Theatre props: Let’ssss make a Snake!

You got to love having theatre friends. I got a text from my friend M the other day, saying “Hey! We need a puppet snake in a vase on a stick… Can you help?”

Well, of course! So this morning I whipped up a little snake pal from odds and ends I had lying around my studio. It’s pretty nifty being able to create on the fly because I have all my supplies in one space. (Which looks like a hurricane has gone through recently, but you’ll have that in a working space! All I’m saying is don’t judge me by my messy working conditions. I know where everything is!)

So, to start, assemble the snake materials needed…

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I had a leftover styrofoam egg from another project, as well as miscellaneous green fabric and tool. The khaki fabric I used was actually recycled from my fat pants. They no longer fit, so I washed them up, cut them off just above the knee, and cut the seams open. Ta-DAH! Reduce, reuse, recycle, folks!

I started by covering the top half of the egg with the green fabric. (I had cut a large square and started in a corner to cover the head.) I tacked the fabric to the egg with hot glue in a few places, but mostly secured it by pushing the fabric into the egg with an end of a spoon.

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So after the head was covered…

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I started working on the underside of the head and belly. This is the general shape I began with for the belly. Don’t worry that it looks big. We’ll trim it later.

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Then drew out a basic outline of the snake belly with a tan marker on the tabs fabric.

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I added a little more definition to the belly with Zentangles.

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And then finished it up with some shading.

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Now we need to attach the belly to the head. I used the same technique as attaching the green to the head. After attaching, I began trimming the excess fabric away.

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All that’s left now is to attach some eyes and connect the tan and green pieces with some hot glue. Since this is a theatre prop that is in about 30 seconds of one scene for one show, hot gluing the seams will work fine. If it was being used in a more close up venue, I would have sewn the seams.

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Attach the eyes with hot glue, do some artistic folding of the green to make a cobra good, and insert a stick into the styrofoam to hold up the head, and you’re good to go!

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“Lend a Hand” Zentangle series

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My foray into Zentangling has led to a ton of new sketchbook art! I’m very excited to be drawing this much again, and using this method of patterns of simple shapes is really relaxing. It’s very calming. I’ve been working on these sketches while listening to various meditative music, which only enhances the feeling of being “drawn into” (if you’ll pardon the pun) the picture and away from the stresses of everyday life.

Here is a sneak peek at the sketches for my first themed series of artwork. This is the first time I’ve consciously worked to develop a series of artworks that are united by either topic or media or method or subject, and so far I’m loving how they’ve turned out!

My series is called “Lend a Hand,” and to me, they represent simple things we all should do to make the world a better place. It is an overly simplistic goal, I know. Some may call it naive or childish. However, I think it is possible. We all have hands of many colors, and they all have the same ability to hold and comfort, to encourage and protect, to love and support.

So, here we go.

Number 1: High Five! This is the first in the series: the first hand tangle I designed. This one represents enthusiasm, encouragement, and energy.

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Number 2: Life’s Good The “okay” sign seemed appropriate for showing life’s journey into a sunset. This journey isn’t a straight line; it curves around many different landscapes. But the sun is the light at the end of the tunnel. There are good things that come to us if we work and travel toward them. (Also it is fun to note that my best friend asked “Are you supposed to see an inchworm in the index finger? Because that’s all I got. Is this the very hungry caterpillar?” Which made me laugh, and henceforth, I can’t see anything but an inchworm in this drawing. I think I’ll name him Carle.)

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Number 3: Cross My Heart The crossing-fingers-for-luck sign I thought mixed well with the heart symbol for love. Hoping and wishing for love is such a basic human emotion. We promise we’ll do it right if we can only find it, and we long for it to show itself.

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Number 4: Three Words The iconic American Sign Language symbol is well known, and gives up that yes, we have found the love wished for in Number 3. Those “Three Words” have shown up in literature, pop culture, and song over and over. There are so many ways to say “I love you,” but many times, the silent showing or demonstrating how you love someone are so much more important and lasting. Actions speak louder than words.

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Number 5: Untitled. Number 5 is untitled as of yet. I haven’t found the words to fit. (I did resist a strong urge to title Number 5 “Mambo” and draw some hands doing Latin dance moves!) This piece is for peace, for caring of our natural resources, and the mindfulness to do so. This is also the first work that I consciously included many recognizable symbols to support the topic. You will find peace signs, leaves, and recycle symbols along with many organic shapes.

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