File puptcrit/puptcrit.0606, message 151

Date: Mon, 12 Jun 2006 11:31:16 EDT
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] moldmaking learning curve

Dear Jim, Greg, Mathieu, Robert, Steve, et al:

The posts concerning the 'string' method may be a tad misleading, and I 
wouldn't want to ever discourage someone from trying a method that has been 
sucessfully used by some of our finest puppeteers over the years. 

The Roses, Proctors, Phillp Huber, David Syrotiak, etc. and many others used 
this method. I stilll use this method. Some have, because of product changes, 
had to change their process. That's no reason to totally write off a tried and 
true approach. 

No one can look at any of Margo Rose's characters and say that the results 
were less than outstanding. Some of the marionette heads the Roses made were 
from 3" up to 8" and were all cast this way. The detail and finish leave no room 
for complaint.

I think several of the generalizations posted need some clarification. 

First of all, using this method may not be suitable for some depending on the 
MATERIAL used for casting. OR for the slick and fast results required by some 
special circumstances such as film or video. 

But if a puppeteer were using a material like Plastic Wood (replaced for me 
by MendALL), then the results have been, are, and will continue to be totally 
successful. The advantage of these wood based materials (and others) provide 
that a head can be worked somewhat after casting to clean and finish according 
to need. IF an absolutely smooth and flawless finish is needed, this material 
and method will do the job. 

The 'keying' which occurs as one pulls the strings through the almost set 
plaster provides an absolute match of mold pieces IF one pulls the string in a 
serpentine movement as Rufus suggests.   One cannot expect a good match if the 
strings are pulled straight, leaving no keying whatsoever. The string and 
pulling at this point will have no effect on the surface of the plaster mold. The 
details are already fixed in the plaster.

Seems to me that if one were using Neoprene, which I think (I have never used 
it) is fairly flexible as it comes form the mold, one could use the string 
method but place the strings up the sides and not up the front of the face. I 
don't know just how much one can 'work' or clean Neoprene after casting. 

I personally prefer to have that option of being able to work the head after 
casting. It's very satisfying.
Perhaps the constraints of production or the pressures of time preclude that 
possibility for some. To me, that's kinda too bad. But that's the reality of 
the business - for some.

What works for some may not be suitable for others. Let's not limit the 
possibilities for some of our newer puppeteers to explore ALL the possibilities.

I am off tomorrow for twelve days to O'Neill Puppetry Conference where I run 
the shop. This year we have Terry Lee (Green Ginger), Bernd Ogrodnik, Phillip 
Huber, Jim Rose, Tim Legasse, Marty Robinson, Richard Termine, Lenny Pinna and 
Pam Arciero on staff. Jim Kroupa (Between the Lions) will do his amazing 
mechanics workshop. So I will be in puppet heaven once again.

Best to all...
Fred Thompson

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