Sunday, September 20, 2015

Gumby Fest 2015

I remember as a kid watching Gumby on TV and wondering how these toys could move and talk by themselves. I even had a toy Gumby and Pokey, but could not figure out how these characters came come to life.

This week, I learned that, after all these years, Gumby is alive and well at Gumby Fest in Glendora, CA.

Joe Clokey, son of Gumby's creator Art Clokey, helped organized this event which was held this weekend at Citrus College.

It was a really hot day, the kind that can melt clay into a liquid goo, but not even the heat could keep true stop motion fans away from this 3 day event. A family friendly atmosphere with many activity tents, food trucks and live music that filled the air. 

I went on Sunday, the last day to see several panel discussions beginning with Stop-Motion Puppet Makers.  Panelists Liz Allen, Nikki Rice Malki and Margaret Meyer all shared stories about how they began their careers, showed the puppets they made and briefly explained the process they used to make their puppet actors.

Margaret Meyer showed her puppets from "Coraline" and stressed the importance of taking pictures of your creations for your portfolio.

Liz Allen from Bix Pix talked about painting with pastel powder to give a softer look to her puppets. Below she shows how she embedded a magnet into the character's face to allow for easier use of replacement mouths.

Below are several puppets made by Nikki Malki of Stoopid Buddy for "Robot Chicken". The puppet builders at her studio are responsible for a puppet's creation from the beginning design to the final product.

During early episodes of "Robot Chicken", a variety of toys were purchased through Ebay and reassembled with stop motion armatures.

The next seminar, Stop-Motion University, featured a few colleges that offer Stop-Motion classes. Jim Ovelmen of California State University, Matthew Manning of Woodbury University and Musa Booker of USC talked about their early stop motion careers and showed samples of student work.

Other fest events included art workshops about drawing, background painting, creating a bendable armature, screenprinting and creating stop motion with digital media. There were various Gumby items for sale and the Gumby Museum, temporarily housed in the Citrus College library, will continue to be accessible to the public for another few weeks.

Dyane Duffy, a Citrus College' art instructor, introduced the final lecturer, lead puppet maker Julie Zobel, who discussed puppets from Jim Henson's Creature Shop. She showed the various types of puppets and gave a brief description about how they were put together. She talked about her career and gave us a lot of insight into working at Jim Henson's Creature Shop.

Before I left Citrus College, I ran into Joe Clokey, the man with the green hat, and thanked him for helping to put this three-day event together.

Can't wait until next year!

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