Here's my first Harajuku girl nearly ready for costuming & make-up; I'm just finishing putting a layer of wadding over the foam on her torso to smooth the surface before adding the stretch jersey, which has come out a very close match to the skin colour on her limbs and head. #Harajuku
Once covered with foam and wadding, the torso of the puppet needs a layer of stretch jersey which is nice & smooth & provides a suitable under-layer for the clothing (foam & wadding are less smooth and the costume would not move as freely over these materials if they were left uncovered). I debated using white stretch jersey but in the end I've decided to dye it to the skin tone used on the rest of the puppet, in case the costume has a neck line that reveals part of the chest
By the end of today my aim was to put this puppet together for the first time to see how all the parts look and function together and whether my design needs any modification before I go on to the second Harajuku puppet. I have made a stomach out of foam rubber, which sits between the wire torso and the wooden hips, which are tied together with string (this is hidden within vertical slots in the stomach foam). The legs have been roughly attached with wire at the hips and the
It's been a nerve-wracking day; having finished carving this pair of hands, the next thing I needed to do was to hollow out a cavity inside each one for the leather wrist joints to be glued into. This involved drilling three holes deep into the hand and using a chisel to knock out the wood between to form one rectangular cavity. However calculated my measurements, there's always a lurking fear that the wood will crack, so I'm relieved to get this part safely completed. Next I
I've been giving a lot of thought to the design of the feet for the first Harajuku puppet, specifically how to achieve a chunky platform shoe. Here you can see that I've placed a block of wood within the shoe, directly below the ankle, in order to provide some weight to the foot. The bulk of the shoe is made from the much lighter styrofoam and this should ensure that the foot does not become too front-heavy and always point down towards the floor. The shoes still look quite a
Pretty happy with these legs now I've refined the shape a bit more and sanded them down to even out the surface. My intention was to create the effect of the knees being slightly turned in, although the actual joint remains forward facing, as do the hips. The pigeon-toed effect should be heightened once I add the feet, which can be set at an angle to the legs. The next step for these legs will be to cut away wedges of styrofoam behind the knees to allow them to bend. #Harajuk
The hands and feet of the Harajuku puppets are going to be carved from jelutong, but before I can cut them out and start carving, I need to plane the wood to ensure that the faces are flat and even and that the sides are square. You can do this by hand as shown here, or, if you have access to a planer-thicknesser machine, this is of course much quicker. #Harajuku
Having cut out the side and front profiles of the head, I am gluing the front & back halves to a plywood bat, to which I have attached a birchwood handle. The adhesive shown is Gorilla Glue, which is activated by moisture, so first I spread it over the surface of the styrofoam, then I spray the wood with water and clamp the two together. The glue expands to fill any cavities and any excess that has seeped out can be carved away with a craft knife once the glue has hardened.