his dark materials

These puppets were made for a national touring production of His Dark Materials, a co-production between Birmingham Repertory Theatre and West Yorkshire Playhouse. Each puppet was designed to be operated by one puppeteer.

All of the puppets were made from plastazote. However instead of taking a pattern from a sculpted form, each of the puppet heads were created through trial and error cutting and shaping pieces of plastazote, until the right shape emerged.


Some tips for working with plastazote:

Keep changing blades. When cutting thicker sheets of plastazote try to keep the blade as upright as possible to create an edge which is perpendicular to the face of the material. Some parts of the puppets such as the rabbit limbs were sculpted from blocks of plastazote, using a fretsaw to cut a profile pattern and then a rasp and sandpaper to shape and smooth the form.
Painting plastazote is quite problematic, as the paint does not adhere easily to the surface of the material. The best solution I have found is to use Rosco Flexcoat, which can be applied as a base coat or mixed with pigment.

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