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Maker: Puppetry & Pendulum Painting


Puppetry & Pendulum Painting

Week of 1/19/2015

Shadow puppetry originated in China over 2000 years ago. Legend has it that one of the emperors of the Han Dynasty was mourning the death of his wife and a loyal -- and creative -- subject created the art to cheer him up. Tuesday's Maker workshop aimed to recreate some of these impressive displays of storytelling.  They worked in teams of two and once the marquees were up and functional -- the aptly named "Death Theater" and "Bobcats" -- each participant set to work on the characters that would fill the stage. The photo above shows you just how intricate some of the stage setups were. Those cages taped to the wall were to be dropped during a particularly exciting scene in E. and F.'s play Bobcats. Our other team combined the worlds of WWE and Minecraft to create a "royal rumble" of sorts. Pictures are below:

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J. added pumpkin golems to the outside of their marquee and G. holds up two of his characters.

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Rehearsals saw the creative process continue as actors found their voice and the scripts came to life.

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Showtime! The lights were dimmed and the music began as several plays were put on by Makers young and old.


Although I never aspired to be Martha Stewart, I did find her post on Pinterest and thought this would be a great two part Maker project. In order to "paint with a pendulum" one must first have a structure to swing the pendulum from. Creating this structure was the first task at hand. We had a lot of great ideas right from the start: a ladder, chairs, or a tripod. The former would have been perfect but alas we were without one in the Garden Classroom. The latter two we decided could be built and we all set to work. Two chairs were connected by their backs with bamboo shoots and gorilla tape. The pendulum could hang freely from the intersection of the bamboo shoots, leaving plenty of space for it to swing. The tripod was built from scratch by R. and F. with bamboo shoots and gorilla tape. Once they had the structures built, we mixed tempera paint with water and poured it into our "dispersion apparatus." Check out some pictures below!

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The crew on the chair structure preps for the first test of their pendulum painter. Later adjustments were made by M. to allow the bottle to swing more evenly and freely.


F. and R. built an amazingly sturdy tripod and learned from flaws in the first structure's design to improve their own.

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The finished products!