by Katherine Callahan for Build A Dream (2014)

Since I wasn't quite sure at first how to carry out any of my plans or design ideas, the box seemed a good enough place to start. I knew I wanted my finished product to be enclosed in some way so to achieve this I used the bottom of the cardboard box that held all the contents of the kit. I wanted it to act as a frame of sorts so I didn't want it to be too busy and distract from the center of the piece and since I wanted it to hold a contained environment I decided to have the box act as an abstract sleeping head and showing the dreams that are occurring on the inside. I also decided a head was a good choice for the box so I could make use of the fake ear. Since I used a yellow color for the outside of the box (to try and match the color of the ear) I decided to make the inside the opposite end of the spectrum. The mind to me is like an ocean or vast space so I chose dark blues and purples for the inside to represent that. Continuing with the dream theme I chose images, stories or creatures that I used to love as a child. After painting the inside of the box I made a section of island on the opposite end of the box out of mesh wire and plaster gauze and tried securely attaching it to the base with some peanuts. After painting a layer of colors on the land mass I made water out of the plastic the kit was wrapped in by first ripping it into strips and then gluing them to the box with a hot glue gun. The heat from the glue or the tip of the gun caused the plastic to melt and warp and make it look like waves. I also added paint on top of the plastic by the land to make it look like waves hitting the shore.
With the biggest portion started I began working on the smaller pieces of the puzzle. I soaked the sea sponge in brown paint mixed with water so I could use it as a rock. To make the tower I glued one of the wooden discs to the top of the Styrofoam rod and covered it in the plaster gauze, I made the top with wire and plaster gauze. For the roof I used the top half of the plastic egg and draped some plaster gauze over it and let it dry I attached it to the land with some clay. To make the bridge I made the form out of mesh wire and plaster gauze and had it dry draped over clay pillars I made so it would hold its bent shape. I made small round balls for the stones for the bridge and had them connected with a string of rolled clay. It took multiple layers of paint to finally cover the separated look between the plaster and clay and create something I was happy with. I started a mermaid form with wire and used the peanuts for the muscleŁ and plaster gauze for the skin and using this same technique I made the tentacles. I wanted to use both positive and negative images because dreams can go both ways. After the plaster was all dry I spray painted the tail of the mermaid and painted the tentacles with gouache paint (the same I used throughout) and when that was dry I spray painted a bit of silver over a doily to create the patterns.