Tuesday 10 October 2017

Jabberwock Pt.21: How do you fit a Monster in a Vauxhall Zafira?

Back to the build of the Jabberwock then.

With the design pretty much worked out (at least in my head) it was time to start building the actual piece.  After all, time was slipping on by, and the exhibition which had comfortably felt a long way away when I’d started was now hovering menacingly into view like an incoming tide approaching a stranded ice cream van.  I’d been acquiring all sorts of bits and pieces ready for this project throughout the miniatures build (and earlier, really- if something looked potentially useful, it was put on one side, even if I didn’t know what form the monster would take.  Again, much to the consternation of family members who have to put up with my incessant hoarding).

So I was still faced with a number of problems.  Firstly, where to build this thing, and secondly how to transport it.

You know, sometimes I truly envy ‘normal’, i.e non-creative, people.  They get up, go to work, 9-5 in some office somewhere, come home, have tea, watch telly, maybe have a drink, go to bed.  They then spend their weekends doing bugger all but relaxing, maybe go to the shops, go to the match, go to the pub.  If they have kids, they take them out somewhere (or on the evidence of where I live, boot them out of the house to run wild outside all day, so they, the adults, can relax.  See points above).  THEY certainly wouldn’t spend an afternoon trying to work out the punchline to what sounds like an absurdist joke, “How do you get a Jabberwock into the back of a Vauxhall Zafira?”

OK so in the intervening time between deciding to do the project, and starting the build, not only had we acquired several foster Childs, but we had also acquired a rather less-welcome planet-killing, diesel-guzzling people carrier.  Good and Bad News Though; the bigger car at least it meant the sculpture didn’t have to be able to fit into a little Skoda.

We have some form here- when we did “The Home Is…” we ended up having to design the whole thing so it fitted like a nightmarish game of Tetris into the back of said little Skoda.  Put something in the back of the car in the wrong order, and you had to start again; great fun when the majority of shoots were done at 5.30 in the morning, or it was raining, or the North Wales Constabulary/ Angry Early Morning Dog Walkers were wondering just what in hell we were up to.  This time round, the Zafira gives a bit more loadspace, but then Jabberwock is a far bigger piece than that produced for the “Home Is…” shoot, and so a lot of careful measuring had to be done...

The first annoying realisation was that I couldn’t build this beast as large as I wanted, because I had a people carrier, not a 4-ton truck or Hercules transport plane.  The second realisation was that the only way the bugger would fit was if I made it in several pieces which would not only be designed to re-assemble on site, but would also have to tessellate, stack, fold up, and so on in order to make the most of the surprisingly small load space in the car.  Added to which of course was the problem that the cars (we were still on-lease with the little Skoda at the time, being a reluctant Middle Class Two Car Family) would also have to transport the wife and I, her sculptures, toolboxes, and so on.

To say this complicated matters, and led to another bout of slightly drunken soul-searching and anxiety, would be an understatement.  Still, as a previous manager used to say, there are no problems, only the prompts of solutions, and thus a many-pieced monster which could dismantle this must become.

Problem two was neatly solved when my father-in-law agreed to me using the cellar of his house- a nice big stone table to use as a workbench, and an alcove to use as a store.  Sorted.  As long as I remembered to make the individual bits of the monster small enough to fit up the stairs and out the front door…

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