Lips, Arms, Eyes and Voila…Meet Terrance!

Today is the last entry, hooray! So the lips first. After determining how long the lip line was, I cut some fleece into the shape of a flattened oval. It was then rolled up and a quick stitch applied to hold the general shape. The tapered shape helps the material from getting too bulky at the ends. These ends were tucked into wrinkles at the corners of the mouth and then I carefully hot glued the rest to the edge of the mouth.  It looked pretty good but  it was pulling away from the face more than I wanted  so I decided to stitch the lip to the skull.  A straight needle was not going to do for this area and curved upholstery needles were just way too large.  I took a few needles and heated them up with a torch and bent them around a piece of small  copper pipe.  I then sharpened them ends on a stone because the points were quite dull.  They worked fairly well and I managed to stitch both lips down.  Some research on the web showed that they do make small curved needles for quilting so I will have to look into those.

Arms were created by folding the material over on itself and sketching in a basic arm shape with a marker.  I then followed the lines on the sewing machine.  The arms were inverted with the help of some surgical snaps to pull through the fingers. I then made an extra hand with a lot of long fingers, inverted it and then cut the fingers off.  These are to be my thumbs and strange bits of bumps sticking out all over the place.  Small slices were placed in the palms, the fingers were pushed through so they stuck out of the slice and machine stitches were run across the palms to hold everything in place.  Some oval shapes were then cut from the fleece and cross shaped cuts were placed in the center of those.  The arms ends were inserted into those cross shaped cuts. The end flaps of the arms were sewn to the bottom face of the oval shapes.  Then these were hand-sewn to the body.

The eyes: one of them is a ballistic ball and the other is a ping-pong ball.  They were painted with acrylics to go along with the overall color scheme and texture.  When I had initially made the skull, I figured out where the eyes were going to rest.  I had removed foam from that area because I wanted the eyes to be sunken into the form and not just sit on top.  I cut out small circles of the fleece where these recesses where at and clipped the edges of the fleece to relieve tension.  I kept flipping back until the eye rested easily in the socket and then they were hot glued down. The eyes were hot glued down so that the pupils are slightly crossed thus giving the illusion that the puppet is actually looking at you.  If the eyes are  parallel then the effect is just the opposite.
So that is it. Fini. This series of entries is not intended as a tutorial but to demonstrate how one process was done.  A lot of what was in my notes and sketches was abandoned as chaff and dead ends of experimentation. Most of what I have wrote is the condensation of what was left. You should, of course, explore your own methods and if anything I’ve done here helps you in your efforts, then terrific!

So Terrance is done! Here are his pictures.  I am hoping to make a small one or two minute video of a quick skit so we can see how he moves.  Any comments or suggestions, please let me know: )