Well, it’s been two and a half weeks since our anniversary, and we haven’t had time to work on my rug monster mostly because a) I was running the sound board for Nutley Little Theatre‘s production of The Beauty Queen of Leenane, and my wonderful wife Kay has been rehearsing for The Barn Theatre‘s production of Stephen Sondheim‘s Assassins (information about when the show is running can be found here).
This afternoon, however, Kay had neither Fight Club (a nickname Kay and her coworkers have for their employer so they can refer to it in public and have it remain anonymous to people who don’t know them) nor rehearsal, so we set off to work. First, Kay had me watch a series of videos she’d found online about making monster puppets. Then, after that, I sat down to read a very long and detailed brain dump from my friend Missa who offered to tell me everything (and I mean everything) she could put down in words about working with fur. One of the things I’d never thought about is looking at which way the fur goes before you decide where to cut your pieces out of. If not, you could wind up with the fur on your puppet pointing upwards once you cut it out.
Finally, I was ready to actually get around to making the pattern. Generally, you don’t want to just cut up fur/fleece/foam willy-nilly when you’re making a puppet. You make a pattern on paper first, then you cut from that pattern. The reason is two-fold: if what you did works the first time out, you can then repeat it because you have a pattern (because puppets wear out, you’ll want to make replacements as time goes on). If, however, what you wind up doing doesn’t work, then when you go to correct your problem you’ll know what you did originally.
This is the pattern I drew, on the back of some old Christmas wrapping paper:
This means the monster’s reach will be about four-and-a-half feet. I’m going to lengthen the torso a little more, but the most important part of the pattern was the placement/sizing of the hands and head. I’m going for a full-out Henson two-handed monster; when I’m working him by myself, I’ll just stuff one of his hands and pin it down, but Kay really wants to work the hands with me when I operate this puppet.