Puppets are still very much a thing, according to this American Theatre article. Scott Cummings checks in on some of the companies, festivals, and books dealing with puppetry in a contemporary context.
The costume shop at PlayMakers Rep is working on the enviable task of recreating costumes for the Museum of Science Fiction. Rachel Pollock takes us through the steps of making Neo’s costume from The Matrix.
Propnomicon shows us some great primary research on “Things in a Jar”. If you’ve ever made preserved specimens, Britta Miller works at a museum specimen collection, and has kindly shared all kinds of visual and technical details about the actual jarring and labeling of things in jars.
“He was giving the interviewer a tour of his shop, showing the towering shelves of carefully-sorted industrial junk. He said something like, ‘Properly sorted, this is a parts library and a useful tool. Unsorted, and it’s a pile of junk and a curse.'”
Here is a pretty cool step-by-step guide to a Dragonbone dagger replica made by Folkenstal. Folkenstal uses some interesting techniques of laying up different thicknesses of plastic to create a rough block, and then sanding and cutting it to the final shape. Great photographs.
Furoshiki is the Japanese art of wrapping objects with cloth. The Japanese Minister of Ecology is encouraging the country to use furoshiki to carry the products they purchase, rather than paper or plastic bags. They’ve even made a handy chart showing how to wrap various-shaped objects. I can imagine this coming in handy for all sorts of prop purposes.
Finally, Tested brings us this sixteen-minute tour through Harrison Krix’s garage, better know as the Volpin Props prop shop. We get to see his small but well-equipped shop, check out some of his favorite tools, and get a sample of some of the many cool props he has built over the years.
I like this photography series called “Much Loved”. The photographer took photographs of teddy bears and similar toys which have been cherished for decades by their owners, and wrote a bit about their back story as well. It’s great research not just for teddy bears from 50-70 years ago, but also for the kind of extreme distressing and aging that these archetypal and cherished “favorite toys” can go through.
A whole subculture exists of prop makers making replicas of objects which exist in popular video games. Here is a great step-by-step build of a dagger from Skyrim. Though the end result is a bit “plastic-y”, the process shots show some interesting techniques and use of materials.
Finally, here is an interesting solution to the age-old problem of four-legged furniture that does not sit flat. When your tables or chairs rock, try trimming one of the legs… on the table saw:
Sugru shows some promise as a useful material for props. It looks like it’s similar to epoxy putty, in that it can be used as both a filler and an adhesive. The difference is that Sugru air-cures, rather than having a separate hardener, and it remains flexible, so it can be used on items like textiles. If only I could get my hands on a sample for testing…
Amateur woodworker has a quick rundown on distressing wood. They add some neat tricks to the repertoire of techniques, such as adding cup rings.
Finally, the costume design blog has a post about putting together a design portfolio. Though aimed toward costume designers (obviously), it is still very applicable to the props artisan.
Making and finding props for theatre, film, and hobbies