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Old Rope Salvage
It's the last few days before the deadline on Wednesday and I'm putting the final few details into my installation for the exhibition which starts on 2nd September (PV 6-9pm). I am absolutely knackered but have loved just about every minute of creating this thing, from its conception over a chat and a cuppa with my (slightly barmy) man in my garden to my emerging awe in myself that I have actually pulled this off!!! I never want it to end (Well, maybe I do a little as it will be nice to have some kind of life again!) and it's hard to believe that in less than a week all the work for my MA, work I have been immersed in for 2 years now, will be all done, handed in, and ready for the final assessment ahead of the final exhibition. What a journey this has been, both personally and creatively. A most incredible, wonderful two years.
With the main build almost completed, I am impatiently jumping ahead to thinking about all the little details which could make my installation really special.
Over the last months of this project I have thought of the many ways that I might interpret my story to an audience, whether that be through the traditional book format, as a series of light boxes, or as an animation. I am also very strongly influenced by theatre and set design. Also, my images are all about light and layers. With this in mind, I have been giving a lot of thought about how my work is translating into this 3D space, and I have realised that what I am infact creating isn't just a 'stage set' on which the action takes place, but a 3D image or a large, fully immersive light box.
Of course, my primary source of light will be coming from the projection of my animation, but I felt that the absent character of the sailor should have a more central role even though he isn't physically inhabiting the space. So, I am giving him his own light which I will be hanging above his seat, just a little spotlight on a dimmer switch which I have created and made especially and which will highlight his space. Hopefully, this detail just gives an added dimension to the drama.
It has been an exciting couple of days in the exhibition space ...
Firstly, I decided that I wanted to 'plank' the sides of the boat, rather than use my original plan which was simply to use a single sheet of board rolled down the sides. I felt that this gave a more authentic feel of being on a wooden trawler, where the sides are planked and quite incredibly for a water-going vessel, gaps in the boards allow light in, which I though might be a nice aesthetic touch in the space. It wasn't that much more work and I thought it was worth it at this point. I have also been painting everything black as I've gone along, which is intended to be a base coat for the more interesting paint effects that I intend to splash about with later. Less optimistically, but a practical consideration, is that if I run out of time, the black still looks pretty good and once the boat is 'dressed' is an effective backdrop on its own.
Other problems I have been resolving are, firstly, the issue with the sound system, which I have done by wiring up some big speakers to my home stereo and trying out the sound inside the space. I still have to finalise my soundtrack, but I feel better now that the technology to play it is in place. And more importantly, I have tried and tested the positioning of the data projector which will project my animation into the space. Fortunately, it works really well and will still allow an audience to venture inside without disrupting the view, as I had initially planned. So, no last minute disasters there either, I hope.
The next step is to finish the roof at which point the build will be completely finished, leaving me around 7 full days to apply ageing effects and to play with the projection and the 'setting of the stage'.
Having spent what seemed like an eternity making ribs and beams out of cardboard whilst miserably listening to the drilling and hammering of the builders working in the rooms above, dust and asbestos falling on my head (!)I have finally and triumphantly managed to construct the frame for the boat. Made entirely out of cardboard, the beams were constructed from carefully planned and measured templates with the four sections welded together with my new favourite tool, The Mighty Glue Gun. It has turned out much better than I was anticipating really, having ditched my original plan to use hardboard, this construction is lightweight and easily moved around, but also very strong and sturdy once fixed in place. The beams are all held together using dowling and the whole thing, once put in place, holds its shape perfectly. In addition, to disguise the cardboard and give the frame even more strength, I have used a layer of paper mache and a top layer of PVA to give myself a good base on which to paint. There is a lot to do still, but I think that this part was probably (hopefully) the most tedious and from now on, exciting things are going to start happening.
I've been having a bit of fun this week, building a maquette of what will (hopefully!) be the installation which houses my animation projection. It's amazing what you can do with a few packets of Crunchy Nut Cornflakes and some masking tape! Seriously, this thing is made out of empty cereal packets. If only I could make the real thing out of cereal packets, but unfortunately, the real thing is going to be about 10 times bigger than this. And just incase you're trying to work out the scale in these pictures, that's my macbook sitting behind it with my animation on the screen.
Work on the actual installation will begin in the next couple of weeks. Now that I have a place in the exhibition space all measured up and earmarked for my work, it's all beginning to feel a bit too soon for comfort, and still lots to do ... like, for instance, sourcing the materials for this little endeavour! Fortunately, I have technical assistance on hand from boat-dweller and 'Man-Who-Can' Tim Edmonds, who will be on hand with, er ... hammers and stuff. I, of course, will be shouting instructions and waiting patiently with all the exciting things with which to make it look like the inside of a boat, as well as wrestling with the data projector and sound system. And if it all goes wrong, I can always shrink my audience down to size, Alice In Wonderland style.
I am a ...
... Teller of Tales. A Creator of Books. An Artist, Illustrator and A Boatbuilder. A Professional Daydreamer, Occasional Mermaid, and always The Eternal Optimist.