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:
Saul Griffith brings us a curriculum of toys. He categorizes the different ways a child can learn to make things and to interact with the physical world, then suggests toys and games which will help grow the skills in each of those categories. Looks like fun for adults, too!
The New York Times has a summary of the science, health and legal implications of e-cigarettes since their introduction. Giving them to an actor for use on stage of course raises additional concerns and considerations than when a private individual who already smokes uses them, but this article does a good job of laying out all the different governmental and scientific forces jockeying for a say in the future of e-cigarette use. If nothing else, this article should show you that the legality of using e-cigarettes on stage will probably remain ambiguous and evolving over the next several years.
Finally, enjoy this video of a wooden automaton who can pick up an arrow, draw it in a bow and fire it at a target:
What a week, campers! After last weekend’s freak snowstorm (with thunder and lightning!) we’re all set for a sunny and mild two days off here. King Lear opens next Tuesday, Love’s Labor’s Lost closes on Sunday, Titus Andronicus began rehearsals and Mike Daisey’s show continues making audiences think. Let’s see what’s on the internet:
If you don’t know what pepakura is, the RPF has a huge introductory thread on pepakura. Basically, you cut and fold paper to make complex three-dimensional shapes; afterwards, you can even coat it in resin or back-fill it with fiberglass to strengthen it. The real breakthrough comes from the fact that you can take three-dimensional computer objects (from CAD files or from video games) and use software to automatically transform them into pepakura files which you merely need to print out and follow the directions to construct your model. I used to have a book where you could Make Your Own Working Paper Clock, but I lost most of it when our apartment burned down and the flames ate the paper up. What’s your excuse for not trying it out?
I’ve posted a new Instructable on making a stuffed kitten; that makes a whopping total of two since my wooden ratchet noisemaker last year. The cat wasn’t a prop for a show, but I thought I’d share it for two reasons. First, I made it out of materials from a previous show that would otherwise have ended up in the trash. Second, our prop shop had just gotten our first sewing machine. Before this, our artisans had to go to the costume shop to work on upholstery and making things out of fabric. I’m not much of a soft-goods person; in fact, the only actual item I’ve ever made out of fabric is probably a sweater in my seventh-grade home-ec class. I took this new acquisition as a chance to practice a must-needed prop skill; you’re never too old or awesome to start learning something new.