Archives for posts with tag: paper mache

mr vague

I have started a new teaching job this week and had to fly to Christchurch for induction. The Dedes and I have a deal that when ever I go places I pick one of them to accompany me should there be space in my backpack. I believe they view this as an assurance I will return to them. This time I chose Mr Vague, a placid old fellow who goes with the flow. I certainly couldn’t have coped with one who wanted to paint the town red at night. I knew there would be a lot of information to take in during the day.

Right! He was so placid that he stayed in my backpack pretty much all the time. I was traveling with my new colleague Bonnie, who I met for the first time when I took my seat in the airplane. Mr Vague is very shy. That is why I took him. I thought he might come out of his shell when he is away from the other Dedes. But no, he stayed where he was because he heard us chatting away and did not want to impose. I wanted to show him the town centre that was struck by a horrific earthquake in 2011 and still looks like a battle field. As it is winter, it was dark by the time we left the art school. The town is also closer to the south pole than Auckland and therefore colder. I thought he might be interested in the Cardboard Cathedral, designed by disaster architect Shigeru Ban to temporarily replace the original cathedral that was damanged in the quake. After all, Mr Vague is made from the same material. He took a quick glance and said it is too cold to come out of the warm backpack.

We were there for two days and like all the Dedes he loves breakfast. So a cup of coffee finally lured him out for a quick chat in the morning. The warm ambience of the art noveau cafe suited him well and the coffee was excellent. That is all he needed to be content for another day and have a snooze while I was off to more induction.

The next time I saw him was when I arrived at the airport and heard that our plane would be delayed by 4 hours, which meant we wouldn’t be home before 2am. He shrugged the news off.  “Nothing you can do about it” he said and shouted me a beer. Neither of us got flustered – Mr Vague because he had slept for two days, and I because I was too tired.

Mr Vague at airport


Recently the Dedes and I had an outing to meet some senior citizens. A friend of mine runs a social morning and we were invited to come along. The puppets were in fine form and behaved themselves (as long as I had them under control). Some of them became a bit cheeky when they mingled with the folks. They are brilliant performers and were quite a hit. I thoroughly enjoy watching people engage with them.

Last night Devil paid me a visit. He wanted to talk to me as the spokesperson of the dede puppets. They are all very concerned. I didn’t know the dede puppets had a spokesperson. Honestly I don’t think he was voted in. But he obviously thinks he is the Patron Saint of the dede puppets, as he is the oldest. (Patron Saint… it’s a bit rich isn’t it?)

Anyway, he said they are all concerned about where the dede puppet blog is going. He reminded me I had promised to set it up for the dedes as a forum. He, Devil,  now accuses me of hijacking it for my other artwork. He actually said, “What’s so beautiful about a Giant Weta, all  the dede puppets have nicer eyes…” He quoted the one post where I said it is all about eyes at the moment.

Okay, point taken. Devil himself has gorgeous eyes… I still think (and I am not being defensive here) there should be a place for other photographs on the blog.

So, we had this long and heated discussion about whether I should be allowed to put other artwork up. In the end I had this feeling he was mainly miffed with me because the film features Pirate and Mouse. He insisted it was him who broke the news of the book to Mouse, so he should have been in the film. I promised him he will be in the next one. (We are moving towards winter and I will have more time to do this kind of stuff). I basically made this promise to get him off my back. It was past midnight when he finally disappeared.

It took more than an hour to get the smell of sulpher out of the house. This is the reason, why I normally like to catch up with Devil at the pub.

I think I will canvas the other dede puppets about what they think on the subject. I am still not sure whether he made a mountain out of a mole hill.

Ah yes, I have to admit it… whether I want it or not… with the dede puppet project I have entered the Brave New World!

I have finally uploaded the dede puppet film onto Youtube. I thought you could just upload the film by creating an email account. For some reason it didn’t work and I ended up getting a Google+ account. I am happy with my blog, but I still don’t want to have a social network thingummy and keep track of online friends. I have enough to do with following blogs :). Call me old-fashioned, but this was the reason for me writing the Hermit’s Web book. Ah well, I think I have switched everything off that I could possibly switch off… to keep a little bit of privacy.

If you want to see the puppets in action, here is the link to dede puppets – the film.

I have also  finally updated our website, to include Hermit’s Web.

Nosy neighbour This one is the Nosy Neighbour. He pretends to be not interested. But be careful, he might look shy, but he eavesdrop  (therefore the big ears). And he is envious too, so envious in fact, he turned green.

deutsch frauleinI mentioned this morning that I believe Deutsch Fraulein would like L’artiste. Deutsch Fraulein started out as princess, therefore her pink dress and the funny little pink pill box on her head. When she was nearly finished, I discovered the German flag on her forehead and I decided to turn her into German girl.

Further to my pondering this morning… Of course only Deutsch Fraulein could mistake the slimy green Monster for a frog and throw him against the wall. After all she grew up with the Grimm’s Fairy Tales. So there were two mistaken identities here: She still thought she is the princess and then she mistook Monster for the frog prince. I don’t really want to explain the reasons for the story,  all I can say I am very fascinated by how much our childhood still affects us even when we are older. The whole writing process opened a big can of worms for me.


The finished french artist

Here he is: the finished L’artiste. The puppet I showed last week  in progress.

I am pretty sure Deutsch Fraulein will fall in love with him when she meets him. (I will have to say something about her, but this post is about L’artiste).

He doesn’t appear to be unhappy, but when one looks closely at his neck, there are little fish visible (you can’t really see it in this pic, it  is too small). In German we have the saying that “somebody is up to their neck in water” (“Das Wasser bis zum Hals stehen”) if somebody is in trouble. Having the fish around his neck says it all, but he seems to care little about it. This saying, I think, is pretty much the same as “being in deep water” in English. Sink or Swim!

But as a second language speaker, you have to think much more careful about proverbs.

I have written the book in English and wasn’t thinking about the German translation at all at the time. There are a lot of similar sayings in both languages. But one in particular will cause me a lot of trouble, should I translate the book. In English you have “skeletons in the cupboard”. (In the book I moved them to the wardrobe – as my cupboard is too small to accommodate my huge family of skeletons). The Germans have a “body in the cellar”. I had totally forgotten until my brother pointed it out.

Of course a skeleton looks different from a body. Maybe I could get away with it, by saying that my bodies have been in the cellar for a very, veeeery long time.