So, although I came very close to the precipice, I'm pretty sure I didn't end up losing my mind after all. This, I believe, is because towards the end of December the snow came, and stayed, and brightened up the dark days considerably. And, on some of those dark and rainy November and December days prior to the snow's arrival, my co-resident Laura Baruel and I worked in the well-heated basement of the residency house making a "swan boat" that will appear in an ambitious multimedia spectacle/ performance this March. The project is authored and directed by the Fiskars-based playwright/set designer/ multimedia artist duo, Julian Garner and Hanne Horte. Their previous performances, and information on upcoming projects, can be seen on their website: Culturamobila.com.
The swan boat will cross the Fiskars river, igniting a huge "fire sculpture" in the middle of the river on its way. Here are some pictures of the swan in progress and completed. Although the process is very similar to the "wireframe" project I teach in my 3D Design Foundations classes, using willow branches was a new challenge for me. The branches must be painstakingly pieced together into usable lengths. They are fairly flexible while they are wet, and become rigid (and shrink considerably) when they dry. The shrinkage was enough to change the swan's original proportions to the small boat on which we built it.
The swan is scheduled to sail in Fiskars on March 9th, playing its small role amid many large creatures and puppets made by Culturamobila. Fiskars schoolchildren will be the chief performers and prop-operators in the spectacle.
Look, no 3-horsepower cabinet saw! No combination square! Just two pairs of Fiskars gardening clippers, a pair of pliers and a drill.
The finished swan-boat at Culturamobila's workshop in Fiskars Village.