Firstly, thanks for visiting my blog! My name is Rachel Brown and I'm a Performance Design student at The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff, Wales.
I'm about to start my third and final year, and intend to use this blog as a platform for documenting and reflecting on my projects. I hope what I learn along the way will be of interest to those who also love making in miniature!
The Nausicaa Project:
During my third year I have to complete three specialist studies for my exhibition, which should be relevant to my desired career path. Stop motion animation is my keenest interest, and I decided a while ago that puppet making was something I really wanted to explore further.
I spent some time thinking about the characters I could bring to life, and wavered between designing my own from scratch or realising existing images. I eventually decided on the latter, because although I enjoy character design, it would be another layer of processes on top of what will likely be an extensive making project.
My final choice of character comes from one of my favourite animated films, 'Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind'. Set in a post-apocalyptic world where giant mutant insects and a toxic forest dominte the terrain, Nausicaa must try to heal the broken bond between humanity and the earth.
I'm unable to pinpoint Hayao Miyazaki's design for the film, which is a wonderful blend of period and sci-fi. From the architecture to the costume, every detail is considered, which greatly appeals to me and my making sensibilities.
One of the fantastical creatures in Nausicaa's world is the Horseclaw, a giant dinosaur-like bird, genetically engineered as replacements for horses. Nausicaa's love of animals is one of her strongest traits, so as well as making a stop motion puppet of her, I also intend to create Kai, her noble steed:
Stop motion puppet making is very new to me, and as I'm not on a course that specifically teaches it. Therefore most of my knowledge will come from online resources, friends in the industry and trial and error! I'm excited for the challenges that this project will throw at me, and the amount I'll learn about new processes and materials.
I'll base my puppets on a variety of references, my aim being to create two fully animatable puppets which accurately depict Miyazaki's original designs. I intend to fabricate every detail, from Nausicaa's costume to Kai's embossed bridle.
Stay tuned for my next post, where I'll be sharing my research and puppet design process!