Its not easy being green…
On April 20-21, Olio graced the grounds of St Anne’s Academy for two stupendous days of family filled fun at Victoria’s second annual Creatively United for the Planet Festival. The festival was a fabulous fusion of Earthday and locally grown creative ventures. As onlookers finished the annual Earthwalk on Saturday April 20th, they were welcomed by our fine blue friend at the festivals main entrance, introducing them to a smorgasbord of music, food, lectures, crafting stalls, and glorious sunshine.
We almost lost Leona under the crushing weight of his massive head, but oh well…
Re-engineering to come.
On April 6th, Olio made his first full bodied outing into the world, amidst a crowd of jesters, accordion players, jugglers, celebrity waiters, and flappers at an annual fundraising event for Citizens Counselling, Tip-a-Fool. Citizens Counselling is a non-profit which offers affordable counselling to members of the Victoria community through a process of matching trained volunteers and people in need of an ear: aka. citizens counselling citizens.
Dancing tango to live accordion as celebrity waiters gathered donations from guests, Olio’s first night out was a rather surreal affair. The fellow even had the opportunity to blow bubbles with fellow volunteer, Victoria NDP MP Murray Rankin.
If you would like more info on Citizens Counselling or Tip-a-Fool, check it out here:
Olio has made his first nightime debut, on March 31st, gracing the Saanich fairgrounds for local Burningman shindig Kasbah!, a camel safari themed night of lights, dance, and debauchery.
It was a mad race to the finish, but Olio held his own, all gussied up for the event with led lit eyes, hat, and glasses. His movable eyebrows were an expressionate motorized hit with late night passer-byes, who played with the old fellows face to their delight.
We welcome Nathan Sorochan on board the puppet team with his new media technology and positive helpful attitude.
Leah and Leona also left the event, happy if exhausted, earning a bit of cash-ola through a participant art grant voting process.
After a stupendous burst of productive energy from team-giant-puppet, Leah, Leona, and an extensive group of friends in the community who have lent hands, tools, technology, and much support, this 12-foot-high bobble head is standing on his/our own two feet. A special thanks to Nathan, who has cleverly engineered Olio’s eyebrows to gesture on the press of a button, and Myriam, who will be shouldering the man and weaving sweet musical landscape around him.
Whats next? A bow tie? A vest? Legs? Feet? Playing with crowds?
Olio is taking shape, colour and form.
A man is born, or at least there are birthing pains.
Leah paints steadily away at his ginormous head, as Leona’s mad scientist brain begins the process of engineering a kinetic body. With a waist at our shoulders, a head on a spring, articulate arms, fingers that pinch and squeeze, a hat that removes, and eyes that light up, our blue skinned fellow is enlivened out of our imagination.
We hope you are as excited as we are…
Although Leona has been making giant puppets for more than ten years now, many planned parts of Olio will be firsts for both Leona and Leah. In the past Leona enjoyed the fact that paper mache could be as strong as wood and found that 15 layers of alternated newspaper and brown paper bags made a very strong puppet… strong and unfortunately heavy. Thus with Olio we are experimenting with only five or six layers of paper mache to accommodate for the heavier elements that will be added to the puppet later on… again in the spirit of experimentation.
Olio now has at least 3 layers of laminated newspaper covering his wire and cardboard frame. Plus Leah is adding smooth circle shapes to his profile. I love the overall moon shape of his face, paired with his chiseled jaw and cleft chin. It is hard to see just how shapely he really is at this stage as the news print plays tricks with your eyes. The half circle exercise ball shape will be Olio’s hat which will be able to come on and off, to reveal his topless head.
Stage one of construction has begun: we are giving Olio, our most persnickety of friends, his head! One part improv and one part guided my masters of giant puppets, the “Wise Fool Puppetry” bible, dextrous hands are crafting and oblong Olio out of cardboard, foam, chicken wire, staples, hot glue, and all sorts of odds and sods from the recycling bin. Add a layer of paper mache and, voila!, a man is born.
Interestingly, yesterday a friend pointed out to me that Olio is also the word for oil in Italian. Poor Olio, it is your very namesake to pair better with wealth than water…