Tagged: natural puppetry

Bear Coat.

Samhuinn.
My favorite seasonal celebration.
But this year my two sons were not interested and social media conveyed that guising in the village was going to be pretty low key, due to COVID.
The weather was stormy, so I did not drive into town to get a large swede.
(I refuse to buy pumpkins anymore. So sick of ‘America’s treat or treat’.)
So no carving or soup either.
Really missed the gorgeous smell of candle-roasting ‘tumchie’ lantern.

Stayed up late with candles, watching to see if the blue moon would show it’s face. It did not.
And ‘talked with the dead’, but it was not like other years at all.

Missing all the ususal costume dramas, I decided it was time to work with the old faux-fur coat I had had stored in my studio for, at least, the last 3 years.
An old coat that I have always just known was to become ‘Bear’ in my, incrementaly evolving, ‘dream’, puppet show.
It was the coat that inspired the character.
Bear.

It felt good to work with Bear. So familiar to me. Bear medicine.
Hibernation now never far from my mind.

Quite a journey in patience and understanding too!
I would begin folding and stitching, then see, over and over, that, to make it better, I had to unpick it all.
It felt ‘complete’ a total of 3 times, but then it would stare at me and show me better ways to approach it.

Which always meant taking it apart and starting again.

I like the way this has roughened this faux-fur coat.

It’s evolution took a couple of weeks.
Ever simplifying.

It was not just the way it looked that was important, but also the way it worked, as a prop.

It was frustrating me that what was to have been a quick, fun, project began to eat into days.
It simply was not working as I had imagined.
It was very difficult, and clumsy, to wear.

Then, on November 2nd, I woke from a dream about how to approach it from a completely different angle.
Making the arms the snout, not using the neck, and I unpicked it all for the last time.

Everything fell into place.

Complete with naturally forming eye-holes, in the right place, so I could wear it and actually see where I was going!!
Which had been a real problem until that point!

Now it is a joy to make the simple folds and have/be ‘Bear’, then undo them and have ‘coat’.
Definitley going to be part of my show……think more items will be tied onto it over Time….

Mama Bear prowls in the kitchen…..
In the show it will only be the head that shows (in quite a few different ways), but it works as a fun costume too.

Amazing to wear when meditating! A Bear Woman!
Old cat not bothered.

Below is a wee gif I made for the fun of it all….
51 years old.
Think this might be a mid-Life crisis, or even the effects of lockdown weariness….but I highly recommend it.

(Looking at all the above, I think it needs some whittled, willow, teeth….and perhaps I will paint the eye ‘buttons’…..I would like for this ‘teddy bear’ to become a bit more fierce!)