Javanese Shadow Puppet Making Workshop....St Davids Hall

                *Thanks to St David's Hall for free tickets in exchange for this review*

Java is famous for its shadow puppet theatre, which dates back to the 11th century, performances can typically begin at night and last into the next morning.
The puppets are made from cured buffalo hide. Puppet makers cut them out using stencils, with special chisels and knives and then mount them on to hinged rods of horn or bamboo so that the puppeteer can make their arms move. It takes at least ten days to make just one puppet....................

Today we were privileged to be able to make a scaled down version of our own - thanks to Terry and his passion for this art form.
We worked in teams of two; one of us drawing the silhouette of the other  (with posing instructions from said artist) standing against a wall or window- two sheets of card were used . After cutting out said silhouette then came the task of decorating and embellishing our creations - we could punch little holes with a needle around the puppet to create patterns and texture, letting the light in.
Terry explained that the reason the puppets are decorated is because during traditional puppet performances, the men sit behind the screen, where they can see the puppets and all their colours whilst the women sit in front where all they see are the shadows. 

Once decorated the two silhouettes were glued together then it was time to attach the rods to our puppet ( two wooden skewers taped together) The more adventurous of us enabled our puppets to have moving joints by cutting off their puppets hands near wrist and reattaching with a paper fastener.
Then it was Showtime !!!

I would like to thank St David's Hall for the opportunity to attend this event and I would like to, especially, thank Terry (my apologies for not remembering your surname!) for a fascinating, informative and thoroughly enjoyable morning!


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