You might be a little put off hearing that some marionettes are made of plastic, but don´t be fooled, you are not getting an ugly puppet from recycled material, plastic marionettes have came a long way and to an untrained eye, they will show no difference to the ones made of wood. Here are the four main differences between both.
1. Manufacturing process of a marionette
An obvious one but important. Wooden marionettes are usually made from a chunk of wood and by a skilled manufacturer, they are brought to life by carving, painting and sweing. This process is lengthy and requires years of experience, which is then reflected in the price. A plastic marionette however is made by 3D printing and is very quick to do with much less effort. The manufacturer receives a picture or creates one and tells the 3D printer what to do. Then all that is left to do is either provide clothes or fur for the marionette and paint additional features.
2. Cleaning of a marionette
Now taking care of a plastic marionette is simple. Although it does not like water, storing it in a slightly damper or more humid environment will not immediately destroy it. It is also more dust resistant and resistant to breakage. A wooden marionette is a polar opposite. You need to be very careful with those being exposed to dust, water, sunlight and warm environment. Locking it in the box or closet will not guarantee success either. Some storage spaces are still prone to dust or moisture, so you need to be very mindful of where you store them.
Since wooden marionettes are made by hand, no single marionette will look the same. There might be similarities but each manufacturer has their own technique and their own style. This will make your wooden marionette at home much more rare. If you plan on selling your marionette, a wooden one will be considered more valuable than a plastic one. However, if you need more marionettes to look the same, for example for theatre or educational purposes, plastic ones are the way to go. They will also be done in a much faster way and therefore delivered quicker than wooden ones.
4. Price of a marionette
Another obvious one but necessary to mention is the price difference. Due to the reasons mentioned above, wooden marionettes are simply pricier. The time, effort and skill have to be all taken into account. Puppetery is an old craft that not many people currently perform. Only a few selected masters can measure with the old masters of previous centuries. But it is not just the labour, what you get for your price is a one of a kind puppet that will elevate your home and your collection. A plastic marionette is then of course much cheaper. However, no less valuable. Plastic marionettes are the perfect gift for a close friend, a perfect tool for education or entertainment.
Want your own marionette? Check out how to get one made for you here!