Fit for a King
While running a puppet workshop at Kafeneio, a guy strolls in and examines the puppets we’re making.
Vasilis, the guy – beckons me to follow him, which I do… I get on the back of his moped and off we go, through Plato’s Academy Park to an old warehouse, up in a big elevator and out into a large workshop – a fascinating place where school kids come and make ceramics and watch a puppet show.
Vasilis shows me his worn out puppets and asks if I can remake them – ‘in my technique’. I studied his puppets, they’re different to any I’ve seen before; glove puppets, but with a stick to turn the head. He asked me “How much?” – I studied them, took photos, made a few notes and said, “Oh, something” shrugging my shoulders and said I’d be back in 2 weeks. Originally, I was asked to remake just the heads, but when I took the finished heads to him, he asked me to remake the full puppets; garments and hands, so off I set and made the full puppets.
Here’s how I made the king’s head, The nose was tricky to do – it turned out far too big and hooked on first attempt and took some adjusting.
The next puppets were easier to make. Learning quickly and improving as I go – I’d run out of Lycra after making the king’s head and hands, but then found a pair of white sports socks in a bag of fabrics that had been donated from one of the workshops – these worked just fine. The hands took a surprisingly long time to sew! I used different buttons and beads for the eyes and painted the skin with acrylics.
Two weeks later, I took him his new puppets.
Vasilis was really happy – and so was I! The puppet shows are performed in different locations and has now commissioned me to make him another set of puppets. What a thrill!