Mask and Puppet Design and Construction

Brighella
Zanni
Pantalone
Fosca
Arlecchino
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The mask isn't just confined to the face. The mask encompasses the entire body...movement, speech and posture.            - Dan Stone

You can view videos of some of these puppets in action if you visit the Media section of this site.

Audrey II

Desgining and building a series of Audrey II puppets for for Little Shop of Horrors that I am also directing.  Below are images of the building phases of  the larger Audrey II puppets.

Audrey II #3
Audrey II #3

Frame built from 1/2" PVC and covered with pipe insulation.

Audrey II #3
Audrey II #3

Finished frame. All PVC covered with pipe insulation. PVC was heated with a heat gun and bent into shape.

Audrey II #3
Audrey II #3

A light muslin is used for the the initial skin to give a surface to apply foam.

Audrey II #3
Audrey II #3

Top surface foam applied. Using 1" poly foam.

Foam applied to lower jaw.
Foam applied to lower jaw.
Base coat paint.
Base coat paint.

Working skeleton of Audrey II  #4

I enjoy re-purposing materials and creating with found objects.  Making leaves for Audrey II #3, I utilized  couch foam and electrical wire.  The wire came from the wall in our shop as electricians re-wired the theater. Patterns drawn and cut, the edges are connected with spray adhesive. The wire is placed in the middle of the sprayed edge  and then pinched down around the wire. The wire helps to shape the leaf.

Puppets

I create a number of different types of puppets from variety of materials.  Depending on the project I will use poly foam or found objects. I have experience in building a variety of puppets including foam "Muppet" styled puppets, Balinese styled shadow puppets, Bread and Puppet styled back pack puppets and others.

You can view videos of some of these puppets in action if you visit the Media section of this site.

Foam edge sprayed with adesive

Wire placed in the middle of the edge

Edge pinched down around the wire

Edge pinched down around the wire

Adhesive sprayed down the center

Wire placed along adhesive line

Wire placed along adhesive line

Foam pinched around the wire to create a crease in the leaf.

Foam pinched around the wire to create a crease in the leaf.

Unpainted leaf

Audrey II #4
Audrey II #4
Wiley and the Hairyman
Wiley and the Hairyman
Wiley and the Hairyman
Wiley and the Hairyman
Audrey II #4
Audrey II #4
Ghost - The Shroud
Ghost - The Shroud
Audrey II #3
Audrey II #3
Audrey II #4
Audrey II #4
Jacob Marley frame
Jacob Marley frame

A Christmas Carol Directed by Dan Stone

Jacob Marley
Jacob Marley

A Christmas Carol Directed by Dan Stone

Jacob Marley
Jacob Marley

A Christmas Carol Directed by Dan Stone

Ghost of Christmas Present
Ghost of Christmas Present

A Christmas Carol Directed by Dan Stone

Ghost of Christmas Present Operator
Ghost of Christmas Present Operator

A Christmas Carol Directed by Dan Stone

Ghost of Christmas Past
Ghost of Christmas Past

A Christmas Carol Directed by Dan Stone

Foam body construction
Foam body construction
Reticulated and poly foam heads
Reticulated and poly foam heads
Reticulated Foam head
Reticulated Foam head
Finger holes
Finger holes
Poly Foam body construction
Poly Foam body construction
Poly foam practice puppet
Poly foam practice puppet
Bunraku styled
Bunraku styled

The Crane Wife Directed by Dan Stone

Bunraku style
Bunraku style

The Crane Wife Directed by Dan Stone

Giant Oragmi Cranes
Giant Oragmi Cranes

The Crane Wife Directed by Dan Stone

Styrofoam Heads
Styrofoam Heads

The Crane Wife Directed by Dan Stone

Paper Mache'
Paper Mache'
Cardboard puppets
Cardboard puppets

Sing to Me Through Open Windows Directed by Dan Stone

Cardboard puppet
Cardboard puppet

Sing to Me Through Open Windows Directed by Dan Stone

Wire fram snake
Wire fram snake

The Streethawker Directed by Dan Stone

Life Cast Mold Making

Making life casts for actors can be an intimidating and complex procedure.  This requires the actor to sit motionless for a period of time breathing only through straws inserted into the nose. It is important to make sure that the actor is made to feel as comfortable as possible. The procedure needs to accomplished quickly and efficiently.  It is best to have all materials set up and ready to go. There is quite a bit of preparation that goes into this process Below is a brief explanation of three key moments of the process.

  • A mixture of dental Alginate is applied to the subjects face in thin layers.

  • The Alginate is then wrapped with wet plaster bandages to keep the Alginate mold held together.

  • Once the plaster bandage support mold is dry then it can be gently lifted off the face and then filled with a mixture of Hydro-Cal to create the final bust,

Masks

I sculpt and build masks and generally I will take a life cast of an actor to produce a bust. On top of this bust clay is used to sculpt the mask and then a Hydrocal mold is made around the entire bust and sculpture to create a negative.  It is from this negative  that the mask is created, using paper mache or by pouring a semi-hard latex to create the  mask.

 

Below are images of a handful of masks made with this technique.  Most of the masks below are Commedia dell' Arte masks.

Sculpture Start
Sculpture Start
Half mask sculpture
Half mask sculpture
Hydrocal Mold
Hydrocal Mold

This mold is filled with a liquid latex

Bear Mold
Bear Mold
Semi hard latex
Semi hard latex
Joe Sculpture
Joe Sculpture
Joe- Unpainted
Joe- Unpainted
Joe-Painted
Joe-Painted
Joe
Joe
Joe
Joe
Bear Half Masks
Bear Half Masks
Zanni sculpture
Zanni sculpture
Ester
Ester
Gladys Sculpture
Gladys Sculpture
Easter and Gladys
Easter and Gladys
Zanni
Zanni
Brighella
Brighella
Arlecchino
Arlecchino
Arlecchino
Arlecchino
Pantalone
Pantalone
Dottore
Dottore
Pantalone and Dottore
Pantalone and Dottore
Zanni
Zanni
Commedia - Zanni
Commedia - Zanni
Frogs
Frogs

Couch foam heads with plastic softball eyes

Lizards
Lizards

Couch Foam heads with Nerf football eyes

Giraffes from Streethawker
Giraffes from Streethawker
Paper Mache
Paper Mache
Fosca
Fosca
Capitano
Capitano