Tioh is correct that there really is not a book out there for gripping hands for marionettes. One of the reasons is that it is hard to achieve the right amount of resistance to make the concept that you see in Tiohs video work for a marionette. If you notice the dark "joints" between the fingers, that is the tendon or muscle. Looks like maybe it is a spring metal in this case but low tech you could use even elastic running along the top of the hand across the knuckles. On the underside of the hand you need string or wire to pull the hand closed. On a hand or rod puppet all this can be tied into the body or a hand rod fairly easily for a marionette this has to run up to the control and you have to run the string through channels in the body so that pulling the string does not create action in other places.
I've experimented with it in the past but never really came up with a good method to make the hand grip tight enough that it could actually hold something, I always went with other methods if I needed the puppet to pick something up. Some of those are a curved fingers that can catch say a basket, magnets in the hand (issue there is it can pick up but not really release on stage), or a small "hook" in the palm of the hand. I would always ask myself why do I really need this action? Well it really help tell the story or am I just trying to do it because I think it would be cool.
By Trevor on Mar 25, 2021, 7:00 PM
I'm in the same position, but regarding rod poppets. I need a simple but effective and reliable method of allowing a rod puppet to pick and put down props. Despite having many books, I can't find any information, except for marionettes. I've found a possible method on YouTube, but is there a design somewhere, something like a pincer movement with a mobile thumb acting against fixed fingers?
By Shawn on Mar 26, 2021, 6:58 AM
Anything you have found for a marionette should work fine for rod puppets. It is just instead of a string going up to the control it can run down the rod for the arm. In fact, you can use a hallow rod and run the string inside it.
I would suggest though that you simply put a rod on the prop. That is what we always did. Then to have the puppet pick up the item you simply position the hand on the prop them pick up the extra rod in your hand.
It is easier to get more grip with a rod puppet but again it may not be enough to pick up an item securely.