Repairing Broken Puppets
My first performing object was a fluffy unicorn doll that was gifted to me by my dad when I was maybe a year and half old, at least my pictures dated to then can attests to that. The unicorn became a big part of my childhood life. I always took her whenever I went and loved to play with her. She gave me a sense of belonging, because whenever I felt lonely or wanted to be carried away in the world, I would be in her company and we would spend some good times together.
Then one day, as I was playing with my unicorn, her head snapped off. I became very depressed as I rushed to my mum who was outside doing some gardening. By that time I was about 4. When sobbing deeply, I tried to explain to her what had happened. She felt very sorry for me. However much she promised to get me a new unicorn, I could hear of it. In a way, the unicorn ensured that I had the necessary daily interactions that create the social aspect of humankind and it helped me generate a sense of belonging as well as new ways of thinking.
Therefore a replacement by another didn’t augur well with me. Seeing that I wasn’t taking the matter lightly, she decided to help me fix the unicorn. We went inside the house. I sat down as mum searched for embroidery material to fix my unicorn. I didn’t want to go off site because I figured out that she may spoil my special ‘friend’.
Fixing a Doll Needs careful Expertise
Mum came back with all the necessary material needed for fixing the unicorn. Using a pair of scissors and a razor blade, she carefully made an incision through the seams of the doll and completely detached off the head. I was watching keenly. For a moment, she was silent as she figured out what to do. After a few minutes, she made an incision along the seam of the body of the unicorn and removed the stuffing inside. The stuffing had already aged with time and was very dirty. She convinced me that she needed to clean them. I didn’t object because by now I had confidence that my doll would be repaired soon.
She removed the stuffing from the head of the doll too and went to clean them all. She even took time to clean the outer body of the doll. By evening, they were all dry and well. I joined her again as she replaced the stuffing. While doing so, she realized that she needed extra cotton to make the doll a bit rigid. The stuffing which was in use, had aged and while washing most of it had gone to waste. At that point, she went and took some extra cotton batting from the first aid kit and stuffed the body of the unicorn.
After that, she started whip-stitching the body of the unicorn and sometimes kneading it to ensure that it was all even. When she neared the neck of the unicorn, she made some nice small stitches before she began working on the head. With extra care, she ensured that the snout of the unicorn was in place well and then she carefully stuffed the head with the cotton batting.
After ensured that everything was even, she used a matching embroidery thread to sew the seams of the head together. After she was done, she then fixed the head to the body carefully using stitches likened to those used in baseballs and my unicorn was as good as new. She was clean, and very much alive.