Moving creations

Moving creations

Helped by a master puppet maker, a team of students has created two towering Red King and Red Queen puppets for arts festival

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Junior reporters Phoebe Ma Ka-yan and Samantha Lau Pui-ching with puppet maker Jimmy Hsieh Chih-min (centre).
Junior reporters Phoebe Ma Ka-yan and Samantha Lau Pui-ching with puppet maker Jimmy Hsieh Chih-min (centre).
Photos: Leon Lee
On November 11 and 12, the fourth annual Arts in the Park Mardi Gras will be held in Victoria Park. The extravaganza will feature a parade, dance performances and art stalls.

This year's theme is inspired by Alice in Wonderland. Working with students from more than 20 local schools, overseas and local artists have created costumes, puppets and flags for the parade based on five different scenes of the story.

Two junior reporters visited Po Leung Kuk Mrs Ma Kam Ming-Cheung Fook Sien College for a sneak peek of towering puppets students there were preparing.

They spoke to Taiwanese artist Jimmy Hsieh Chih-min and the students about the process of creating giant Red King and Red Queen puppets.

Samantha Lau Pui-ching

Hsieh has been making puppets for 10 years. Yet he still encounters difficulties with more complex creations like the Red King and Red Queen.

He told us that he needs to be careful to use precise measurements.

Another area of concern is selecting materials that are both environmentally friendly and easy to use.

He said he had learned from his previous experiences of creating puppets for Arts in the Park. He uses glassfibre as his main material. It is lightweight, highly elastic and flexible, which helps make the puppets look more realistic.

Hsieh remains passionate about his art. "It is very interesting to turn inanimate objects into more lifelike creations," the artist explained.

Seeing material come to life in the form of puppets makes him happy.

He said puppet making in Hong Kong has great potential because many local people are creative and innovative.

All it takes to make puppets is some creativity and a willingness to hone one's craft. "Nothing is more essential than a willing heart," Hsieh noted.

As I surveyed his puppets, I was amazed by their wonderful intricacy. The puppets show their creators' dedication and hard work.

Phoebe Ma Ka-yan

This is the second year the school has participated in the parade.

"Last year my teacher asked me to join but I wasn't too interested," Elaine Ngai Yee-ming, a Form Five student, admitted.

"However, after seeing the results and how much fun the students had last year, I decided to join this year."

Yet it was about more than just fun.

The students learned a lot about the art and craft of making puppets. They also learned to work well as a team.

When we visited their workshop, they were busy putting the finishing touches to the puppets. Different groups were responsible for different jobs.

"Communication with teammates is crucial because there are many tasks that you can't finish just by yourself," noted Aqua Leung Ho-man, another Form Five student.

The students were involved from the beginning of the process. Hsieh asked them what design they wanted to use for the Red King and Red Queen puppets and their costumes. He then used their input in his design and taught them how to create the puppets and their costumes during several workshops.

After the puppets were finished, Hsieh and the students brought them down to the playground for a test run. Each puppet requires one person inside to carry it while a team of others follow. They move the puppets' arms with ropes and keep them steady with bamboo poles.

Steven Ng Sing-wah, a Form Four student, has been selected to carry the king puppet. "It took me some time to learn to keep my balance," he said.

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