As one of the development processes when exploring the play; Red Red Shoes, we were asked to create a sculpture. The idea being that each person within the class creates their own personal response to the play. The only brief we were given to this task was that it had to be a 3D piece, the rest was left to our imaginations.

The first thing I had to consider was; what was my response to the play? I think it is a very relevant topic in the world today. There are a lot of issues in todays society to do with refugees and racial discrimination. I think it is a topic that needs to be discussed with young people, one that they need to understand.

For my sculpture I decided to take a less literal path. I wanted to play on the setting of the play. Charles Way makes a reference to this ;

‘It would be truer to say, however that the play takes place in the head of a traumatised child’.

This stood out to me alongside another quote;

She covers her eyes and waits

and waits, and when she opens them

the boots have gone to the edges 

of the edgeless room.’

Can a room really be edgeless?

Within the play it also states that the setting is a medical centre. All these quotes led me to think about creating a more abstract response to the location of the play.

My sculpture was made up of a sphere, painted to represent the edgeless room, and a ball of wire within, intended to represent the head of a traumatised child.




How to construct a puppet:


Create a set of stencils for each body part. Ours were card cut outs that slotted together.


Use the stencils to cut the wood to size. I think this was one of the most difficult parts of the task. The slots that allow the wood to slot together need to be precisely cut. This was difficult due to how small they were. Mine were slightly too large which means that the two pieces did not slot together well.

During this step it is important to remember to drill holes in each bit of wood. This will be how the whole puppet is joined together at a later stage. It is also easier to do this whilst the puppet is still at a 2D stage.


Cut out blocks of polystyrene to fit with the wood to create one large block. This is the basis of the whole body part. The material that will be shaped to create the curves of the body.

The polystyrene is then stuck to the wooden structures using a contact glue. This glue is applied to both surfaces, left to dry, and then stuck together. The glue is strong and so will withstand any shaping that will occur.


Using various files and other tools, shape the polystyrene. Try to make sure that it is as realistic as possible. For example I added a spine to my abdominal.


Take a piece of sandpaper and continue to shape. Make sure that the polystyrene is flush with the wooden pattern pieces. Using sandpaper creates a smoother surface with less indents, making it easier to paper.


Line up the piece with the body parts it attaches to. Make sure that it fits well, and can achieve its purpose. That it can bend and move correctly. If anything needs to be rectified this is the stage to do it.


When the piece is completed, the time comes for it to be covered. We decided to use brown paper for this; however some groups used news paper, and even muslin.


Use elastic to fit all pieces of the puppet together. It is important to think about how a body moves at this point, this will allow you to know how tight to fix each joint. Also it is important to remember that elastic stretches, so the tighter the better.



Our course began in a more informal way compared to most. We played Grandma’s foot setps and cut small shapes out of wood. All fun and games really.

The first official project of this course is puppetry. We are looking at the construction and manipulation of Bunraku (puppets manipulated by three puppeteers) puppets, with the aim of a small puppet show to finish.

We have been split into 4 groups, each assigned a puppet to create. Within each group every person chose a body part to sculpt. For me, it was the abdominal area. My task is to use polystyrene, wood and paper to create a life like piece.

I think what is interesting about the puppets that we are being asked to create, is that they are expressionless and genderless. They have no personality, and so can become any character that we wish.