Creaturiste's Laboratory

Techniques, works in progress, and everything that doesn't fit in the portfolio. Comments and questions are encouraged, custom orders are welcome!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Sock+puppet head+fingers = Extreme Control

Click on Video for movement!
Head and neck are one piece, with neck ending in a ball shape. The sock's top is wrapped over the ball with a rubber band. Puppeteer's hand is inside the sock, fingertips holding the ball, and rolling it in any direction required for movement.

Arms could be added to the body (I intend to for this puppet's project), making sure to include a re-enforcing material inside the sock to precent unravelling (small plastic doll joints, or a washer made of fabric, perhaps).
The arms will be activated by rods on a pivot inside the hand, or wrist, or elbow, depending on what works best for this size and puppeteer positions within the sets.

The sock is not pierced, so it will not unravel, and could easily be removed for washing, or for changing the puppet's body. I used a fuzzy, very stretchy sock made of synthetic material (Polyester and Spandex for this one). This type of fancy sock is sometimes hard to find, depending on the season and what is the current fashion. One brand: Bochi Brothers.

All the socks of this type that I've seen were made in China. I find mine in variety stores, dollar stores, department stores, and drugstores, usually in the ladies clothing or accessory department. Many colors are available. Some socks have added designs, some have rubber spots (as an anti-slip)

This is a quick prototype to solve a specific puppet's problem, which turned into a whole other type of puppet. It happens, and this time, it was for the best. A longer neck inside the sock might improve grip for finer control. (UPDATE: I implemented it, it works!) You see irregular shapes while the head is moving (hand inside), but with a costume, it would be less noticeable, and even less if there was some sort of semi-rigid shell inside the top of the sock. Or the underlying movements could be exploited, a Blob person might be interesting!

For the curious, the head is a core of compacted (hammered) aluminum foil, the neck is a dowel, all is covered in Celluclay(paper mache product from Activa), applied and dried in multiple stages, then sanded. (still in progress).

Mathieu René Créaturiste, February 14, 2008