FIN 131 Unit 2

Unit 2 progress


First two wooden “dolls” made February 1. Their heads are separate from the bodies and balanced on top. These two “dolls” have been cut and sanded, and the holes created using the drill press.
I devised a way to attach the heads to the bodies in a non-permanent way so that heads will be interchangeable. Using leftover bits of aluminum wire from working on the jaw/teeth piece for unit 1, I drilled 1/8 inch holes at the bottom of the head and the top of the necks of the two pieces. I tapped the aluminum wire into the heads with a hammer, so the wire pieces are embedded in the heads and the heads will be interchangeable across all the dolls/forms.
Applying my exemplary drawing skills, I started to “design” some clothing for one of the wooden dolls. Here I’m using paper, but I’d prefer to use VERY THIN wood…aircraft grade (?). Using wood will limit the number of outfits I can make in the short term, as it will be both more time-consuming and more expensive.
An hour with the bandsaw, and I have several more bodies to work with. Also a number of heads, but not shown here. All holes currently in these pieces were part of the pieces of wood that I pulled out of the wood waste bin; I have not used the drill press for any of these holes, and these pieces are not sanded. Not all the figures are “human”.
Feb 8 – class and studio time – used bandsaw to create a few more inhospitable wooden dolls, including Queen Bunny.
Used some wood carving tools to alter the surfaces of the inhospitable dolls to make them more so…

February 13 studio time update

I measured the rabbit (32 inches and 400 g)
“designed” the movable platform for rabbit.
worked out proportions for Scottish Maiden
found some pieces of wood in the back and measured them out for the rabbit platform. wrote on the wood so I wouldn’t forget…
rabbit platform (underneath) showing where the blocks for the dowlings to hold the wheels will go. also shows size of platform.
need to drill hole for dowling after I cut the chunks off to go under rabbit platform.
\need to drill hole for dowling after I cut the chunks off to go under rabbit platform.

February 22 progress

I brought the plans for the puppet theatre, the guillotine, and the trolley into class and discussed with Angela. With conceptual help from Angela and hands-on help in the shop from Jeff, I got a good start on the theatre and the trolley.

the “trolley”, for pushing and pulling the characters across the stage, is only missing wheels. The trolley was built as planned.
The frame for the puppet theatre, 2 rectangles (30 x 40 inches) constructed from 2 x 2 and clamped to the table for weight and portability reasons. Two one-inch dowlings rest across the top; the front dowling will hold the curtain; the back one will hold a screen.
testing curtain size and weight with the curtain hangers. not the look I’m looking for. I need a piece of plywood that covers the floor of the stage and rests on top of the two 30″ end pieces. I imagine a piece of quite thin plywood that creates a noise when the figures move over it.
the frames will be attached to the surface by four 100 lb clamps.
Close-up of corner.
The dowlings rest on top of these shallow troughs, made with the sander (see next photograph).
I pushed the tops of the frame (front and back) against this sander to make the 3/4″ trough to rest the dowlings on.
Two large pieces of velvet fabric found at thrift store to be used for puppet theatre curtain.
Cat posing with two pieces of velvet.

March 1 progress

With Jeff’s help, I sawed 12 wheels for three different trolleys, using a special bit on the drill press.
the largest trolley is for Bunny. A design challenge to be solved: when I pull the trolley forward, Bunny falls backward easily. Since I want the trolley platforms to be interchangeable, I need to find a way to fix the flaw that works for most, if not all, of the forms.
the other eight wheels are on a dowling until I can make the other two, slightly smaller, trolleys. I’ll fix the “design flaw” on this first trolley (the tendency for the figure to fall backwards when the trolley is moved) and adjust the second two trolleys so that they have more stable platforms.
I’m really happy with these wheels. They are exactly the right size and roughness.
I’ve brought Bunny home; here, Bunny in dialogue with “She Can Fly!”.
A screw eye will be attached to both front and back of the trolley so that the trolley can be pulled across the “stage” . I forgot my drill bits at the studio…
set up at home: inhospitable doll theatre

And then there’s this out of Japan and what’s happening in Japanese theatre:

The wheels have been glued with carpenter’s glue to the axles, Top Bunny festooned with some fake pearls so they are recognizable as Top Bunny. I may add a stud earring to Top Bunny, but I’m not sure where a rabbit places an earring on such a large ear.
Close-up of glued wheels. The extra piece of wood glued to the platform behind Top Bunny provides stability to Top Bunny and may work to prevent Top Bunny from falling backwards.
At studio this afternoon I sat down and assessed what needed to be done next for the wood project. This project itself is big; and I need to be sure that it integrates with the metal and fibre portions in some ways.
I pulled all the elements out of the box and set them up to remind myself what I have.
Found scraps of wood that will work for the next two trolleys. Measured them out and cut them.
Taking everything home to work there.
March 9 update: I began putting together the two trolleys for the wooden inhospitable dolls project. In this photograph are a few elements of each of the three elements of wood, metal, and fibre.
March 11 update: three trolleys completed. The coloured blocks are to stabilize the figures that will be put on the trolleys. The only thing left to make (related to the trolleys) are the poles with hooks on the end to pull the trolley across the stage.

Ideas for Stage Backdrop

I’m going for something “id”- like, figures that are dredged from the sub-conscious and brought forward for examination. Here are a few “ideas” to use. I have a painting tarp to use and will paint (?) on that. Oh maybe not; I’ll do some tests to see what might work other than paint.

I abandoned this drawing last week, but the figural ideas in here are what I’m looking at for the backdrop.
This WIP is also “going nowhere”, but was inspired by a David Hockney picture (see below in which the male figure on the right is looking into the frame from behind the picture; in my drawing, before I began, I cut several polygonal “windows” to emulate Hockney’s window. The similarities end there) ; again, I’m drawn to the figures my drawing, and actually as I look at them now, I see they are reminiscent of the wooden figures who will be occupying the stage, including Top Bunny.
image downloaded from:
This drawing evolved into two separate pieces that include colour and collage (not shown here), but the figures at this stage of the drawing are again the look I’m going for.
a drawing from FIN 110.
The figures appear on this large acrylic painting from 2019. I’m convinced that they must be part of the backdrop for the theatre.
This is the backdrop I’ve ended up with, a piece of painter’s tarp painted with acrylic house paint. The photograph doesn’t really show the elements because I had no way of hanging the backdrop in such a way that I could show everything, and in good light. However when I take the backdrop into the college studio tomorrow and set up my “stage”, I’ll be able to install the backdrop and take photographs and see what it all looks like together. I think I’ve captured some of the main elements of the pieces that I was using for my ideas: the bent head of the figure on the far left, the long “fingers”. I wanted to keep the backdrop relatively simple so that it would not distract from the figures in the front, but I won’t really know how that turns out until I put it all together at the college studio.

March 31 update

I love this stage of the Top Bunny project; the pieces are scattered all around my studio, and some of them are at the college studio, which means I haven’t got the stage set up here. But I feel a certain amount of excitement as I begin to draw the elements together.

Five pieces are close to being completed.
I like working at night. With the right music on and the dog and the cat sleeping, the right atmosphere is achieved and I disappear.
Trying some ink on the small pieces of driftwood.
Not sure yet how all these pieces will be configured. I guess I need to bring them all in to the studio and set them up?

The next group of photographs was taken with the Nikon camera; the previous ones taken with the iPhone XR.

Naming the Players

I’ve decided to name the figures the “Cassandra Players”, drawing on the story of Cassandra from Greek mythology, who warned the Trojans of the impending defeat at the hands of the Greeks, and whose warnings later became summarized in the phrase “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts”…a phrase referring specifically to the Trojan horse.

Cassandra had been given the gift of prophecy by Apollo, but when she refused to sleep with him, he added the proviso that nobody would believe her prophesies.

April 9: completed the wood-burned sign for the Cassandra Players.

Critique Photos

Unfortunately, this is the only photograph I took of the “procession” part of the piece. I think I must have been distracted by everything going on around me.


Some scrap aluminum flashing pilfered from the trash. I’m sure this will be great for creating a very user-unfriendly doll.
everything is packed up and ready to go down to the car for transport to the college studio tomorrow. The cat and the dog have not really been that h’;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;.///////////////////iok=————————————————–

March 1 progress

For the head of the metal “inhospitable doll”, I’ve used the natural curls of welding wire off the roll, attaching throughout the sphere to hold it together.
Close up of some of the attachments created to stabilize the sphere.
trying out an idea for eyes: marbles wound with wire and attached to the top of the “head”

I will use the following website to help me construct eyes inside the sphere, especially diagram #3. I’ve decided to include eyes in this figure because eyes are often what give dolls/puppets the “creepy” look that people mention. I’ll use coloured wires to construct the internal structures of the eyes.

I’m not sure if “eyes” and “seeing” will show up in some way in the fibre and wood projects, but I’m keeping open to the possibilities.\

March 6 update: I got the wire necessary to create the 3D representation of how sight works for the inside of the head of the metal inhospitable doll. I started to fabricate the connections (green wire).
March 9 update: I’m gradually working on the wire representation of the optic nerves, which will be attached to the eyeballs in the head of the metal inhospitable doll (see wire head above). April 11 update: I’ve decided not to use this part of the project in the metal section. It never really took off, although I like the concept of creating a model of the neural connections of the eyes to the parietal lobe of the brain. I’d like to explore this more at another time: the lobes of the brain, the corpus collosum, the eyes, the neural networks. Maybe next year. And maybe with strings instead of metal wire. Something to go back to.
April 9 The next phase of the meta project is to go through the rusted metal pieces collected from local beaches and the side of the Inland Island Highway on the west side between Piercy Road and the Cumberland turnoff. The plan is to complement the metal piece created above (with the visual neural pathways) with rusted metal bound together with found polypropylene ropes (from beaches) and “new” metal wire, similar to the figures below, next two.

Following are a number of close-up shots of the pieces of rusted metal I’ve collected over the past year, but primarily over the past two months. Best locations have been the local beaches (for rusted ship parts) and the side of the Inland Island highway, where I found a number of provocatively shaped metal pieces torn away from trucks. I also mined some rusted metal pieces from abandoned cars found in the bush. These photographs follow below:


The polypropylene rope gathered from the beaches around the Comox Valley has been tied end to end (using square knots) and wrapped temporarily around a metal air plant frame. This is one idea for making a “fibre doll”, based on the string dolls of Thailand. The research into string dolls has already taken me in the realm of voodoo and the purposes and uses of voodoo dolls.

March 1 progress

I will use the new braid rope to join together the two pieces of found rope to create the deep structure of the fibre inhospitable doll. The new rope will be completely covered in the final version of the doll. I am continuing to collect rope from the beaches, but there haven’t been enough good storms recently to provide me with enough rope for the final project.
Typically a length of rope is found tangled in seaweed; this is a particularly great find (March 3, Goose Spit) as the blue rope looks fairly new; what wasn’t immediately apparent when I found this was that the blue rope was attached to a length of black rope. A great find and a great addition to the “inhospitable dolls” project, fibre.
I found several feet of rope today (March 3), but I’m especially excited about the four metal clips that were attached to an oyster lease float.
March 6 update: i’m confident that I have enough fibre to make several inhospitable rope dolls. The tangle of ropes looked so enticing that I took several pictures. As I collected on the beach, I decided that I would also make a beach themed backdrop for the Top Bunny theatre, using a large painter’s tarp that will hang at the back and can be easily changed out for other backdrops.

I decided to take a number of close-up photographs of the beach debris because I felt that the larger shot above, while effective at showing the scale of the debris I had collected, was not effective at showing some of the finer colours and textures. I love to look closely at things, and the next few shots I hope demonstrate how much I love this collection.

Soon these fibres and other elements will appear as inhospitable dolls, in the backdrop to Top Bunny Theatre, and in a “maquette” that I’d like to make in preparation for a much larger piece – but that’s probably more longterm…

March 9 update: I’m starting to play around with the fibres and pieces of stone-encrusted rusted metal and plastic found on beach. My goal is to keep the emphasis on the fibre, but I’m hoping to be able to effectively integrate some of the other beach debris.

April 9: Sometimes it’s hard to tell where the fibre portion of the project ends and the metal portion begins. I feel compelled to make connections among the three parts of the unit 2 assignment, especially between the metal and the fibre; that’s probably because I often found rusted metal and used rope in close proximity to one another, especially but not only on the beach.

This figure comprises a large rusted metal spike with what appears to be a bolt on one end. I wrapped the fibre rope around the spike just below the bolt, using the bolt as a “head” and the two ends as “arms”. I glued the layers of rope together. The stand is a found piece of an oyster bed.
The rusted metal pieces were found at Goose Spit and at Storeys Beach in Port Hardy. I love the pieces because of how they include both metal and stone, but also because they are gestural.

I believe that these wrapped pieces are just the beginning of this component of the fibre doll project. I had not intended to use the metal pieces with the fibre, but because I had recently found more pieces of metal on the beach while collecting the rope pieces, I couldn’t resist playing with them.
March 11 update: WIP fibre inhospitable doll: all components found on local beaches. I think I need to build a wooden stand for this “doll”, construct a face somehow too. (46 inches)
Head and neck.
torso with arms and chest/rib cage
legs and feet
March 19 – Marionette with strings on knees and back of head. After a couple of tests, during which I couldn’t get the marionette to “walk”, I decided I had to change the size of rope from the controller to the knee joints. I also realized that having a more defined moveable joint at the knees would have been better. I will try to loosen the fibre around the knees, and I’ll change to heavier ropes.
Yes, the strings from the controller to the knees are not heavy enough.
While cleaning out a closet, I found another bag of fibre ropes found on the beach, including this very new-looking red rope, which I am trying for the leg controllers.