Time to Dream

   by Kirstin Nosé for Build A Dream (2014)

From the 2014 Mystery Build Kit, I used all of the materials provided with a few exceptions. I did not incorporate the actual kit box that the materials were sent in. From the inside of the kit I also did not use the styrofoam rod, the rubber band, or the foam ear. However, you could consider the ear to be well used if you count it as an inspiration-squeezy-object, or amusing piece of entertainment that I propped up in front of me as I worked on my project. All of the other materials in the kit were put to good use in creating my project.

Let's start from the bottom up:

The pressboard piece was used as a base, and I painted it with a very chartreuse abstract background design (see _Platform Builds, bottom board).

I used the small canvas board to serve as the floating floor of the kid’s bedroom, and painted it with a pastel checkerboard design (see_Platform Builds, top board).

The Plastalina clay was used as a riser to "float" the bedroom floor above the dreamland floor so it was high enough to look like it was floating, but low enough that you couldn't see any armature. I attempted this with the styrofoam rod at first, but it was too clunky so I changed strategy.

The plastic egg was used to create a giant flower. I used scissors to cut slits in the egg and then gently pulled them apart to form the petals. To make it sturdy, I attached the egg piece to one of the small wooden circles, and then used yellow paint to create a flower center.

The bed was made from a combination of all sizes of the wooden dowels and some of the wire. I cut down all of the dowels with a small saw and sanded them with a nail file. I used the thicker square dowels for the mattress frame, the thinner square dowels to make the legs and spindles of the headboard and footboard, and the round dowels for the bedposts (see _Bed Build). The wire was used to create a decorative detail for the headboard. I created a blanket from the sheet of canvas and painted it and the bed with acrylics. I then created a child to sleep in the bed from a combination of packing peanuts (for the body under the blanket) and painted cardboard cutouts (to create the hair peeking out from under the covers). The pillow was created with a carefully selected, nicely shaped packing peanut.

The ship mast behind the bed was created using the aluminum dowel and the white cardstock. I cut sail shapes out of the cardstock and glued them to the dowel, then glued the “mast” to the baseboard.

The two final elements were the most involved, the hot air balloon, and the dragon.

I created the hot air balloon using a kind of “reverse mold” method. I blew up a regular balloon and coated it with a very thin layer of chapstick (so it wasn’t sticky). Then, I cut many strips of the papier mache cloth and proceeded to layer those over the balloon (see _Balloon Build 1). I then had to let the coated balloon dry for a day (see _Balloon Build 2). Once dry, I cut a hole in the bottom of the real balloon and slowly let the air out until I could then remove the balloon (see _Balloon Build 3). The balloon was discarded and NOT used in the final project. This created the papier mache balloon that I used for my hot air balloon. I painted it in stripes, and created a vintage era “balloon net” using the spool of thread included in the kit. To create the balloon basket, I took the box that the manikin came in and cut it into strips (see _Balloon Build 4). I then used the strips and wove them in a basketweave pattern (see _Balloon Build 5). To finish it up, I had to move the weaving vertically, and then tuck the ends back into the basket. I created small loops out of some of the top cardboard pieces to look like weight straps or anchor holders for the balloon (see _Balloon Build 6).

The dragon was created using the Manikin, the flexible wire, packing peanuts, some of the cello wrapping, some of the cardboard from the manikin box, the wire mesh, the canvas, the sea sponge and the papier mache cloth. I began by posing the manikin and gluing some of his joints in place, but leaving the wings (arms bent backwards) free to articulate. I then started creating a skeleton structure for the body out of the wire. I filled in the space between with some of the cello wrap from the outside of the box and several layers of packing peanuts (see _Dragon Build 1). I then covered the bottom part of the body with papier mache cloth strips. I cut up the sea sponge and wrapped it around the next part of the torso to create the desired shape before I also covered it with papier mache. The curved neck was created with more wire and some shaped cardboard. The dragon head was created with a combination of the papier mache plastic wrapper crumpled into a ball shape and the wire mesh formed into the horns, the mouth parts, and some other finer head details. All of this was covered with the papier mache cloth and painted with acrylics (see _Dragon Build 3). To create the wings, I extended the arms of the manikin using wire and attached cut pieces of canvas, which I then painted to match the rest of the coloring. The wings are fully articulated, they retain all of the movement that the manikin arms had before the man became a dragon.

Let me conclude by saying this was a blast!!

This was the first year I have participated in the Mystery Build contest, and I must admit I had to think a long time about how to translate the theme “build a dream” into a tangible art piece. It was only after thinking about this for a couple of months that I actually began to come up with a concept. My goal when starting to think about a project was that I didn’t want to take it too literally, like building the American dream, or a line from a song with the word “dream” in it, I really wanted to think about it in a larger sense. I started to think about the limitless nature of dreams, and also how people lose this over the course of their lives. Children, however, are often the best dreamers with the most fantastic dreams that span space, time, and even realities. I have a young cousin that really inspires me in this sense and became part of the inspiration for my project. When I babysit her I always try to have fun out of the ordinary things for us to do, and the creativity and imagination that she possesses reminds me of how I used to be when I was younger. And while I still consider myself to be a fairly imaginative, creative adult, the process of living has definitely sucked some of the dragons and faeries out of my dreams.

So, this was the inspiration for my project; a child, whose unencumbered mind has all the space available to fill it with whatever dreams may come, be it swashbuckling pirates, flying, being an astronaut in space, or living amongst faeries and dragons. We, as adults, might laugh when a child tells us about their dreams, but it is the capability to dream the fantastic that is a gift. I titled the project “Time to Dream” because it meant two things to me, that at the moment of the scene it is literally bedtime, or dreamtime, and the things in her dreams surround the sleeping child. Secondly, as a child, she has the time to dream in a sense that she still has the capacity to do so. It is enviable to many -- the freedom to dream without limit.

This began as a puzzling theme, turned into an introspective, and ended up as a very inspiring exercise in creative expression. I look forward to next year!

Just wanted to say that I'm really glad I ran across this contest. It's a really innovative idea, and as someone who is always up for doing something new creatively, I'm glad I've got something new to add to my repertoire of fun artsy things to do! I'll be ordering one for my 10 year old cousin next year as well, she's already planning and very excited to get her kit!