Mixed Media Marionette
Chandra Cerchione-Peltier constructs a mixed media marionette.
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Chandra Cerchione-Peltier from Murfreesboro, Tenn., shows how she constructs a magnificent marionette. This puppet will entail sculpting a jointed doll out of polymer clay, then painting and stringing it into a beautiful and lively piece of art.
Materials and Tools:
1/4" x 2" red oak cut into three pieces:
- 6" for the handle
2 eye screws
black upholstery thread
water-based polyurethane clear matte sealer
fabric and thread for costume
rubber tipped polymer clay sculpting tool
needle nose pliers
1. Form armature for the head and torso out of aluminum foil, and cover the entire surface with masking tape. Armature for the thighs and upper arms are a basic tube shape made of foil, covered in tape. The feet and lower legs to the knees are made as a single armature, as are the hands and the lower arms.
2. Sculpt head, hands, and feet in polymer clay using one's hands and rubber tipped sculpting tools. Everywhere that the piece will be jointed — such as at the shoulders, tops of thighs, elbows, and knees — insert a loop of craft wire. Be sure to leave a hole in both hands for stringing the piece later. Bake in home oven at 265 degrees for about 20 to 25 minutes on a glass rack.
3. Paint the figure with acrylic paints. Allow to dry thoroughly, and seal with two coats of a water-based polyurethane sealer.
4. Body parts are attached using jump rings, which pass through the craft wire hoops that were secured into the piece before baking in the oven.
5. Costume is cut out and stitched.
6. Marionette handle is of 1/4" x 2" red oak wood, cut into three pieces that are 10 inches, 7 inches, 6 inches. The 7-inch piece is centered at one end of the 10-inch piece, forming a "T" shape, and the two are glued together. Glue the 6-inch piece in front of the 7-inch piece, so that the "T" now seems to have two tops. Drill four holes at either end of both the 6 inch and 7 inch sections, making the holes just large enough to pass a string through.
7. The figure is strung at the shoulders with strings approximately 16-1/2 inches in length, which pass through the holes on the 6-inch piece of wood and are knotted securely. Strings for the knees are about 25 inches long each, and are knotted at the top on either side of the 7-inch piece of wood. The hands are strung continuously from the left hand to the right with one 43 inches length of string, which passes through two eye screws attached at the intersection of the "T". One final 21-inch length of string is attached to the posterior of the figure, and is secured through a hole in the base of the "T" form.
Ceramic, mixed-media and feathers come together to create this unique shadow box.