Owl Marionette


I thought an owl would lend itself to this project nicely considering they are composed of dramatic moving elements (a head that can turn almost 360 degrees around). They have large wings with flocks of feathers and deathly claws on menacing talons. I chose to use clay for the wings and talons specifically so I could detail them more closely than the other parts of the owl. This led me to make the decision of making exterior feathers to place on top of the wings. I thought they would give my owl a more life-like presence due to the added texture. From the beginning I wanted my marionette to be strung freely, so all of the elements of my owl are disconnected from each other.

The purpose of a marionette is to entice a reaction from an audience through movement and interaction. I kept this in mind from the moment I sketched the ideas I had for my owl until I strung the completed components of it together. I used a wire armiture and clay to sculpt the more organic features of the owl I had designed, such as the wings and tallons. I crafted repetetive feather-like pieces that I baked onto the wings in the pattern I laid them in. Balsa wood served as the material to carve the simple shapes of the body and head out of. I stuck to a fairly realistic color pallet when painting my marionette in order to coincide with nature, but I used bronze metallic paint to add a sense of drama to the wings and claws. A firm wire structure, strong wire hooks, and string allow for free movement of the owl while being practical and withstanding.

I put a lot of hard work into creating the marionette seen here today. Although I am proud of it, I wish I would not have run into the challenges that forced me to attach the tallons with an exterior piece of wire. I did this because the rings I had attached to the internal wire armitures of the tallons were not strong enough to hold the weight of the clay, which I had already baked and set. I think my attention to detail is exemplified in the wings. For my first time handling and working with some of the materials I used, the level of my work satisfies me.

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