Handmade by Computers

Terrible Comfort updates and thinks

Archive for digital presence

New project – Sal Tax Clothing

Holy nuts! We have been slaving behind the scenes for months to unveil out latest project, Salt Tax clothing. Check out the awesome designs we’ve uploaded over on our RedBubble site. We’re really proud of these designs, we hope you’ll like em as much as we do! http://www.redbubble.com/people/terriblecomfort/portfolio/recent

Our second vlogger!

Introducing Lily,our monster expert.In this vlog she chats about vampires, mermaids, banshees & cthulhu

Our promo is now up online!

And we’re pretty happy about that

world wide collaboration

Surfing from link to link, as you do, I came across The Old Trout Puppet Workshop in Canada. They look like a bunch of fun guys with an open invitation for people to drop by the studio and check out what’s going on, which I wish I could, damn living across the world from all these interesting things…

But the thing that caught my eye was their world-wide collaboration on their next project, called Ignorance.
Ignorance is a puppet documentary about the blissful prehistoric origins of humanity, and how our brains evolved into the hideous bliss-sucking parasites they are today. Yes: it’s about how why we’re not happy. And how we might solve this problem without resorting to alcoholism, tranquilizers, frontal-lobotomies, or other forms of induced ignorance.
And the cool thing is that they’re doing the whole thing on this blog. You can contrubute words, images, songs, thoughts, anything that you like. And they may or may not use it (there’s a great disclaimer at the bottom of the page) but I love the idea of being able to throw ideas at people about something they’re working on.

So I made them an image. This is how some of the Terrible Comfort shows get designed. Rob will find interesting bits of text, which he sends to me, I’ll make images out of the ideas and send those back and then we use the images to design set or atmosphere in the shows.

Thinking about the ideas of neanderthals, I What if, before neanderthals discovered fire, they had fire made of rocks? So I set about making that image.

Once it was made I wondered if, instead of fire made of rocks, was it petrified fire in a museum setting in a display of neanderthal life? It could be either…

So head on over to the Old Trout’s blog and see if you’re inspired to throw something into the mix too!

S

Expressions on Modern Drama Ep. 3 – by Dave

Waiting for Godot:

You can see Dave’s other videos at our Youtube channel. Pop along!

Puppets out in the world

Ok, I admit it. I’m obsessed with knowing what people use puppets for. So I’ve started in on doing some research. I started with posting to our friends on our Facebook page, asking people if they have puppets at home and if so, what they use them for.

I got a number of responses that were all really interesting. A number of our artists contributed, which was great to read. One said she had finger puppets purchased as souvenirs of her travels around central America, and a marionette from her sister as a gift when her sister visited Mexico. Puppets as souvenirs was something that I’d never considered, but so that was interesting to know.

Another of our artists said she has a number of finger puppets that have been gifts from friends and family. She keeps them with her stuffed toys and use them occasionally when she’s baby sitting.

Another of our artists is a puppeteer and a mum, so she has heaps of puppets around the house, some from stores but most made by her. She had a puppet show in the works a few years ago and made a number of types of puppets for that, but the show didn’t happen due to a family illness and so her son plays with the puppets now instead.

The fourth respondent is a teacher and a mum, she says that she has a number of store bought puppets but that her kids don’t really play with them.

That was all really interesting to learn, and thank you to those that participated! I had a look around our adopted puppet collection and this is what I came up with.

HANDPUPPETS:
1 lion – given to me by one of my students, used in the classroom
1 Max (Where The Wild Things Are) – bought and used in the classroom
12 assorted animals – bought for but not used in the classroom

FINGERPUPPETS:
24 assorted knitted animals – bought and used in the classroom

SHADOWPUPPETS:
2 bought as a gift by a friend from Bali

MARIONETTES:
1 dragon bought as a gift by a friend from China, hanging as decoration in the loungeroom

But that wasn’t enough. I know my adopted puppets, I know some of our friends adopted puppets, but I want to know more. I want to know what the world uses their puppets for.

So I started a Flickr group called Puppets We Own to see what other Flickr users have lying around. I went off and did a search on PUPPETS to find people to invite to contribute, and in doing so I found out a bit more about people’s puppet habit. There were a number of fans of things, star wars, transformers, George Lucas, that had made puppets of their obsessions. This wasn’t something that I’d put together as uses for making puppets before this search.

I found that very interesting too.

Love learning things!

Uses for a puppet company in the classroom

I love being in a puppet company, I love making the puppets, creating the shows, solving performance problems and I even love performing the shows, which I was unsure about in the beginning.

But something else that I’ve discovered that’s wonderful about running a puppet company is the usefulness outside the theatre space. For instance, I am a Primary School teacher by day, and recently I had to teach my students about Persuasive Text. Although it’s a text type that is required to be taught in schools, there’s very few interesting examples on the net that I could find. One of the best was a open letter to children about why they should wear sunscreen. It was very colourful in it’s layout and presentation but the students were bored with it the minute they started reading it.

Teachers everywhere have been creating their own resources to teach their students since teaching realised it needed examples, but since I have access to Terrible Comfort, I can quickly and easily make some awesome things that engage the children instantly and leave them begging to see it again. And again. And again.

So, for persuasive text, I asked Dave, our favourite monkey puppet, if he’d try to convince the kids of something. We filmed it and put it up on YouTube, you can find it here.

Not only did the students love the clip, they fell around laughing at it and it influenced the rest of the unit. when we tried to think up reasons our parents should let us have a pet, they wanted a pet monkey (and then thought of 35 reasons that it would be a good idea. 35! and then more the next day as well!) and for a few weeks most of the drawings produced include monkeys in some way. I consider that I managed to capture their attention with that one!

But what I love about it is it’s so easy. We come up with an idea (how about Dave trying to convince them that pigs can fly?) we film, we edit and we put it up, 40 mins from go to whoa and we’re done. So easy to capture their attention and engage them in the subject matter.

But it’s not just about the technology. Although the kids love watching stuff on the digital projector, it’s about the subject matter. In one of my teaching rounds, the teacher would wheel out a tv and video and press play. There was an old man in front of a black board teaching the kids phonetics. They, and indeed the teacher, referred to him as Mr Boring as he chanted the different sounds and spellings of the English language. The kids up the back put their heads on their desks and slept or stared out the windows while half of the class chanted along. The nickname alone gives you an indication of how well he was recieved. He would finish the lesson with a reading from a good wholesome book or the bible. Great way to capture the imagination of a child!

Dave is so easy to work with, and making a clip is quick and fun. I’m so thrilled I can make resources that the kids love and learn from so eagerly. I’m thinking I’ll get Dave a mortar board and gown next!

S

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