Posts Tagged With: public art

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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The Creative Quarter Project: Phase 1

Last month Emma Bibby and I teamed up to take on a brief with Nottingham’s Creative Quarter initiative and Nottingham City Council in which artists work with apprentices from Nottingham’s various work sectors.

The Brief:- To work with the apprentices on designing and realising a piece of sculpture that would be installed for apprentice week at the beginning of March. Although it didn’t have to be a literal connection with their trades it had to encompass something about them.

We were also given £300 budget to work with.

We were assigned to the hairdressing academy and in week 1, once we’d meet up with Kathy from the Creative Quarter, Leanne from the council and all the other artists we spent some time collecting visual ideas as a starting point and as something to encourage the hairdressers to think of possible designs. We wanted them to have as much input from an early stage, so kept our ideas and visuals to the possible use of recycled materials and hairdressing styles, using visuals from Pinterest. Below is the mood/visual board that we put together to get the project started.

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This was what we took to the first meeting, along with a selection of samples of plastics that could be used in the construction.

Meeting 1 mainly consisted of discussing the idea and CQ project, meeting some of the apprentices and their supervisors and leaving them with the task of coming up with an idea. We  were aware from the early stages that the apprentices didn’t have the building skills to do anything large-scale so Emma and I would take on the construction side. It was apparent that they had very little time to spare on the project, mainly Mondays.

Meeting 2 on the following Monday was when the idea was presented to us. They wanted to use old hairdressing heads that were no longer useful due to the thinning hair and build a larger head from those. There were practicalities to consider such as what paint to use, how much time they had to spare, scale and how many heads would need to be painted. We also discussed the possibility of doing some kind of hairstyle on top of the head, so left them with the task of designing an avant-garde hairstyle/piece for the following meeting.

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Above images are the heads to be used and an example of an avant-garde hairstyle.

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