How the Scarecrows in Motion are Made

We have been making our Strawy Family Scarecrows in Motion displays for the Kurrajong Scarecrow Festival for many years now. Year by year the displays became bigger and better as we found new ways to expand and improve the displays. We added music and animated the scarecrows to bring the displays to life.

Finding a Theme

The hardest part of making a Strawy Family scarecrow display is finding a workable theme.

Our displays are based on old favourite songs or poems from the past that stir up many fond memories. In 2004 one lady was nearly in tears as she listened to our old song, Daisy Bell, and remembered how she used to hear it on her mother's knee.

Ideally each theme needs many interesting characters that can be turned into colourful scarecrows. And it needs a simple story that the animated scarecrows can act out.

Researching the History

Once a theme is chosen, the intensive research phase begins. The history behind the song or poem is studied so that we can create a setting characteristic of the time. And we research the original appearance of each character, and the shape of each animal, so that our scarecrows can represent them authentically.

In our 2003 Strawy Matilda display, the clothing and hairstyles of each character and the muskets of the troopers were careful recreations of styles used in that period. The bush band's musical instruments started as scaled up drawings of actual instruments. The elegant proportions of the scarecrow thoroughbred, Silver, were based on those of Les' magnificent champion horse called Hercules. And the little blue tongue lizard scarecrow started as an outline drawn around our own pet blue tongue lizard.

Our 2004 theme, Daisy Bell, was a famous old Music Hall song. So we researched the costumes and dance steps used by actual music hall singers for our scarecrow, Nellie Strawy. Even the handlebar moustache of our scarecrow pianist, Anton Strawy, was based on photographs of real moustache owners in 'The Handlebar Club' in the UK. And Harold's wonderful wedding bicycle was inspired by pictures of the fantastic bicycle designs of yesteryear.

Searching for Suitable Materials

Having chosen how we would like each scarecrow to look, the next challenge is to create this appearance from various handicraft materials. All the Strawy Family scarecrows are individually covered with clothing, fabric, felt and synthetic fur. The scarecrows have extra strong jointed frames made from new timber so that they can move freely. Much time is spent experimenting with the animations to make the scarecrows look as real as possible.

Presenting the Displays

At last all the scarecrows are complete, the music is recorded and the animations of the scarecrows are rehearsed. We pack the scarecrows into a removalist truck and take them to the Festival. We take great pleasure in presenting the displays to the crowds and seeing the reactions of the passers by to our animated Strawy Family of scarecrows.

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© 2005-2008. . All Rights Reserved. A page about the Scarecrows in Motion displays created for the Kurrajong Scarecrow Festival.