I have finished the conjoined rabbit puppet, but wanted to post an in-progress picture of its clothing.  I finished off the outer gown with small pieces of red ink dyed cotton stitched on randomly, and tarted up the arms of the body outfit with tiny multicoloured beads.  The arms are my favourite part now; I can't resist a good shower of colourful beads.  Not a literal shower though, I'm ticklish.

My next project (among many others, in various stages of halfway to almost finished) is a set of 10 or more small, dyed, beaded puppets.  The picture above shows half of them already dyed a pale umber and ironed, the other half is freshly dyed light red and squeezed out, in the process of drying.
When I am working on a puppet, I will often have a general idea of how many, what size and their overall look I am going for before I start.  As I move along, I am open to any changes, additions or details that occur to me, or that the in-progress work might suggest. For example, I would like these little puppets to have a contrasting look about them of roughness and richness, I suppose like an old threadbare tapestry.  To achieve this, I will incorporate beading for certain, as well as the possibilities of embroidery, painting, and the addition of other materials. 

If I plan out a puppet too tightly and precisely, it will rarely "work".  I must always be conscious of leaving room for exploration within the object, and not have a highly detailed map from start to finish.  Part of me wants to do this precise planning, but I am much happier with both the process and the finished project if I let go of the reins, so to speak.
Colour Cross Puppet: cotton fabric, thread, beads, bells marker.  I think this is going somewhere interesting.  Though it has no head, and only sort of fits my hand, as I didn't really measure it.  It could almost go in the goofy/creepy hand collection, though the creepy hand that fits this puppet would be hidden.  I say it still counts!
Paper Puppet Practice: pen on paper, twist ties.  I want his hand and feet to be able to hang on to something, it is a bit challenging.
Barnard and Kelly, BFF
In case you are having trouble telling us apart, Barnard is the red rabbit on the left, and I am the grey girl on the right.  Barnard is a moving mouth puppet that I made as a prototype for his brother, Stephan (accent on the last syllable).  I think he is the first puppet I created with a moving mouth.  As you may know, most of my puppets are made using papier mache and fabric.  However, since Barnard, I have been venturing more and more into puppets made with foam and faux fur.  This is entirely due to my involvement with a fantastic puppet company here in Toronto called Unraku.  Through being a part of this group, I have learned how to sculpt and pattern foam, create mouthplates and articulate limbs, pattern their bodies, and perform with the puppets.  They are an incredibly talented group of artists and performers, and I look forward to featuring each one in subsequent blog posts.  Please visit the Unraku website to learn more about Unraku and our upcoming workshops.
Stephan, budding catalogue model
Barnard, enjoying some coffee on the stoop
Photo of Barnard and me taken by Amanda Farquharson with her Diana mini
Photo of Stephan taken by Jason Amlin