I’ve joined a theatre company, Broken Spectacles. The wonderful Helen Aldrich began it and invited the equally wonderful Rosie Race and me to join her on a production called At Sea.
We wanted a little girl puppet and I thought I’d share the process of designing and making her.
So first, there’s the sketch…
This is what I scribbled in my diary…
I then spent some time with a scalpel blade and scissors sculpting the body, head and limbs from reticulated foam.
I usually make a pattern from paper of the front and side views of the piece I want to sculpt, let’s say the body and draw it onto the foam, then begin sculpting.
I looked at the head and body from all angles refining the sculpt, then smoothed out the surface of the foam with tiny little scissor cuts, I drew the cheeks on with a felt-tipped pen, the eyes at this stage are just glass headed pins and the mouth is a piece of felt.
The limbs are made from the same foam but have cotton webbing sandwiched between two thin layers of foam and as this is just a sketch of a puppet the limbs and head are all held to the body with strong thread.
I slit the lower arm foam and glued in a chopstick to manipulate the puppet’s arms and attached a rod to the back of the head also.
The swimming costume is made from the sleeve of an old t-shirt.
She’s not finished yet, she needs a swimming cap and a bit of a fringe, and she’s just a little practice puppet to look at how she moved and what we could do with her.
We’re hoping to secure some funding so I can develop her further and make her maybe larger and a lot more sturdily.

I’ll be taking some footage of her swimming and will attempt to add it to this blog post over the next couple of days.