I'm really busy just now but I will answer your questions briefly.
If you want more detailed answers you are very welcome to phone me as chatting is easier and less effort than
composing written answers. The first two questions would, take too much time to answer now.
The answers below refer to shadow theatre.
Yes, I do use a professional photographer but also photograph my work as I make it.
Materials in the shadow performance are informal when at a rough stage and possibly less so as they develop.
I use cardboards, umbrella joints and very thin plywood. Some part are sewn on by drilling small holes and then wiring or using linen thread.
I also use doweling and plant sticks as handles.
The characters were cut either with a scalpel or on a fretsaw.
Before I make a piece of work I do a lot of drawing, both at a miniature scale and as informal story boards.
Everything is handmade.
I continue with a piece of work until it is finished which may take hours, weeks or months.
If I have an artist's block I try to put the work away and go for a walk round the block, alternatively I
may discuss it with a friend at work.
I think my work is heading more towards further experimentation with shadow theatre
and more drawing.
I hope this is a help, unfortunately I have only time to write these bare notes
however if you want to use them on your blog it's OK.
PS Please send me a few images of your own new work ( re. Tin Soldier) when you have time.