Construction of the puppets is now well and truly underway.
The first stage was to collate and test the materials available in Sukamulya. We have sourced a number of natural materials as well as local glues and hardware. Matina was delighted to find the glue excellent, the locally cut cane (called rotan) had great flexibility and strength, and rods, coconuts and palm leaves have all been easily sourced around the YPK property. Also a new discovery – rotan mats commonly found in village homes make excellent bird wings!
There’s a lot to it. Design, adaptation, building and then testing and modifications. Our puppets will be seen both in the day and night, so a lot of thought has gone into how they can be effectively coloured to look good in the day, and ways to illuminate them so they also look great at night! We will achieve this by borrowing from lantern designs and adding enhancements with EL wire, torches and LEDs.
Matina and Dedy have been leading the construction work with helping hands from Pak Enam, Imran, Argus and Shani. Progress has been, by necessity, speedy. The Tree of Life, known as the Patang Haring in Dayak stands three metres tall. We have been doing lighting tests and painting is in progress.
Matina & Dedy have also built the base of the child puppet, which will be mounted on a backpack and operated by several people. This will also act as a lantern so it will glow from within at night. Facial features and detail still need to be added.
Whew! And on top of this, we have been joined by 25 kids on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week for puppet making workshops at the studio. Each day Matina has designed prototype creatures for the kids to learn. We have made fantastic fish, turtles, snakes and birds with flapping wings! The kids have been phenomenal, very well behaved, engaged and creative, even with the hindrance of having to work and instruct using an interpreter most of the time. They have made such awesome creations, even exceeding our expectations!