I had my first teaching experience this February in Berlin at the Stop Motion Academy during Boddinale Filmfestival: teaching a three day armature building workshop.
It was an exciting and nerve-wracking experience, but very rewarding in the end. It was amazing to be able to share and pass on some knowledge and experience learned over the past few years and to share my learning curves and the mistakes I have made in my ever ongoing journey trying to learn how to make better puppets for stop motion animation.
For the workshop the focus was primarily on armature making; the skeleton of the puppet that is the most vital part to make it perform and stay in all the impossible poses during an animation shoot.
Puppet making takes a lot of time and a lot of different materials: both challenging aspects to fit into a suitcase and a three day workshop!
I focused on wire armature making, however still incorporating a wide variety of techniques including silver soldering for rigging points and tie downs. There were a lot of different processes for the participants to get their head around, but the students were amazing and were really giving everything to absorb and learn and even helping each other out when I couldn’t be in ten places at once… I think I learned at least as much from the experience about teaching and left with many ideas how to improve a potential next time. But the feedback was positive and the participants made some very lovely armatures!
Above: the participants started out making designs and technical drawings before starting to assemble and fabricate the parts to create their armatures.
Below: Some of the finished (and almost finished) armatures made by the participants. Lots of different creatures and characters emerging!
The armature workshop was part of the ‘Stop Motion Academy’ which was organized by Marcus Grysczok who did an amazing job organizing a crazy two full weeks of workshops in two different locations in Germany. The workshops in Berlin were hosted at the Boddinale Community Movie Festival at Flutgraben. Thank you to everyone who was involved, and maybe see you again next year…
Some lovely video impressions of the workshop were posted throughout the event on the Stop Motion Academy Instagram page:
Website of the stop motion academy: