In which it’s all over…

Today I packed my baby up in a pickup truck and slowly (think <10 mph) transported it to it’s new home.Image

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Now it’s property of Playful Theatre Productions! And I only have to wait until October 19th to see it in action!

In which Audrey II finally comes to life!

As of this afternoon, I can officially say that the build is finished!

It’s incredibly satisfying to be able to say I just completed my first solo puppet design gig!

Here’s the set of videos I made to give a little overview of the operation: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLBF49100A2F811019&feature=edit_ok

They’re pretty simple, but give you an idea of how the puppets work. I also included a little action clip of the 4th puppet.

Here are just a few final updates on the completion of the build:

The 3rd plant, for some reason eating all the mini plants. Teeth are now in place, and mini plants now have linings.

 

Propped up in my garage, obscuring an entire sedan. Teeth in place, crazy petal rig in place.

Everything looks great, and I’m psyched to hand it off on Wednesday so it can really start coming to life!

 

In which it has sharp pointy teeth…

I played dentist a bit and made a handful of pointy foam teeth for Audrey II 3&4.

 

Which, of course reminded me of this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcxKIJTb3Hg

You’ll also notice that I solved the problem of the transparent black curtain- you can no longer see the puppeteer.

 

That green Kermit colored fabric? That’s a flannel bed sheet from when I was in elementary school. I’ll take the time now to apologize in advance to the puppeteer who has to be in this thing. The foam retains heat like no other, and stitching that flannel in was torture!
On the bright side, it gives the inside of the plant a really neat green glow, so it’s actually “Somewhere That’s Green”.

 

I also made this bleach paint the other day. It’s about 6 ounces of bleach with highlighter ink mixed in. The secret, I found is to hacksaw the crap out of the highlighters and pull out the ink core.

 

I then Jackson Pollock’d the bleach/highlighter mixture all over these leaves, leaving spots anywhere from white to green, which looked pretty cool.

 

Unfortunately, my favorite paintbrush disintegrated in the process.

 

I sewed the little dyed leaves onto the big leaves with some texture, so now there won’t just be giant expanses of green.

 

I also made this arm. It’s essentially just rolled up foam in a basic sleeve attached to a foam-stuffed glove. It can be put in a jacket sleeve and attached to a pot for #2.

To do list:

  • Attach petals to #4
  • Attach teeth to #3
  • Hand off everything!!

In which I invent plant pants…

That’s right, Plant Pants.

 

Basically, this is 2 leaves with straps which tie around the puppeteers calves and a belt. The puppeteer would put on the plant pants before sitting down on the pot stool (wow, gotta come up with a better name for that) and putting the 3rd Audrey II in their lap. The plant pants totally cover the puppeteers legs (I would recommend wearing green pants underneath though), so they can move them around during the song.

I also spent the day spraying some of my leaves a darker green, and subsequently turning into a minor Game of Thrones character.

 

I also made a very important discovery: barge melts plastic cups.

 

These are the little pots for the girls to hold in that last scene with Skip Snip (I could only find ceramic pots and I was afraid they’d break, so I used bright cups that will look good with the plants). Anyway, I barged the leaves to the inside of the cups, and this is the result. That’s the plastic of the cup bubbling. Also, somehow the green paint from the leaves soaked through.

I also started this little science project. I’m soaking highlighters in bleach to create a really cool treatment for the leaves. Basically, the bleach leaches color from the fabric and replaces it with the highlighter ink, which is blacklight florescent. Hopefully that will work.

I also went thrift shop searching for a jacket for Seymour today, and didn’t have much luck. I did get a bright yellow jacket for $2 from a thrift store that was going out of business, but it turns out that it’s a lady’s jacket, so…. oops. Since I have very limited time, I’m going to create the arm and hand and leave the jacket search up to the costumer.

To do list:

  • Sew leaves
  • Assemble the 4th plant
  • Put lining in the mini plants
  • Create fake arm and hand

 

In which there is so much sewing….

Since you last saw me, I’ve finished patterning and sewing ALL of the petals. That’s 5 each for the 3rd and 4th plants which amounts to a ton of machine and hand sewing that’s been keeping me up all hours watching bizarre TV shows.

 

Obviously, the final petals are freakin’ huge! Each one got a machine sewed “pillow case” that was left open at the top so I could wrestle in the foam part and stitch it shut by hand. Each petal was then sprayed with purple florescent paint and hand painted with some pink accents.

The next step was leaves for the biggest plant. The 106″ wide quilting fabric took up more room than was available in the carpeted section of my living room.

 

I wound up cutting 6 leaves of various sizes, and then a few smaller leaves that I’m going to paint a darker color and lay over the bigger leaves. I also saves some of the scraps to use as vines to wind around the stand and make it look more organic. In this picture you get an idea for the size of the leaves and petals for the final plant as compared to the little guy on the floor.

Then tonight I spent a bunch of time stitching petals to the 3rd plant. The leaves at the top didn’t have the stiffness they really needed to stand up because the best gauge floral wire I could find was 12, so I stitched coat hangers to the back of the leaves. The hook part of the hanger is towards the bottom, so to stand the leaves up, the hooks can be attached to the wire frame of the plant, which is pretty cool. Then they can fold flat for storage and transport. I’ll probable have to do something similar to the big petals.

To do list:

  • Attach petals to large plant
  • Paint large leaves
  • Put linings in mini plants
  • Get jacket for Seymour

 

 

In which I do great big stuff…

I’m so close to done I can taste it! It’s so awesome seeing things come together, and with each additional piece I finish, I get a little more of the big picture. 

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The roll of foam I’ve been working with (the 2nd one for this project) is 80″ wide, i.e. the entire width of the smaller bay of my garage. Also, that pattern is made out of half an issue of the Wall Street Journal.

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Here are the leaves for #3 with the floral wire sewn on. You know, I went to get specifically floral wire thinking it would be green, but did you know that 12 gauge floral wire only comes in silver, bronze and black? Why do you call it FLORAL WIRE if it doesn’t come in green!? At any rate, these sides aren’t going to be visible, so it’s not terrible. 
Also, those leaves with just the V of wire on them are going to get straps attached to them so that they cover the puppeteers legs. I spent some time sitting on the seat (an upturned bucket in a large plant pot, very classy), trying to figure this out today and looking very silly.

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I then sprayed the bad sides green with a spray bottle (ghetto airbrush) with watered down acrylic paint strained through a coffee filter. It actually covers really really nice. 

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I also stitched floral wire to the foam pieces for the petals for #3. These will go inside the “pillow cases” I sewed earlier, which still need to be painted.

To do list:

  • Stitch pillow cases closed
  • Paint leaves
  • Sew pillow cases for #4
  • Sew wire for #4 petals
  • Paint petals for #3 and #4
  • Attach linings for mini plants
  • Cut and paint large fabric leaves 

In which I scare some innocent bystanders…

Audrey II got a chance to meet the Little Shop team during auditions on Saturday (as well as half of my family). Over the next 2 days I managed to finish up the paint job on the biggest pod and assemble it in my garage, seriously freaking out the guys who were taking down the tent in our backyard when I popped out from behind a big yellow thing wielding a power drill.

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ImageIt’s now taking up the vast majority of my garage, but I’m happy to report that it’s functional and awesome. 

To do list includes:

  • Line with black fabric
  • Cut foam petals for #3
  • Cut and paint leaves for #3
  • Set petals for #4
  • Cut foam petals for #4
  • Cut and paint leaves for #4
  • Line mini plants
  • Figure out seating situation for puppeteer for #3 (This is actually a much higher priority…hmmm….)

In which I play dentist…

After a full day of superhero movies, the bottom jaw of the 4th plant is covered in yellow spandex…

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And after a day of sitting inside a giant plant wearing a respirator, the top jaw is foamed up and ready to go!

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I’m also please to announce that my little baby got it’s first teeth!

ImageIsn’t it cute?

In which I build an igloo…

Since last you saw Audrey, it’s gained a bottom jaw…

ImageAs well as a frame, which has been spray painted green…

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I also covered the bottom jaw in foam and attached it to the frame today, so tomorrow should be spent stitching spandex to that. 

I also finished stitching petals to all of the mini Audrey IIs.

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All that needs to be done to them is to cover the mouths in black fabric.

 

In which I’m halfway done… wait, I’m halfway done!?

Yes, I’m halfway done! Well, more than that really, I’ve finished the first 2 plants, painted the 3rd and framed half of the 4th – there’s still a lot of work left to do, but at least I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!

ImageFirst plant, default position (closed).

ImageFirst plant slightly open.

ImageFirst plant completely open.

Image2nd plant!

ImageTiny finale plants have gotten a base coat of paint!

It’s great to finally see some success, but there’s still a lot of work to do!