When Asleep, Dreams Awake.

   by Stacey May for Build A Dream (2014)

Still in the frenzy of last year's build, I bought the 2014 Mystery Build while the 2013 voting was still in progress... As in 2013, I had a few goals:
- it was important to me to have my general concept BEFORE I opened the box,
- I wanted to use at least a little bit of everything that was included in the box,
- I wanted to produce something of which I was proud, and
- I wanted to try to conceive an original idea - or at least render something I didn't think anyone else would.

I accomplished the first three goals. It remains to be seen upon submission if I've accomplished the last....

I had to employ a whole lot of "out of the box" thinking in order to make my idea fit the contents of what was IN the box. My "Work In Progress" video essentially shows how I created everything. My concern all along was A) having enough cardboard to create all of the books and B) having enough clay to construct all of my characters - at the size I wanted to create them. There wasn't really any margin for error for the piece of paper or the canvas - I used virtually all of both of them. I was left with basically a grape sized piece of clay at the end of this build.

Not noted in the video, but the square dowels rods were used to support the book "pages" in the Charlotte's Web book, to make the book edges on each side of the spine identical, and to add weight for the upright display. The spider web design inked on the inside of the cover and cover pages was essentially for my own personal pleasure - as the original copy of the book I own has the same details. I'm kind of a fan of book layout and design. Anyway - this subtle detail is visible when handled closely, but not so much when photographing...

I really enjoy sculpting with clay. Sadly, this is only the second time I have ever done so - with the first being for last year's Mystery build competition.

The Final Photo Shoot: I took literally hundreds of photos from various angles and in different lighting. I have two monitors in use with my computer and the same photo has a different contrast depending on which screen I view it on.... I chose a photo that hopefully illustrates my concept aesthetically within the range of these monitor differences, while still showing some of what I think are cool details through shadows.

Tools and Equipment Used: Xacto knife, razor blades, a miniature table saw, a pin (for clay detail), a drill, a Dremel and various bits, scissors, a wide format inkjet printer, a heat press, a hair dryer, the freezer, nails, a hammer, and paint brushes.

Adhesives / Liquids / Inks Used: PowerGrab, Wood Glue, "QuickGrip" (like E-6000), Elmer's Glue, grey primer, white primer, white and primer grey spray paint, various acrylics, off-white and navy latex paint, permanent markers, an ink pen, mineral spirits, water.

Inspired by the books of E.B. White and childhood dreams of pigs that talk, spiders that read, and that all runts live.

It took me nearly the entire year to settle on a concept. I looked at my sealed shipping box nearly every day wondering what I should do for the "Build a Dream" theme (TOUGH one, guys!). In September, the pressure really started to build and by the middle of the month I was tossing around a couple of ideas , none of which I was ecstatic about.... and then I looked around my home, where every room has a book display of some sort. I have been an avid reader all of my life, and , once in a while, I read a novel that I wish was reality. That's like a dream - right? I perused my bookshelves for some inspiration.

My original concept was to use Stuart Little... or Charlotte's Web... or The Trumpet of the Swan - an E.B. White book, in any case. I settled on Stuart Little and promptly took the time to reread the book before opening my Mystery Build box... When I did open the box, I wasn't worried that I wouldn't be able to accomplish my idea, but more concerned that I wouldn't achieve my own personal goal to use a little bit of everything in the box in the build. Regardless, I started the upright book and figured I would play with the plaster material since I had never used it before. I made a canoe form out of the cardboard shipping box with the intention of seeing if I could later cut the cardboard out, leaving the plaster formation. I never got to that point... When I went out to my shop to impatiently see how the plaster was drying... Dozens of tiny, baby spiders were crawling on my book form. I grabbed my camera in time to capture a few, and I took it as a sign and the decision was made... I switched gears and focused on Charlotte's Web - which I read later that night - and began making a reality in the subsequent days.