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always something to think about …

September 18, 2021

While my journey into animation has been closely mixed with the notion of marionettes and puppetry for me, they are symbiotic; until one discusses the stage required.  I use a Black and Decker Work Mate as an animator might use a tabletop; with an adjustable pair of vices with the use of clamps I can rig up a back screen. This, Binyon suggests, is a plain curtain or painted background and best so the puppets so they can be seen as clearly as possible.  ‘Your marionettes must be so expressive so the audience will imagine the scene’ (Binyon, H. 1966) As my puppets do not have strings or hands to govern them, I do not need a complicated structure or a proscenium stage with more complex lighting system.  Filming outside, while I do not have light difficulties, I am limited to daylight hours.  I have experimented with back screens and discovered that while they might add another element to the action and story, they do cause technical problems with camera, when it focuses on the back cloth instead of the characters. With careful stitching I have learned to make them less attractive to the camera lens.  It is for this reason Binyon does not advocate scenery.  As I am a Textile artist first and puppeteer at present by default and due the Covid isolation I am keen to find an alternative to my garden limits, such as the bushes, trees, and my neighbour’s washing as it blows in the wind. 

After washing and unpicking the seams of some seed potato sacks found in the shed, I draped one over the back screen. With its open weave, drab colour and no adornment it served well as a background.  So, while I have managed to navigate a rather a haphazard path through the busyness of animation, puppetry, stage, and costume design; to leave an opportunity to stitch something is an anathema.  Especially as Covid and its restrictions has given me time to consider stillness, silence and space and a chance to the perfect juxtaposition. 

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