So the big build was just over a week ago now, over two days eight schools in Kent travelled to Dreamland in Margate for The Big Build.
Here is a list of the participant schools.
Priory Infant School Ramsgate
St. Alphege Infant School Whitstable
Hoath Primary School Canterbury
Drapers Mill Primary School Broadstairs
Ellington Infant School Ramsgate
Petham Primary School Canterbury
St. Simon Catholic Primary School Ashford
Herne Bay Junior School Herne Bay
What was The Big Build? A lunar landscape complete with a moon buggy and rocket control console all made from cardboard. All the artists involved had made cardboard space helmets ready for the event and wore their space suits during the build.
My main responsibility was really to ensure the moon buggy was structurally sound as it would need to be picked up and moved across the newspaper lunar landscape in a stop motion animation process. I created a chassis from carpet tubes and axles which were pinned together with sticks of rolled up newspaper. These rolled tightly in a new mangle type machine to make sturdy rods, (very useful for the construction of ambitious creations at a later stage).
Things went well enough on creating the framework, I had children pushing rods through holes folding the ends over and taping things down. Time was very short and I was under pressure. When things were complete I looked across to see if my instructions to the school had been carried out? I was very relieved to see one wheel completed with two almost finished and a forth with a lot to do. This wouldn’t take long and they slipped onto the axels like a smooth formula one tyre change. Other schools were tasked with all the rest of the lunar buggy details and it soon took shape.
The whole thing looked amazing as never at any point till the end when it was all assembled did anyone know what things would look like. The whole thing filmed in 360 degree VR remember and when Tim has edited the video I will post the link. For here is the taster again, move the mouse across the screen for the full 360 effect.
Here is a little story about the most powerful memory of the whole build for me: While I was manning the ‘tool station’ this was where glue guns, sharp knives, saws and drills were used. Pupils came up to the tool station for more complex construction problems and us astronauts would fix it and pupils go back with the completed parts. Now it was like working in a pub on a very busy Friday night with clients 2-3 deep at the bar trying to get served, with quick exchanges/instructions taking place, followed by rapid making, cutting, gluing and sticking while you wait style. This is the moment that will probably always stay with me as a reminder of what art is and what working with other people is like!
A small quite boy waited patiently I could see him standing quietly and thought it will take him along time to get served as he was not good at navigating the mele. I beckoned him over to me. He gave me an L shaped piece of very strong cardboard. This had likely been used to protect the edges of a flat screen TV while in transit. On it was drawn a small circle, I asked if he needed it cut out? ‘Yes Please’. I looked at the task and thought there is no way I am going to attempt this with a craft or Stanley knife the card is just too strong and it would take quite a while and have a low quality outcome. So I remembered I had brought with me a set of hole saws. I chose the smallest one 19mm. It was a perfect fit and I hadn’t used them yet and felt glad I had brought them now. I drilled a perfect sharp hole into the L shape card thinking I wonder what he can be making with this relatively complex part. I gave it back to him and he took it looking at me turned around and walked away. I was already on the next task. A minute or two later I saw the boy back in the que and beckoned him over as I thought he needed help and couldn’t get going on something and time was passing quickly. He gave me back the piece of card saying ‘ I wanted the other bit’!