Sweet Dreams

   by Amanda Trask for Build A Dream (2014)

For this year's MysteryBuild project 'Build a Dream', I decided to take the innocence of a dream and corrupted the scene with a nightmare. The base is of a little girl sleeping in her bedroom. Splitting the scene is a dream catcher that is being ripped apart by a Triton that the Nightmare Sea Creature is using to break through and grabbing onto the once peaceful dream of a mermaid. As he is grabbing onto her, she is becoming infected by the nightmare.
Little girl's room: I decided to do a little girl's room because I felt like being able to do pinks and purples would make it stand out from the rest of the piece instead of a little boy which would have been more blues that would have probably blended with the underwater theme of the dream sequence. In the room, the base is made from the full piece of board that I painted to look like wood and before the paint fully dried, took a sharp tool to make the look of individual wood panels. I propped it up slightly by cutting the round Styrofoam piece in half and placing it so that the base can be angled. The bed with the little girl is made from some of the box that the mannequin came in. I made a box for the base of the bed and cut out the head board. I placed a packing peanut to form the little girl's body and made her head and hair out of clay. The sheet is made from the cloth that I draped over the figure. The dresser beside the bed is made from part of the MysteryBuild box. I cut each piece to form a box and then cut out 3 smaller pieces to make drawers that stick out. On top rests a frame with a picture of a heart. The frame is made from part of the mannequin box that I cut out and then cut an opening out of. The heart is painted on a small piece of the canvas that I ripped apart so that it was only the top layer of the canvas. In the back there Is a small toy chest. I also made the toy chest by making a box out of part of the MysteryBuild box. Inside there are five toys sticking out. There is a duck that is made from clay, a little doll that is made from clay and the hair is pieces of the wire frame modeling metal mesh, the puzzle is a piece of mannequin box that was painted to look like it had individual cutouts, a spring that was from the mannequin, a shell made from clay, and a ball made from clay. I packed the toy chest with some of the packing peanuts to make it fuller and glued the toys on top. The door is made from part of the mannequin box. I placed clay over it and extracted some clay from it to make the slits that are typically seen on doors. I then placed a thicker layer of clay around the edges to make the door frame. The table is made from the spool that had the thread wrapped around it. I broke off one side and placed a piece of the cardboard from the mannequin box on top and then painted it. On top rests a tea pot and two tea cups with plates underneath them, all made from clay. The chairs are made from strips of wood that I broke apart from a piece of the wood sticks. The legs and back rest are made from the wood and the seat is made from pieces of cardboard that I took after ripping the canvas into layers. On the ground there are 3 pictures and little crayons surrounding them. The pictures are pieces of the canvas depicting an ocean with a sun and birds flying, a family with a sun in the sky, and a mermaid surrounded by fishes. The crayons are pieces of wire that I cut into small pieces and painted. There are 3 books that are also on the ground that are made from clay. And there is four blocks that are made from cutting pieces of the wood sticks into blocks and painted. Lastly the rug is made from a piece of the cardboard that was stripped away from the canvas and the edges cut to give a frayed look. Each piece in the room was painted using acrylic paint. The dresser, toy chest, rug, and door all have a flower pattern on then and the tea set is painted with polka dots.
Nightmare Seahorse: For this piece I wanted to merge both a seahorse and a Nightmare horse. I decided to do a seahorse type body, but added horse legs and merged both the features of a seahorse and horse in the face, the elongated feature and structure of a seahorse with the mouth, teeth, ears and eyes of a horse. I added a mane of fire from the head all the way to the end of the tail and also included some on the legs. The Nightmare Seahorse is made from the Easter Egg, wire, packaging peanuts, the foam ear and clay. The main body of the Nightmare Seahorse is the Easter egg that I filled with packing peanuts and drilled holes to poke wire through to attach the head and tail, as well as, secure a way to mount the creature up. Both the tail and the head/neck's wire is strung with packing peanuts and then everything was covered in clay. Throughout the body I made gauges in the clay and scratched out certain parts to build texture and make it seem as though it has been through battle and has scarring. The mane was cut up pieces of the foam ear and I glued each piece individually. Once everything was together I painted the Nightmare Seahorse with a mix of acrylic paint, alcohol inks, and metallic watercolors. I also did a layer of embossing powder that I let dry then wiped away to give the creature a seahorse like texture then painted over it with the alcohol inks to ensure the textured stayed. The mane was done with alcohol ink and metallic watercolor to give a type of glow that stood out from the rest of the figure.
Nightmare rider: For the rider I did a demonic humanoid octopus creature. The rider was made using the arms and upper body of the mannequin and a packing peanut, the tentacles were made using wire and clay, the large top of the head was made using a part of the thigh piece from the mannequin and then covered and sculpted in clay. The whole figure was covered in clay and details of the spiked spine and suction cups on the tentacles were added using pieces of clay. I attached a piece of packing peanut to the mannequin torso and then strong wire on for each tentacle. I then put clay all over the piece and for the suction cups on each tentacle I rolled small balls and with a pointed tool poked a hole in the middle and placed each piece individually on there. The figure is painted using acrylic paint, alcohol ink, and liquid gold leaf. In the mouth I placed sharp teeth was made from the wire frame modeling metal mesh that I cut into strips and then clamped together to make thinner pieces. I then placed the figure on top of the Nightmare Seahorse and wrapped some of the tentacles around the Seahorse to help secure it.
Triton: In the Nightmare rider's hand there is a triton that was made by sanding down a piece of a wooden stick into a point and then the other two sides were made using some of the plaster strips. The center point was done using clay and then I placed a braided ribbon around the triton that was made from clay and had part of the wire frame modeling metal mesh, that was cut into strips and clamped together to make thinner, then placed in the flowing ends to be able to move and have stand freely. The triton was painted with alcohol ink and liquid gold leaf. The braided ribbon was painted using alcohol ink.
Mermaid: The mermaid was made using the hips of the mannequin with the wire still attached, the stomach area of the mannequin, packaging peanuts, wire, the plastic that was around the spool of thread, the sponge, and clay. I took the wire that was connected to the hip part of the mannequin and strung packaging peanuts through it. I then attached the stomach part to the hips and put clay around everything. I built more clay on top to place the head and attach the arms using some wire. Once the mermaid was covered in clay and the head was sculpted, I cut out the fins for the tail and for the back using the plastic that was surrounding the thread. I put grooves in the tail to make it look like scales and built up fins on the back of the arms using clay. The hair was done by cutting pieces of the sponge and then individually placing each piece to build up the hair. The mermaid was painted using acrylic paint and metallic watercolors and the hair was painted using acrylic paint and alcohol inks. The arm that is being grabbed by the Nightmare rider is darker and painted to look almost bruised and radiating up her arm as though the dream sequence is becoming infected by his touch. Her expression is of her screaming in fear.
Dream catcher: The dream catcher was made from the plaster strips, wire frame modeling metal mesh, wire thread and the piece of white paper. The wooden circle of the dream catcher was made with the plaster strips and I drilled holes in parts in order to string the inner part of the dream catcher through. The inner part of the dream catcher was made with the wire frame modeling metal mesh that I cut into strips and then clamped together to make thinner pieces. I did several of these and then linked them together and strung through the holes of the rounded section and made balls at the end with the wire frame modeling metal mesh so that it wouldn't fall through. On the top of the dream catcher there is a ring for holding it up that was made from a piece of wire that I wrapped the thread around. Also, the parts that are dangling from the circular frame and attached to the feathers are done in the same way. The feathers are made from the white piece of paper that I cut out and then did slits to give the look of a feather. On the very top of the dream catcher this is also a hook that is made from the wire so that it helps give the illusion that the catcher is hanging. Each one of the components with the dream catcher was painted using acrylic paint.
Surrounding area: The outermost part surrounding the whole project was constructed using the MysteryBuild box that I cut to the shape. On each side of the nightmare and dream sequences I constructed waves made from the cloth material, packaging peanuts, and various pieces of the clay packaging, packaging around the thread, and packaging around the wire. On the Nightmare side there are various components. On the bottom there are spikes coming up from the ground and subtly going into the little girl's room. These pieces were made from cutting pieces of the wood sticks. There are also rock pieces that were made from the circular wood pieces that I broke apart and painted. The coral was made by cutting up strips from the mannequin box and then gluing pieces together. I then glued the pieces to pieces of the sponge for a base. I also made other types of plant life using clay and strips of the wood and meshing them together. The shark and eels are all made with clay. There are also pieces of the canvas around the piece. On the dream side, the plant life on the bottom was made using clay and I also placed pieces of the sponge as well, both of which are also subtly making their way into the little girl's room. In the back there is a large piece of coral that was made using the mannequin head as the support base, clay, pieces of sponge and the flat pieces were from the mannequin box and the flat wood discs. There are also three starfish that were made from the foam ear. The dolphin is made using clay. The jellyfish in the back were made from the plastic that was around the thread spool that I took a lighter to in order to make it bubble into a circular shape and then took strips of it and brought the lighter to it so that the pieces would curl. I then took pieces of the thread and attached everything to the underside of the top. I also made small bubbles that were placed throughout the whole piece that was made from small pieces of the plastic that I burnt with a lighter to form a closed circular shape. All these elements were painted using acrylic paint.

I wanted this project to show both sides of what a dream could mean and tell a story. I wanted the viewer to look at the piece and be able to interpret what was going on. I thought bringing in the element of the dream catcher would give the piece more depth and understanding of the dream. Since dream catchers are believed to catch the bad dreams and allow the good dreams to continue as you sleep, I thought it would be interesting if the nightmare was able to somehow break through the dream catcher that is supposed to protect the child sleeping. By doing this the nightmare is now able to take control over the good dreams and corrupt them. All the creatures on the nightmare side are going towards the dream catcher while all the creatures on the dream side are moving away, trying to save themselves from the infection. The colors are also merging as the darkness begins to seep its way through the catcher and the waves on the nightmare side are crashing inward towards the dream catcher as the waves on the dream side are circling outwards.