two puppet heads

The progress of two puppets for a forthcoming exhibition with Clive Hicks Jenkins.

Clive has told me all he possibly can about making puppet heads but it just wasn’t falling into place for me.  He visited last Friday; while he sat at the table and fashioned, seemingly effortlessly, a Cyclops head and a pair of sturdy fighting hands, I became more and more disappointed by my own effort. When he and Peter left on Saturday morning I had two blue, badly defined puppet heads, one a small head that I thought would be a girl, another built around a dental cast. Neither felt they were going to amount to anything. Clive was sure they would.

On Monday I started work on them again.

This is the puppet head that had been destined to be a young girl but with the addition of a big nose and a chin the character changed and he became an elderly man.

IMG_5414 IMG_5431

He had such character. I now knew the other head could work too.

The Friday Puppet built around a dental cast. The bulk of the head is tin foil, scrunched into a tight ball, fixed with parcel tape and then blue, heavy duty hand-wipe from Halfords with wallpaper paste as the skin.

IMG_5377Drying in the oven and at its least defined.

IMG_5425An addition of googly eyes to try to give it character. On Monday, cheekbones and a new, thinner neck were fashioned – but I still couldn’t see where he was going.

Then, after finishing the Elderly Man, the eyes came off, the nose nearly did too but I’m glad now that it stayed, and features went on. The last part, the hair, was the hardest.


Bette Davis eyes.

She will be finished with either wax or varnish. Then the hands, the dress and she’s ready for her close up.

Clive said the puppets sort of create themselves and take on a life of their own and it seems he is right. It feels like it’s starting to fall into place now.

IMG_5464Hilary, Bette, Thomas.


8 thoughts on “two puppet heads

  1. Pingback: Clive Hicks-Jenkins' Artlog:

  2. Way to carry on, Philippa!! Clive’s right: the puppets create themselves in your hands! Their life stories won’t be far behind either. All is revealed in time, and these are fabulous! xo AM

  3. It does indeed, she’s great.
    I love the use of dental cast. You have given her such an incongruous appearance, a pretty face with sexy little snarl -don’t mess with her!
    I’ve made a few puppets myself and it does, as Clive says, seem to be truly an organic process. Playing God and bringing forth the beings that want to be.
    Eager to see the finished work.

    • I have two more dental casts to use, Lg, and have tried to get more but they’re deemed ‘medical record’ so can’t be given to the public without consent. They certainly change the feel of the puppet! I’m making a third head at the moment (no teeth!) so will keep you posted. I *should* start thinking about hands and clothes but the heads are so much more interesting at the moment!

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