Mask and Puppet Design and Construction

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
Frame built from 1/2" PVC and covered with pipe insulation.
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
A light muslin is used for the the initial skin to give a surface to apply foam.
Audrey II #3
Top surface foam applied. Using 1" poly foam.
Foam applied to lower jaw.
Base coat paint.
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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
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Audrey II #4
Wiley and the Hairyman
Wiley and the Hairyman
Audrey II #4
Ghost - The Shroud
Audrey II #3
Audrey II #4
Jacob Marley frame
A Christmas Carol
Directed by Dan Stone
Jacob Marley
A Christmas Carol
Directed by Dan Stone
Jacob Marley
A Christmas Carol
Directed by Dan Stone
Ghost of Christmas Present
A Christmas Carol
Directed by Dan Stone
Ghost of Christmas Present Operator
A Christmas Carol
Directed by Dan Stone
Ghost of Christmas Past
A Christmas Carol
Directed by Dan Stone
Foam body construction
Reticulated and poly foam heads
Reticulated Foam head
Finger holes
Poly Foam body construction
Poly foam practice puppet
Bunraku styled
The Crane Wife
Directed by Dan Stone
Bunraku style
The Crane Wife
Directed by Dan Stone
Giant Oragmi Cranes
The Crane Wife
Directed by Dan Stone
Styrofoam Heads
The Crane Wife
Directed by Dan Stone
Paper Mache'
Cardboard puppets
Sing to Me Through Open Windows
Directed by Dan Stone
Cardboard puppet
Sing to Me Through Open Windows
Directed by Dan Stone
Wire fram snake
The Streethawker
Directed by Dan Stone
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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 a 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
Half mask sculpture
Hydrocal Mold
This mold is filled with a liquid latex
Bear Mold
Semi hard latex
Joe Sculpture
Joe- Unpainted
Joe-Painted
Joe
Joe
Bear Half Masks
Zanni sculpture
Ester
Gladys Sculpture
Easter and Gladys
Zanni
Brighella
Arlecchino
Arlecchino
Pantalone
Dottore
Pantalone and Dottore
Zanni
Commedia - Zanni
Frogs
Couch foam heads with plastic softball eyes
Lizards
Couch Foam heads with Nerf football eyes
Paper Mache
Fosca
Capitano
Batocci (Slap Sticks) Commedia
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Zanni