Tree of Dreams, Tree of screams

   by Andrew Sexton for Build A Dream (2014)

“DreamingTree Backstory”
Well, it’s almost Halloween at Good Ol’ Haunting and Scaring U. and you know what that means --- all the students are haunting the library to bone up for their Practical Exams and maybe scaring up a date for the big dance after…
The students of Miss Medusa’s Independent Studies Group, for example, are all deep in books by or about the noted Haunters and Monsters of times past whose work they must incorporate into their Graduating Performance Piece (GPP). (Haunting and Scaring is, after all, as much about performance as much as anything, or so President Chucucabra Lune maintains.)
Spitbacca is studying “Famous Ogres and Ifrits of Europe and Africa,” while Melissa the Mermaid has dozed off under her copy of Aicha Kandida‘s best seller “Fisher Men Stew: 101 Great Recipes and Tips on the Best Places for Finding, Catching and Cleaning Them,” with a special section on “Scaring Them Juicy” for maximum taste. Ghost Snake has gotten all curled up in “Cleopatra’s Asp and History’s Other Great Snakes”. Hugo Hob and his brother Bob are reading Volumes One and Two of Merlin’s Autobiography, “My Wholly Fascinating Life, A History of the World’s Most Puissant, Powerful and Influential Mage and How I Have Steered Human History for Millennium.” (The Crafty Old Goat was still Churning Them Out, too. Volume Three Hundred and Thirty-Nine had just been released 13 years ago. Volume’s One and Two, however, were heavy with details of ancient monsters the Modern World (Modern meaning anything of the Sumerian period or later) has largely forgotten about and the Hob brothers were especially keen on the Eld Ages.
And Growl Lumpy the Goat Boy is immersed in the latest issue of Scare Monthly magazine and the fifth installment of “Hollywood and Us: Where They Get It Right and Where They Get It Wrong.”
So here we have another generation learning how to Build Their Dreams of being the best at Good Old Haunting and Scaring U.

Dreaming Tree Construction
I drilled a hole in the base of the mannequin the size of the aluminum rod, then glued the mannequin to the center of the piece of hardboard using Elmer’s Glue-All.
I then cut the mannequin’s box open along one side.
Once Manny the mannequin was firmly in place, I glued the aluminum rod into the hole I had drilled in Manny’s base.
I then glued one side of Manny’s box to his base, and once that had dried, I wrapped the box all the way around and glued it down firmly to several places on Manny.
I bent the top of the aluminum rod down and around until I got I where I wanted it. I cut the top lid of the Mystery Build box into strips some of which were then glued vertically around Manny Q. in his cardboard prison.
Lengths of the plaster roll were cut off and applied to form the trunk and branches. The sea sponge was used to smooth the plaster out with water.
I stirred about a 1/3 of a ¼ teaspoon of baking soda into some hemp seed oil and then added some of the corn starch peanuts. I set this mixture aside and in another bowl,mixed a small amount of TiteBond Original Carpenter’s glue with Jaquard Procion MX forest green and emerald dyes until I got an even color. I then began to stir in some corn starch peanuts until they dissolved and then mixed in the first mixture. This formed a soft clay that I stuck to one side of the hardboard.
I then glued some of the remaining peanuts to the other side of the base and made another batch of clay to cover them, this time only adding the corn starch peanuts to the glue & dye mix. I tore the resulting clay in pieces and covered the peanuts, repeating the process with a third batch of clay until I had the base pretty well covered.
I discovered when bending the strips I had cut from the box top that the cardboard could be separated into three plies. I cut some strips from these inner plies to form roots. I also used a strip to outline two doors in the base of the trunk.
I cut one of the short end pieces from the bottom box half into rectangles of various sizes to use for book covers
I cut one of the plastic egg halves in half and glued that to the trunk to form a balcony and when it had dried, I plastered it. I also plastered the tree roots and door frames with the plaster bandage.

I took the pieces I had cut from the box for book covers, wet them and folded them over a strip of wood, clamped them between two other strips of wood and tied the lot together with hemp twine and let them set overnight. This formed them into various sizes of book covers.
I tore part of the bottom box into small pieces, then put the pieces into a blender and ground them up, then made another batch of clay, this time using the fine pieces of cardboard from the ground up box instead of the packing peanuts for a filler.
I used this batch to cover the trunk and branches.
I added more branches with pieces cut from the bottom box. I used more box pieces to make the sides of the Tree House. Pieces of the wire mesh were added to some of the branches to strengthen them. I trimmed the sides of the Tree House down. Smaller branches were added by twisting some of the aluminum wire around the bigger branches. Two holes were cut in opposite sides of the tree house for windows. Little drawings were made of the scenes inside and glued to the inside of the Tree House behind the windows.
I teased thirty threads loose from one of the short ends of the piece of canvas, divided them into five groups of six, then wet and twisted each group into a short rope. I placed each end of each rope under magnet stuck to the side of our metal furnace and let them dry overnight. I smeared Elmer’s Glue All inside a piece of plastic wrap and used that to wipe each rope with the glue.
Once these ropes had dried, I glued them to the other half of the half egg I had used for the balcony and plastered it.
The new branches and the Tree House top and sides were plastered.
I made another batch of a greenish clay again using torn up pieces of box and covered the new branches with it. Another batch of a brownish-orange was made and used to cover the tree house and the half-egg swing.
I used aluminum wire to form little ghost skeletons.
I cut out pieces of the Styrofoam and covered them with squares of the cloth to form pillows, which I colored with colored pencils.
I tied the swing into place and brushed more glue over the ropes.
Once I got my Ghostly Students’ skeletons posed, I made a final batch of clay, reverting to the cornstarch peanuts instead of the torn cardboard, and filled out the skeletons. (Our students, concentrating on their reading and being ghosts, one and all, have reverted to their natural, amorphous, greenish states. They of course will be graded for Presentation & Appearance among other things during their GPP.)
I made books for each ghost by cutting strips of the card stock in various widths and folding them into pages, then gluing the pages inside the covers I had made earlier and coloring the covers with colored pencils.


A Haunting we shall go, A Haunting we shall go
Haunting here and Haunting there
‘till all the people are good and scared.
A Haunting we shall go.

A Haunting we shall go, A Haunting we shall go
Haunting to and Haunting fro
We’ll make everyone scaredered
than 5 scaredy cats in a row
A Haunting we shall go.

A Haunting we shall go.
Oh, we’ll make them drop their soup,

I had a lot of fun building this fool thing!