FaeDreams And WightMares

   by Laura Janisieski for Build A Dream (2014)

I hope this write-up will make up for the poor quality of my 'Making Of' video. I didn't realize just how cheap my camera is until just before I made the presentation video. Thank goodness a friend let me use his camera for the big show. :)

So, when I managed to open the package after shaking from giddy anticipation -

After removing the shrink wrap and opening the box, the first thing I had to do was disassemble the mannequin and the canvas board. I love taking things apart...

The mannequin appendages, cut in half, were perfect spouts for my dream element tanks, and the springs, hooks, and screws came in handy for hanging my characters from wire and thread, as well as attaching the hinges I made with the aluminum wire to the "face gate".

I used the Mystery Build box to build the base for the stage, the back wall, the entry ramp, and other small walls and features. The wall is held to the base with wire mesh, strips of the box, and a stripe of canvas from the dismantled canvas board. I also cut strips of the box and painted them silver for the dream element tanks. The tanks themselves, I made by gluing two strips of the shrink wrap together in cylinders, with painted silver cardboard circles from the mannequin box as caps. The tank bases are cut from the styrofoam rod. I cut one of the square dowels into smaller sticks to build a loom, and I unraveled a lot of the canvas not only for the loom, but to make vines and grass. (the grass is chopped bits of canvas mixed with paint.)

The intact canvas, that I didn't shred like a madwoman, I used for a "movie" screen, part of which is mounted on the round dowels and attached to a gear and crank made from one of the small wooden circles and bits of wire, and the compressed wood board. The rubber band is wrapped around the dowels inside and beneath the stage, and is kept from rolling off by coils of wire. I drilled holes in the end of each dowel and inserted pieces of wire to hold the dowels in place in the floor and the "beam" (square dowel) above, as well.

I used the rest of the styrofoam rod, cut in half and painted brown, to create an illusion in the backstage area that the screen is being loomed and sewn together as it scrolls. I fashioned an exaggerated needle from the provided wire, after sewing the back screen with the thread provided, also. The screen is painted with mostly watercolors. I used acrylics for most of the stage, and a good bit of nail polish, also. Seeing as acrylic paint would shrivel the cornstarch peanuts, my nail polish collection was perfect for painting the stone wall, mushrooms, and characters, all fashioned from the packing peanuts. Since it's fairy land, I had to use a bit (okay, a rather good bit) of glitter nail polish, too.

The face gate is fashioned from wire mesh, plaster wrap, and some of the inner cardboard from the canvas board. I hammered, twisted, broke, cursed, and remade hinges and a latch from the aluminum wire and mannequin screws. The gate frame is made from the large aluminum wire piece, and the arbor, decoration, and fence are hammered from the smaller gauge wire, and painted black.

The arbor and fence are entwined with vines made from unraveled canvas, green paint, and shrink wrap leaves. I also couldn't resist painting a few tiny goldfish in the pond off the patio.

The foam ear became the stage door, which is inside, because I realized too late that it would make a backward head stage if I put it on the outside as I originally intended. D'oh.

I melted the plasticine clay, but I added a bit too much oil paint when I colored it, so it became sticky and hard to work with. I ended up only using clay for the caterpillar and the bed. (I almost forgot the bed!) The bed is made from bits of the box, wire hammered and painted gold, a packing peanut core clay mattress, and a clay pillow and blanket.

A strip of the canvas-board canvas became the stationary curtain on the front stage, and the paper was divided between the moving curtains and the thought bubbles, which are mounted on hammered aluminum wire, which I also used as puppet sticks.

Finally, having thwarted my own plan of making the outside of the stage a person's head, I was left with only the option of framing the outer wall in plaster and gold and painting a starscape. If I hadn't put the starscape there, I suppose it would have landed somewhere else in the project, anyway.

I decided to craft a literal interpretation of the theme 'Build a Dream'¯. When I was a small child, I had a number of bizarre recurring dreams that still stick with me today. (I wish I could remember first grade, but the dreams are a good substitute.) Who better to be the crafters of childhood fancy than a fleet of faeries?

The patio area and pond are from a dream where I would be looking in holes in a telephone pole, and I would either hear a male voice and see work boots, or I'd hear a female voice and ser e an adorable pastel patio scene with a matching color pond.

The caterpillar and mouth cave scene are from an even more bizarre dream. I was walking on a yellow brick road through a paper forest, and the giant caterpillar came by. I hid behind a tree, and after he passed, I noticed a free standing cave in the distance. In my dream the back of the cave was glass and I could see cartoon cavemen inside. Around the front, the mouth of the cave was a literal mouth, with sharp teeth that I was strangely not afraid of. I got stuck in the door in the dream, but there was no fairy there to save me that time.

The second scene is from a recurring night terror I had as an adolescent. I would sleepwalk through my house, chasing shapes floating in the air, and I apparently was supposed to make them into doll clothes, if I could catch them. One night there was an airplane made out of a high heeled shoe, filled with spaghetti, too, but that's next year's project.

The 'Wightmare' scene is just a generic scary thunderstorm type scene. Which is odd that I made that way, because I've always loved thunderstorms...

The backstage scene contains a tower I fled to in a post apocalyptic dream, followed by a room filled with colorful plastic balls, and nets suspended above. I don't remember what happened in that dream, but I'm assuming it was fun.

Lastly, the scene being weaved on the loom is from a dream where I would jump from tower to tower above a huge playing field. I think it was related to playing too much Atari.

I chose to label the dream element tanks with the classic memories¯ and fears, and being a Jung fan, I had to have a tank for animus, shadow, and the collective unconscious.

Hmm, all I can think to add is that this was the most exciting art project I have done in years, and I definitely will be doing it again next year! Thank you for such a great inspirational contest!