Brollies and vikings and dragons, Oh My…

I’ve fallen in with a bad crowd – light entertainers! I’m helping out a little with props for their party in the woods at the weekend, with a viking theme!

I’ve aided with some figureheads for ‘viking longtents’, will be cranking out some banners later, and have been working today on a dragon costume. My housemates were chucking out some old skate helmets, so I’ve taken the hard foam core, added some umbrella-ribs and wire, stuck it all together with gallons of hot glue, then bridged the frame panels of craft foam to flesh it out. I added on a lightweight plastic tablecloth for the body, and I’ve just papier mâché’d over it, using a mixture of water, pva and acrylic paints to add a bit of a tint. I can’t wait to see how it looks when it’s dry!

The notion is to fix a powerful torch under the lower jaw, then chase people around the woods – if you’re illuminated, you’re scorched out of the game! I might have to counterweight the back of the helm to keep it stable, but for now, enjoy some dragon building pics :D

Mixed media creature

Hand-puppet antlered beast, combining soft and sculpted elements into creature construction.

The eyes are made from lenses salvaged from DVD drives, with backs delicately painted with metallic orange varnishes, then embedded into oven-hardening clay. The ears and antlers are attached separately through the fur.

Shoulder puppet – Beauregard

For some reason, the idea of a pirate with a pet sea slug seemed dreadfully amusing. Of course it would perch as a parrot might, be brightly coloured, and wave vaguely around in response to passers-by.

This translucent and delightfully frilly nudibranch has trembling antennae and can rear its body up from the wearer’s shoulder – see the video.

Starting with a length of aquarium tubing, I hammered half-toothpicks halfway through the tube to anchor thermoplastic vertibrae. These brace the articulating wire cable, so that it can pass from the head, down the length of the body, and rejoin the base tube at the tail end, which carries it down to a discrete handle. Sandwiching foam sheets around the tube made a base for the body, floaty gauze fabric fleshed it out, and guitar-string wires make satisfyingly twangy antennae.

The whole thing can be mounted on the shoulder with a thermoplastic bracket over or under clothes, and the handle’s surprisingly comfortable and easy to use.

I love thermoplastic.