Here I was sitting in the Yellow Book pub in Brighton, while a beardy Scottish man tried to describe the puppet he needed for his new show, knowing exactly just how weird this was all going to sound.
A talking haggis"
"So, kind of sausage shaped"
"Like a bit rugby ball shaped
"Oh so, like bags under the eyes?"
"No, not 'tired' as in sleepy, tired as in dogeared...
With big googly eyes"
"I knew you'd say that. I was thinking of a haggis with googly eyes.
Do you want it to look good, or like a bit shit?"
"As good as possible. Like professional"
"Is this all a bit like the Singing Kettle?"
And he wears the robes that Catholic priest wear
A purple one"
"Can he like... have a pope hat?"
"Yes, of course he can"
A man on another table couldn't help but ask questions.
A sketch trying to figure out the points of articulation and control on the dog puppets for Guide Dogs for the Death
And then Ted, my second dog who I will probably always miss, sketching him to remember up some inspiration.
The first time I've made someone that needed to look more realistic than abstract.
Also the first time I've made someone who I would then meet and present the puppet to.
Designed through a photo, tried to capture her cheeks, hair and eyes. Already here I was interested in using the pages of Marian's book as her skin and hair. I met her through the amazing words in her book and wanted to represent how she has touched thousands of people with her writing.
Posed by Marian Partington herself during a break between some rainy showers when we were filming in her lovely garden.
Nothing has made me prouder as a puppeteer and maker than this photo.