Halloween Puppet — (WOLF)

(above) LOOK at the beautiful patina on the tooth enamel — the gums are unfinished in the two close-up photos

I designed & built the fairly complex wooden armature for this enormous wolf’s head puppet in 2002, as a canine companion to my 10′ tall Apparition puppet.

As the jaws bite down, the huge eyes (not pictured) roll forward, while the nose flexes and the ears (not pictured) flatten backwards; the proportional tongue (not pictured) is designed to shoot forward, between a fierce, toothy snarl. (The fur coat would have pulled up around the eyes and mouth, revealing glistening gums and teeth.)

Sadly, I ran out of time and reluctantly abandoned the project; in 2010, while moving from Arizona, I rediscovered the wolf buried in the backyard. It was exciting to find the soil had aged it beautifully — the armature now looked wonderfully… eighteenth-century!

Fast forward to 2012 — while living in Des Moines, Iowa: it was time to resurrect the monstrosity.   I studied wolf dentition on-line, and painstakingly drew out a proportional array (on Pine); hours later, the teeth emerged from my scroll saw, and then the fun began. I added a rich patina to the lot with a mixture of paint, gesso and a varnish;  I dare say, you may even see a grain that looks very ‘bone.’ The gums are a mixture of untold layers of cardboard, gesso and matte varnish — complete with a flexible, proportional tongue (not pictured) …  And of course, the coup was finding a child’s designer faux-fur coat (at a consignment store) to clothe the puppet — unfortunately, this yielded only enough material for one side of the wolf, plus the ears (not shown) … So, for want of matching fur, the entire project was lost by a hair.  (Today it’s reburied, in a huge plastic tub,  until ‘next time’ — argh.)


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