Hedgerow Puppet Show - work in progress, February 2020
The Hedgerow Puppet Show puppets are hand sewn from scraps of second-hand materials collected over many years plus elements from the natural world (i.e. artichoke head fibres, untreated wool and pheasant feathers). They hint at a half-remembered history, folklore, ancient customs and rituals, without belonging to a particular time or place. They connect to my interests in recycling, remaking, performance and play, advances in technology and environmental breakdown.
I have been interested in costumes for a while (I made and wore my Bird Woman dress in 2010) but have become increasingly involved in local annual celebrations, i.e. Jack in the Green and Hastings Wildman, making more elaborate costumes each year. I am also still fascinated by 'Professor' Thomas Boucher a greengrocer, champion diver, amateur actor and voluntary fireman who I found as part of my 'Discovering West Street' project, and who ran a theatrical store on my street in the late 1800s/ early 1900s. We have not been able to trace his costumes, but I am undertaking more research for any further descriptions or images.
As a child I regularly visited the Bethnal Green Toy Museum with its huge cases of toys, including the dusty old puppets that I was always very interested in. These are hand or stick puppets, some can be manipulated to make them swivel and move up and down. I like using this small-scale to experiment with costumes, some are painstakingly sewn (i.e. the artichoke fibre skirt), others much more rough and ready (i.e. the Woolly One).