Favorite Tool: Watercolor Pencils

IMG_1285I haven’t done one of these posts in awhile! For both our children’s shows this year, we were very specific about colors and having the right shades for each story and environment. Much of the time, our initial sketches and planning for puppets is done quickly with a basic pencil and paper, but lately Genna and Amy have been adding color with these watercolor pencils.

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What makes these different from regular colored pencils is the way you can brush over your picture with water to blend colors and create a smooth shade. We don’t always do that, but the colors add a lot to our puppet sketches, as you can see here.

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Building Under the Canopy

We’re in the midst of refurbishing old objects and building new ones for Under the Canopy, which Arts on the Horizon will produce in February. After a workshop production last summer, we learned a LOT about how babies respond to objects and what kinds of things capture their attention best. Here are a few photos of us at work as we build umbrella birds and caterpillars, ladder trees and butterflies.

Supplies waiting on the worktable.

Supplies waiting on the worktable.

Pieces for the umbrella bird, waiting to be glued on.

Pieces for the umbrella bird, all cut out and waiting to be glued on.

All glued or sewn on, now waiting for bird tails.

All glued or sewn on, now waiting for bird tails.

Amy and Genna at the worktable.

Amy and Genna at the worktable.

Genna trying out placements for the bird tails.

Genna trying out placements for the bird tails.

Necessary Evil Chores: Organizing Paper

Haven’t done one of these in awhile! I’m cleaning out the studio today, so here is a project that I put off for, oh, maybe a year and a half–organizing our stash of construction paper.

construction paper1We don’t use it very often, so my habit has been to just buy a new stack if we need some and I can’t find the previous pack. Mixed in with all this, I found pieces of rubber foam, cardstock and a few blank puzzles. Hopefully I can keep it all separate from now on!

construction paper 2

Necessary Evil Chores: Organizing Paper

Too much paper!

Too much paper!

As we continue to build paper puppets for Cabinets of Kismet, the materials have started to overflow and as a result, the first floor of my house was rapidly getting submerged in scraps. Genna and I spent part of President’s Day getting it all organized by color and weight.

Genna sorting our many scraps of handmade paper.

Genna sorting our many scraps of handmade paper.

All nicely organized by color and weight, ready to be turned into puppets and set.

All nicely organized by color and weight, ready to be turned into puppets and set.

 

 

Necessary Evil Chores: Hardware Drawer

This is, I think, the most ongoing of my necessary evil chores. Cleaning out the hardware drawer, which most of the time, looks like this:

Messy hardware drawer

Really, the problem is that hardware and tools are meant to live in toolboxes or cabinets that have separate little drawers for all the screws and nails. Someday, when I get to share a big studio with other people (who all are hopefully more organized than I am!) I will have that kind of setup for my hardware and tools. For now, I just take everything out and put it back in again neatly. And it looks like this! For a little while, at any rate.

Neat hardware drawer

Necessary Evil Chores: Organizing Ribbon

Hurricanes are good for something: Getting lots of little evil chores done while the wind and rain make it a bad idea to venture outdoors. I used the enforced leisure time to organize our ribbon boxes, which looked as though Hurricane Sandy had already been through them:

 

 

Several hours, and a LOT of cardboard pieces later, we have nice, neat boxes! Hopefully now it won’t take forever to find the perfect piece of trim for a puppet outfit.

Necessary Evil Chores: Sorting Felt

Today’s Necessary Evil Chore was dealing with the piles of felt in the closet. Felt gets used for lots of different parts of puppets–mouths, tongues, ears–as well as hinges or to pad a handle. Now we can find the correct colors much more easily! Hooray!

Our supply of felt, all mixed up.

All organized in rainbow order!