Traveling Together

   by Nan LaCaille for Build A Dream (2014)

I began with the canvas cloth. It was important to have enough to do everything I intended with it. I split each thread and then realized I needed to split each one again. By crocheting them I created a sweater and skirt for the girl. Utilizing the holes of the wire mesh I made wigs. A part of it became the man's backpack. I used the nylon thread to sew it together. The woman needed a bag, and I ripped the canvas off of the board to create this one. The last bits of canvas are even used in the flowers as the anthers. The wire mesh is heavily used within the man to give him structure. It holds the packing peanuts together which provides the bulk. His legs begin with the aluminum rod. The aluminum wire spool makes up the stems of 48 flowers. Again the packing peanuts are the fluff of the flower. They are flattened, bent, and cut into six petals each. When I painted them, they slightly disintegrate. I learned during the process of building the man that the peanuts can become sticky and they can become useless if pushed to far. However, with a bit of glue they hold the flowers in place and make great ground coverage. The natural sea sponge is inside the man's head. It also gives the woman a little chest. Now, the card stock paper was used to create a "Little Prince" book, but I decided that it really is a distraction to the final piece and doesn't add any value. The modeling clay is used in the cup of the flower and to hold the petals to the stem. It came most in handy when it was time to create detailed faces and the woman's hands. The plaster cloth was essentially in making the man and I left it more raw on the outside of him to represent fabric for his shirt and shorts. I also used it to create the head for the woman and her hands. The Styrofoam rod is in the core of the man and his shoulders. Of course, the wooden mannequin is the woman. The square basswood pieces make up the wooden walkway, I wood burned it to darken it and give it texture. The round wood dowel is behind the man to help him stand a little apart from the woman. Before I had him embracing her or lifting her, but I wanted her to be holding her backpack... so I made them stand separate. Basically, I used everything except: the hardboard, the wood discs, the plastic egg and the Van Gogh ear. I still have a little bit of all the supplies left too. Oh and the box itself is involved as the base. Of my own supplies that are allowed... I used watercolors to stain the canvas fabric, acrylic paint to give life to the flesh and flowers, and some glue to hold the flowers and walkway to the box. Tools used: scissors, needle, wood burner, wire bender, crochet hook, paint brush.

I knew I wanted to use the figure included in the kit, because I think of myself as a figurative artist. I'm a lover of travel, and I recently went to a Japanese garden with my parents. So, I was thinking of this solo traveler in a beautiful environment. However, I liked the idea of the experience being shared and thought of the human dream of finding love. I tested the materials and decided making her a partner was possible. From the start I had it in mind that the base would be dropped into the natural environment and blend. So often I hear people say they dream of travel, but it seems out of reach. I am proof that it is not. The dream just has to be strong enough and the way is found. The woman raises her arms in celebration and joy... she could break into dance or be feeling the fresh air of the outdoors flowing through her hair and all around her. Both people smile and pause taking in the moment.

The most challenging part was keeping my cat from eating it. Seriously.