As I approach this years open studio I have really been starting to take the safety of these pieces of seriously. As stable as these pieces are when I’m testing, they are not with the public, and I know they can if knocked…fall. So I devised a method of adding triangular feet to the base of two of them. These two are the Unforgiven pair, which I’ll be testing out this coming weekend with the public.
I came into the studio, starting the day by adding a few more coats of paint to the new additions which are now in place. I also applied fresh gum-tape to further secure the plinth. I’m surprised I had enough to go around and still have plenty left over. The opportunity to finally see this large piece projected into was too good to pass up.
I was then freed me up to focus on further stabilising the model miniatures for the public. I had an idea for triangular legs, but I knew I needed to flesh them out at this scale, so I decided to sandwich them out with strips are cardboard inside two triangles. Repeat that method 3 more times and hopefully I have made a piece more stable for the public. Only time will really tell as I make a start on the other legs for the other pair next weekend before I do another test with all again.
The real test in this Saturday, if things go to plan I will be a step closer to bringing this piece to a close and exhibition ready.
After taking a much needed day off this weekend to recharge I returned to the studio where I spent most of the day. The fourth plinth is now up.. again. After tearing it down, amending the tracking also to accommodate the lack of cardboard (yes I’m running short of the right cardboard). I had to redraw the tracking to ensure I had enough to make this plinth work. I went as far as pulling it altogether and drawing up where the cables to/from the projector will run into the plinth. I’ll be securing it further next time.
I spent half my time adding coats of paint to the saloon bar and raised projector platform. I felt that by the end of the day that I feel more at peace with this addition. It’s amazing what a coat of paint can do. I think it was the jarring of the cardboard in such a white space that made it stand out and feel alien.
I also carried out a minor structural adjustment to the saloon. I noticed last week that the wall with the doorway was wobbily. I knew that it had to be reinforced, first I thought a piece at the top, which I learned only did half the job. Even re-gluing the base of the walls wasn’t enough. Later in the day I decided to add a longer piece that ran the length of the gap on the exterior, this did the trick. It practically hides the intruding wall/door and making a flush wall again. It’s something I’ve learned for future internal model miniatures with similar walls.
Next time I’ll be adding the finishing touches to everything I’ve done today and also edit the re-timed videos as they will be used in the exhibited pieces. With the annual open studios on 21st April, I’ll be testing a few of them out during the day to see how they stand up to an extended length of time. I’ll be on hand to check on how they are doing.
After 4 days straight in the studio, I’m tired. I’ve completed all I set out to do – to fix the projectors into the four model miniatures. I’ve removed the need for horrible tripods, which looked horrible and also created a real hazard in the dark. Having removed that I’ve now got everything attached or concealed to each piece, whilst hopefully they will be fire safe too. They are all secure and well ventilated allowing them to project the slow-motion violence into the spaces. They may no longer consume them. but they are more intimate which can only add to t he miniature aesthetic.
Onto today’s piece I quickly set on where the project would go, It wasn’t going to be hidden in the double bed. For once it was going to be suspended well raised above and attached to the a wall. The fixing had to be right for everything to work, otherwise it would be loose and dangerous. I was careful when even trying the projector in its final position. Angling and support were the first things to get right. The angling was achieved and ensured with five pieces of lattice that sit below the shelf.
Once those criteria were met I moved onto securely holding the projector above adding ventilation and allowing easy access to the ports/buttons. Once this was sorts I could fix in place, and work on the hidden pocket that concealed the media player within the plinth. I finished the day by returning to the first model miniature and hiding the supports in the bar, boxing out the bar before I got the paint out to begin work on the new features that I want to be seen as part of the pieces, whilst others will be left bare. I’m still not happy with the structure I made yesterday, it maybe completely redesigned before it’s fixed in place. Even though I have begun painting it, that won’t stop me.
Next time it will be all about making the new plinth and carrying on the painting of the new pieces which then allow new tests to be carried out.
We’re into the final half of the Easter holiday and I’m doing well. With a structure in place to hold the projector for the Japanese model. One that I am beginning to have second thoughts about now. However I need to see how it looks once painted. Part of me is not used to such a massive change that from the view I’ve been looking at to be obstructed. It wasn’t an easy decision after looking at all the possible positions for the projector to site. I was prepared to construct a bar for it to sit with in at an angle.
The construction of the piece was pretty straight forward once I got the initial height to build a base which I could then adapt, cutting into and repositioning to allow the projection to dramatically fall onto the back wall. The position of the piece now means that a new plinth’s required too. Working with the base, to consider the ventilation I worked in a lattice pattern that would also look interesting and allow the viewer to see within to what is slightly hidden – maybe that’s a fair compromise that I need to accept here.
Now all I have to do is paint and more than likely fix in place ready for presentation. I’ll make a start on a new plinth once all the projector positions have been sorted and painting is underway. Laying the groundwork with new tracking in place. I’ll be making use of the old one to make a start on the new. I have also been looking at added a line of cardboard around the interior of the bar in yesterday’s model miniatures to hide the additions, I’ll paint all the new additions too that sit within the model. The first one I’ll leave bare as its external. Lastly I have the biggest and most interesting model to work with. I’m not sure where the project will go. I have a lot of space to place with too.
We are half-way through the Easter Holiday and I also half-way through adapting my model miniatures to hold the projectors within them in some shape or form. After weighing up my options for this one – the saloon from Unforgiven (1992) I decided to conceal it within the saloon bar itself. Which took some time to figure out, after carefully removing the bar, I began to look at the angle and how to then secure it in place. Whilst also allowing the image to come through the bar unaffected. Also considering the ventilation which runs through under the base and straight outside again.
Once the projector was secure I had to consider the bar itself, how do I keep it secure, yet lose. I decided on a system on cardboard strips that would run around three sides of the bar on in the interior, so that it slides over the top, holding it in place.
Again I made some necessary cuts to the plinth for the cabling, with the addition of the media player pocket, which will be a standard part of all of the modifications. I’m pleased with how this one has turned out and the creative thinking which went into make the. This new method will really free up the presentation, only restricted by the length of power cable which is easily resolved.
Next up I’m hoping to work on the Japanese piece, to conceal it would be hard under the raised floor, causing more work than I really want. Also the positioning of the projector (which I am think will be overhead) could potentially change the plinth it sits on too, as it currently sits on it’s side. All come make more sense when I return to the studio.
I’ve got four days off during the Easter break and my intention is to make use of them at the studio. During the week I had some ideas for how to contain the projector within the model miniatures. Taking the sketches with me I had a few options – 1 a bar across the top of the pieces with a secured and angles projector above, positioned into the work. 2 – angled below and also secured in place and 3 – a concealed projector within the piece, which I drew up sketches of where they could potentially go based on each piece.
All being very unique I have decided to work with each one alone, allowing me to focus better on them. I began with The Great Silence saloon, moving the projector around the space, looking at the possibilities before deiced what was best. With this one I went with option 2. With some new cardboard I found at work, which is surprisingly strong 1ply card, I began to construct a case that is individually tailored to the model, the angle of the projectors and the distance. I have made the decision that this should be the method used for all of them. The case considers all necessary ports and ventilation to reduced the risk of fire. The real test will be to leave the pieces on for an extended period of time to see how they work and will withstand.
Concerning the cables I have made a small cut into the plinth and also made a pocket/shelf to holder the media player inside the plinth. I think this will be a standard piece, whilst the option for the projector will vary. I’m happy with how well it’s gone, something I’ve not done (securing kit with cardboard) since my degree show piece. So far it’s going well, the real test will come when I have to conceal as I’ll probably have to repaint or remake sections. It’s nothing I can’t handle, I’m confident that it will turn out well.
I was mad to go into the studio today, with what is looking like freezing snow outside. I was determined to go in if the roads were clear. So they were and I did. My main focus of the day was to reinforce the fourth plinth, which is by far the largest of the set. I’m struggling to find space now in my studio space.
With the gum-tape in place I decided to see how it would look paired up with other model miniature. Looking at the two together I could see a massive difference in height. The larger piece dominates it without doubt, which really concerns me. I was considering how it would look with the viewfinder in place, how that would change the piece, giving more power to the larger one.
I had to see how it looked, and it just took all the attention away from the smaller one which just cowers away in comparison. I need to see how they work with projections, how will that change things. I’m starting to lean towards removing the viewfinder completely as much as it draws the audience in, the envelope like screen that it cut out to reveal the violence is something that could work on it’s own without the other piece.
I’ve spent longer than I expected to on this piece in the studio today. Just showing that even with all the material I have to hand. I began by sourcing the longest box (when flattened out) which measured to just over a meter. Thinking that I may have the tallest plinth on my hands here. As the day progressed I was searching for pieces that matched the original box. I couldn’t, settling for two varied sizes, which ultimately took the height down to just under a meter.
With the height fixed I began to get the pieces cut to size, slowly in place and fixed together. There are support strips of card on either side of the with some of the sheets that are forming the plinth. I have to make do and carry on the best I can with some pieces. Once in place I began to reinforce with the standard triangles on the 90 degree angles, it was the those of around 120 degrees that needed a different approach to ensure they did the same job.
As I’ve had with the other plinths, the model miniature slotted in with ease once more, allowing me to see it raised and supported. All I need to do now is add the gum tape for extra strength before pairing it up with the other piece. I’m glad that all four plinths have been constructed, bringing me a step closer to drawing this piece to an end. Moving forward I want to see how this pair looked when projecting together too. Before that happens I need to buy more kit that will streamline what I already have, making further tests and ultimately installations an easier process to set-up. Lastly I need to see how the projections work with both the viewfinder in place and without. I’m also concerned how it will look alongside the others which have so far not needed one. All these decisions still to make.
Installation in The Festival Art Show at Spring Bank Arts part of New Mills Festival (2017) . Cardboard model miniatures and video installation of Iron Horse of the Studio (2015)
If you would ever like to make a simple Buffalo, follow these simple steps. You will need, balls of string, classic clothes pegs, cork bottle stoppers. Fur in two tones of brown (dark and light). Scissors to cut both the fur and the string, skewers, a hand-saw and PVA glue.
- Find a classic round chunky clothes peg and a cork bottle-stop. Saw the beyond the ball end leaving about 1omm minimum.
- Find a ball of string (you may need a big ball depending on how many you want to make. Tie the bottle stopper, to the flat end, making use of the clip to hold the piece tight.
- Cut lengths of skewers to a two lengths (two for the front and two for the rear legs)
- Tie these to the body of the peg, longer at the front, shorter at the back. Use a figure of eight knot to hold them in place before tying them off around the clip.
- Making sure your skeletal Buffalo stands up you can move onto the fur, cutting an inch wide strip. Before you glue it around the body of the Buffalo, do a practice wrap to ensure you know where the it will fall to get a good coverage of the body.
- Once you have decided how to wrap it around you can glue a small section (in between two legs on one side. Wrap around and cut to size, gluing it down. Check all over to ensure you glue down any patches still showing.
- Turning the head (cork bottle stopper) cut a inch wide strip of the other fur to size, ( you can use this for a few Buffalo. Cut to size a section that will cover half (top or bottom) of the head. Once you’ve decided, glue down and cut in places to wrap around to cover the flat sides.
- Nearly done now, cut a two short length (25mm or less) for the horn at the pointed end. Then work these into either side of the head.
- And there you have your first Buffalo.