moussa and I started out not really knowing what to do, but having the theme of “Ocean” in mind, we ended up facilitating numerous sketches for the creation of a mermaid/merman puppet made out of wooden limbs and covered in plastic. The puppet juxtaposes the mythology of the mermaid/merman in various world cultures (people living underwater) with the ecology of climate change and ocean pollution, envisioning a future of plastic filled mer-people, sick like the aquatic creatures also affected. The plastic covering the merman serves the purpose of driving home the idea of the sheer amount of plastic in the ocean, and is very explicit in its message as a result.
After conceptualizing the puppet, my friend and I both went to the Making Center and started cutting scrap wood to create the limbs and sanding the edges to make them rounder. We ended up going twice to finish getting the arms and the parts of the tail cut. After we cut out all the individual limbs and parts, we drew lines through them, and cut them through in sections using the equipment. We both discussed how we’d get the limbs to attach for the puppet, and Moussa suggested using hooks. The following week, he came with hooks attached to the end of the sections of the limbs and even the head. Since we needed to add sticks to actually manipulate the puppet as part of the project, Moussa and I also went ahead and attached sticks to the back of the puppet with hot glue so it could be controlled from behind. Two sticks were attached behind the hands, one behind the head, one behind the back, and one behind the tail.
After being done with the wooden skeleton of the puppet, Moussa and I spent several hours hot gluing some plastic from plastic bags (which I brought) around the limbs, tail, chest, and head. We both squirted the hot glue on top of the wood, then waited a few seconds for the glue to cool a little, and carefully wrapped around the plastic layer by layer. Then, after we were done with the plastic, we tested out holding the puppet, and had to fix some issues with the hooks being too open, causing other limbs with hooks attached to fall apart. Moussa, however was able to tighten the hooks to make them less likely to fall off. Following this repair, Moussa and I finished the Merman puppet for the Puppet Parade assignment, making it both detachable by the hooked limbs, and manipulable with the sticks.