File puptcrit/puptcrit.0811, message 201

To: <>
Date: Wed, 26 Nov 2008 00:45:52 -0500
Subject: [Puptcrit] Parrot puppet tips?

Hi all.

Today I landed an express pupetbuilding contract that comes at a great time.
First, I really want a puppet like that (and I get to keep it afterwards), 
and second, it's a nice opportunity to design a puppet from an actual 
animal. It's been a while!

The mouth puppet  (with full body, moving wings on rod, posable but 
unarticulated claws) is to be a parrot, to be sidekick to a pirate Lady who 
will be hosting between dance numbers in a multi-cultural dance show.
I'm to be the puppeteer for the parrot.  Which is exciting, as I've been 
planning to get more stage experience. I'll finally get a character that can 
be wilder than I ever could be.

My questions to you all is:

.Has anyone here ever made/used a bird puppet with articulated wings that 
fold neatly on its body, like the natural resting position? The puppet is 
for a solo puppeteer.

.What are some easy ways of making it look good, without actually making an 
actual bird wing skeleton and flocking it?  My parrrot will be cartoon-like, 
so simplifications work well.

.Have you any online pics of parrot puppets I can look at?
Don't worry, I'm not into copying designs, I just want clues as to technical 
So far, I've seen the Squackers toy, and the Folkmanis puppet.
The previous bird puppets I made were a Fartosaurus, from a local 
illustrator's design (with all official authorizations), and a weirdly 
interpreted Canada Goose (colors all wrong, but made for the project, which 
was about "outcast puppets rejected from an audition for an Air Canada 
publicity campaign".

You can see my past bird puppets here:

Farty has elastic-loaded wings (of foam, fleece and feathers) that flap, 
while Caporal has generalized cartoon wing shapes (same materials, no 
springs) moved by rods. Neither seems to have the right solution for my 

I don't want him to have half-open wings when he's at rest on his branch...

Any suggestions?
This has to be built in at most three evenings (within a week, but Iwork 
days), starting Monday...which I've often done for other puppets, but not 
with unfamiliar wing making.

I work fast and well under pressure, but a few tips can go a long way into 
keeping the mind slightly sane..
And for this project, I can post all the pics I want, and share about the 
process, because it's to be my puppet!!

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