Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Wiz

While I was doing City Wide, I also rebuilt the giant sea spirit puppet to be used as the wizard for Sacred Heart Academy's The Wiz, at the formidable Shubert Theater in New Haven. This required a new head, which I built out of cardboard so it would be lighter then the massive chicken wire torture devise I originally made. Here it is not quite finished, and then filling up the back of my car in transit.

Here's a video I took during their first half hour working with the wizard, (while it's still unfinished- excuse the drooping fabric and unfinished hemline and all). You can hear how giddy I get when I get a group of great kids playing with puppets like this. It is crazy fun. And they came up with their first choreography like pros by the end of just 30 minutes.

I again wasn't able to be at the show and didn't get photos!

Thursday, December 08, 2011

tent of pants

Right after the float came City Wide Open Studios. I didn't know the float was going to happen right before when I signed up for CWOS, nor did I know India was going to happen right after. So this little installation of a tent made of blue jeans was squeezed as tightly into the weekend as it was in the tiny downtown office mail room I was assigned to. (Also for some reason, all this fall I failed to get decent pictures of anything. Luckily ElizaB took these for me.)

In my head were tents, horse skeletons, eyes, and the Vermont floods. At hand was an mountainous surplus of blue jeans and a new skill for jigsawing plywood. I made another pavilion for an exoskeleton structure, and sew-sculpted a tent of jeans right into it. And with all the extra jeans I made a rippled flood of denim flowing out of the tent to fill the rest of the room. I'd originally planned to be a living sculpture within, but with the soundtrack of rain, dim blue lighting, and the bizarre halloween weekend blizzard, it was too cold for anyone to stay in this space for very long. I left my horse skull mask to take center stage on its own. But I've got more to do on this.

On the wall, eye clouds.

Monday, December 05, 2011

paint parade

I made a time lapse movie of me painting one of the arches because I finally discovered the timer function on my camera. (Parade float making begs for the accompaniment of Nino Rota music):


Saturday, December 03, 2011


Phew is there a lot to catch up on. Let's go bird by bird, starting with my first ever parade float in October.

The Mystic Aquarium asked me to design a permanent float structure that incorporated fiberglass animals made by their shop carpenter Gary Grimm, including a 14 foot beluga whale. It had to come apart so it could be stored in a small space, and be able to change from season to season.

For the pitch I made a model of a wave pavilion, two crossing arches that could come apart to be stored flat, and sides to cover the trailer. Then I had fun making a stop animation of how it would look as it traveled by (the column in the center represents a human figure for scale):

By the time I got the green light I had two weeks to build it by myself, the staging, plus 3 penguins and various sealions, corals and seaweeds. And all on this challenging metal U-Haul trailer. Hello float marathon!

Thankfully my mum lent me her ballsy jigsaw, and do I love cutting plywood with it.

With cutting, painting and carving all going on at once, my makeshift studio expanded from my living room, to the dining room and kitchen. And with the pieces all being BIG (and almost always wet with paint), I was at over capacity.

And luckily my mum lent me herself for a many long days and nights. I worked her hard. Here she is carving penguins. The picture is fuzzy because she made me promise not to post her.

A few days before the first parade I drove it all up to the Mystic Aquarium shop where I spent the day helping to cover the U-Haul with my staging together with Gary's amazing whale and Ron's beautiful fish. We found a spare rock from the aquarium grounds that fit perfect.

Here's Gary and Ron, who were so gracious to let me in their shop:

I couldn't be at the first parade, but the aquarium took some photos.

I'd loved this project, a float was so right up my alley. I hope I get to keep working on this one, and get more opportunities like this. Though I could really use a warehouse next time.