The Creative Quarter Project: Phase 4 (Installation and conclusions)

Monday came and we still had a lot to do. We’d organised for Leanne to pick up the plinth from the hairdressers later that day at the same time as picking up the head. In an hour break early on in the day we painted the plinth so it was ready in time. The rest of the day was spent finishing the hat, securing hair to the back of the head and covering up gaps. Leanne messaged us with a time which was a little earlier than we first anticipated, so it was a rush job to finish on time.

The big worry at this time was the moving of the head. We’d already moved the head without decoration in the lift so knew it would fit, but we had a new problem…moving it with a chicken wire frame and paper mache. In addition to this, it was heavier with all the heads and more fragile. Luckily Leanne turned up with a flat trolley which made it easy to manoeuvre out of the building. The lifting into the van was our biggest worry at that point.

Amazingly we got away with a few scuffs on the paintwork but the heads and acrylic sheeting remained intact. We were given the area just outside the Nottingham Contemporary Gallery and Emma and I were left to fix hat and hair to head while Leanne and the guys went to pick up the plinth.

Overall the installation went well. The head was positioned and screwed to the plinth base.

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The Robin Hood sculpture finished and in position outside the gallery.

Conclusions:-

Once it was finished we were relatively happy with the overall look. The main problems came with the rush job at the end which resulted in a less than perfect finish to some of the sections of the head. The back of the head was not secured as much as we’d have liked. We had to resort to gaffer tape in some areas which meant the hair was looser than initially designed, so of course over time, there was some hair loss, possibly due to wind or passing crowds. From a distance it had the desired effect. We watched as people walked past and stopped to look while we installed. The face area was visually striking both close up and from a distance. The acrylic worked and the content was interesting. Emma did a stunning job of edging it with the wool and creating an interesting pattern. Had the hair hat been finished on time, we could have finished everything off to higher standard. The back of the head with the hair pieces was visually striking as it did look like a head, though due to time constraints it wasn’t secured well enough. The sculpture did however fulfill the brief in the fact that it was designed largely by the hairdressers, adapted and built by us, finished on time and to budget. The concept of many heads coming together to create it was partially successful and it said something about the hairdressers in the creativity, use of recycled materials and the history/culture of Nottingham which also fulfilled the brief.

It taught us about time management and the need to adapt designs due to budget and practicalities. Design is all about compromise and problem solving and that’s no different whether you work in film, art or theatre.  It’s also about negotiation and communication. I’m happy with the way we handled that side of the project. Between Emma and I we had contact every week with the hairdressers and Leanne from the council. Thankfully we managed our time well enough to allow the time needed at the end to finish the hat for the hairdressers.  It’s important to remember that for future projects. If you are organised and try to finish ahead of schedule it allows for last-minute disasters.

A big thank you goes out to Mick from NTU workshop for sparing his time and space, to NTU and to Leanne.

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