Since the summer of 2014, I have been working within the puppet fabrication department at LAIKA animation studios in Hillsboro, OR. In my time here, I have helped sew intricate miniature costumes, "fur" sassy silicone monkeys, fold and fabricate fantastic nature themed origami samurai and even helped do the "do's" of some of our beloved characters. Being surrounded by so many talented artists has been a crazy whimsical dream come true, and I still to this day I am baffled by what can be accomplish when great minds come together.
Below is a 'behind the scenes' glimpse at what goes on under the LAIKA roof. Starting at 1:23, you can see Anja Poland and myself fabricating one of Kubo's evil auntie's slick capes. Each took over a 100+ hours to construct from start to finish. We made 8.
I was also on a small team of artists that fabricated the Maple Leaf Origami Hanzo puppet and Orchid Flower Sariatu Puppet. These two are showcased in a beautiful sequence where Monkey, another character I was fortunate enough to work on, reveals her tragic backstory. Each of these monkey fur coats were carefully constructed and trimmed by hand to match the artistic aesthetic and style of the film.
Since Kubo, I have been working in both a hair fabricator capacity and a "puppet maintenance" capacity for Laika's 5th film. The latter has given me the opportunity to work with animators directly, problem solving for complicated shots, as well as fixing and maintaining puppets so they don't fall apart throughout the film. This role has allowed me to dabble in all aspects of fabrication, and given me ample opportunities to work creatively in solving complex problems in a short amount of time.