The Summer Project: Paper Mache and Possum Coat

Three years ago I had a dream that was very vivid.

I remember the storyline, the feeling and every little detail. I thought that it was pretty funny at the time and didn’t want to forget the fictional story that came from……I don’t know maybe I ate drank or smoked something that set my brain off.

It doesn’t really matter where it came from, what matters is, I’ve decided to recreate this dream, well sort of.

I started by storyboarding.  Also I asked my friends at Panther Claw if they were interested in having a music video made for one of their new tracks which i’d heard earlier. They were keen so I got stuck in.  After listening to the particular song 260-something times and going over each part of the song in detail I was ready for the next step.

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Creating the characters

If you didn’t already know, possums in New Zealand are seen as pests. The Australian brush tailed possum was introduced into New Zealand to establish a fur trade in 1837. With no predators, and more food, their numbers exploded, and today they eat a large amount of our native bush, which also deprives our native birds of food and nesting.

check it out for yourself

With this in mind, New Zealand people are not fond of possums. A lot of New Zealand citizens will swerve to run them over and cheer at the splatted corpse left behind.                                                                    Strangely enough a lot of these same people wouldn’t necessarily see it as animal cruelty, due to the whole ”pest” bracket the creature falls into.                                                                                                                            The reason I bring this up, is that possums play a large part in the idea of this music video. Perhaps I should explain myself a little further.

One of the details of my dream was that I was wearing a coat made out of cats.  Every fur still had it’s tail attached and they swung around as I walked. The coat had two cat heads mounted on it, one on each shoulder and the toggles which held the coat together were cat paws. This was going to be the basis of my first character, the merchant.

To recreate the Merchant’s coat I didn’t want to kill and skin any cats, I have a cat and I really like him, I couldn’t hurt a cat and would be disturbed if I saw my cat on a coat. So I went with possums.

I sourced my possum fur from Basically Bush and got my two possum heads freeze dried by Richard Lee at Freezedry Taxidermy


The second character wasn’t in my dream, his name is Bud. He’s a humanised possum from a children’s story I wrote a few years ago.


To make Bud and the Merchant possible, I’ve designed and built the costumes with the help and guidance of Trudy Monroe from Nemo in Queenstown. Trudy’s experience and ideas have helped out a lot in this process. She looked at my ideas and added to them. Once she created a solid structure for the coat I simply had to finish it up which was great, as I wouldn’t have known where to start.

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Next was Bud’s face/head

Trudy suggested I make it out of paper mache. I hadn’t played around with paper mache since I was 5 or 6 which I could barely remember, but with some help from a few blogs I got my facial structure and worked from there.

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More to come soon……..