Building Boo's Dream

   by Amy Kollar Anderson for Build A Dream (2014)

The other day, my kitten, Boo, told me a dream he had and insisted that I build it for him. Starting at the base of the piece, the patterned rug is made from raw canvas, the edges frayed with a needle, then a coat of clear gesso to stop the threads from moving.
The rat musician is sculpted from the oil based clay. His instrument is carved from foam rod combined with some bent wire and a little plaster cast material for the mouth piece. The cheese below him was the base of the wooden man and the sheet music is cut paper with hand-drawn inked designs.
The vintage radio is constructed from masonite panel and supported with the square dowel rods. On the surface, I filled the open cracks with glue and masonite dust left over from sanding. I deconstructed the artist canvas then used the cardboard for the speaker insets, with a layer of metal mesh on top. On the front control panel is a layer of cardboard and painted canvas. The radio face and large dial are aluminum rod that has been hammered, cut, filed, sanded and then painted and the smaller nobs are cut straight from the aluminum rod.
The body and head of the genie cat were created by wrapping plaster casting material over inflated balloons. Once dried, the balloons are removed and the edges and open areas were reinforced with either extra plaster or cardboard. Wire mesh was used to enhance the shape of the lower body and then covered with plaster. The arms are made from cardboard and plaster cast material. The body and head are covered in a texture created by smearing wet packing peanuts over the plaster cast. This was almost disastrous since it weakened areas of the plaster and flaked quite a bit after it dried, but I was able to save the surface with a liberal coating of paint. The shawl is painted and then strings from the raw canvas were knotted and glued in place for the tassels.
I used the square dowel rod to support the base of the body emerging from the radio, and a cardboard funnel was created to give it a rounded appearance. The dowel rod is also a main element of the internal gear mechanism. After several failed attempts, I was able to create a combination of masonite gears that are supported by the thread bobbin, square dowels and wire. The aluminum rod, used for the horizontal axis, exits the body and ends in the tail. The tail was constructed from foam rod and a wooden nickel, then covered in the plaster and treated the same as the other furred surfaces.
I hid the gear system behind a piece of the Mystery Build box, which was molded to shape, painted and then glued in. This panel is the background for the catfish in the aquarium belly. The catfish was cut from the Vincent foam ear. The tail and fin were built up from the moistened packing peanuts, and his ears were cut from the wooden man's hands. He is accompanied by a piece of coral that I cut out of the natural sponge and painted. The front glassť was made by covering the plastic wrapping with a thin layer of pourable medium, then it was cut to shape and glued in place.
The frog singer's head was the lower torso of the wooden man's body and her eyes were the leg sockets. Her body is clay, covered with paint and nail polish. Her dress is constructed from the plaster casting's white plastic wrapper and the decorative ruffle and zig-zagged border accents of the dress were the edge of the plastic. The bracelets on her right arm and the base of her earrings are aluminum wire and the earring accents, the bracelet and ring on her left hand are all made from wire mesh.
The upper head-piece starts with a wooden nickel and a mini cat head, which was created from the chest piece and feet of the wooden man. On the sides of the head are winged pieces made from hammered and painted aluminum rod, and then inserted in the former arm holes. Above this, the center pivot was the wooden man's middle torso.
The butterflies wings are cut from raw canvas and the bodies and heads are sections of the wooden man. The birds wings are cut from primed artist canvas and the heads are joints from the wooden man, which are held together between two sections of carved foam. All the pieces are hanging from hooks made from aluminum wire and connected to the posts with string pulled from the raw canvas, twisted, then painted.
On top of the entire structure is the spider, her body is the wooden man's head. Her wire arms were hammered flat for hands, and her knitting needles were cut from the large, square dowel rod, then carved and sanded. The ball of yarn and knitted web are made from the thread and lots of glue (that is the slickest thread I have ever used!).
As you can see, Boo is quite the dreamer!