Character Design – Lace Maker and Old Woman


I have been looking at archetypal characters which often appear as motifs in many of the legends and stories surrounding lace making.

The Poor Lace Maker

The archetype of the poor lacemaker appears in almost every aspect of lacemaking folklore and history. Lacemakers were, indeed, often very poor and made to work in bad conditions – often with not enough warmth, and often suffering from poor eyesight or blindness due to the intricate work and poor lighting conditions.

Here are some sketches of potential puppet designs for the Poor Lacemaker.

She will eventually be a small scale, carved wooden rod marionette, but I made a very quick paper version of her for devising purposes. I have started creating a practise wooden version, too.

Photo by Ulysses Black



Old (blind) Woman

The archetype of the old beggar woman often appears in lace legends (particularly in those involving intervention from The Virgin Mary). I have made some sketches for a potential puppet of her, too. I think she will be eye-less (she has lost her eye sight, but this ties in with a piece of folklore we created about the Night Tangler – he likes to steal the eyes of careless lacemakers), and will have a bobbin for a walking stick. 


I experimented with making an old woman character with lace bobbins for limbs! It was made very quickly and roughly and doesn’t work very well as a puppet in its current state, but it was a fun experiment for a prototype:

Photo by Edie Edmundson


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