The Box

… or why it’ll feel a bit like Christmas when we’ll do move-in on Wednesday next week.

So, you make something awesome and big, and then you need to get it somewhere else on the planet so others can enjoy it as well. In this case, this:

Model, covered, with platforms

I knew I was going to have to ship it eventually, so I choose a cardboard construction that can be flat-packed like IKEA furniture. Still, the big vertical sheets are the full size, which is 50x70cm. So I needed a box with at least that base area. Which is honestly huge in comparison to most of the shipping boxes everyone stores in their basement. A friend pointed me at a shop that specializes in packaging, and I got the smallest box that fitted the requirement for base area:

Shipping Box

It may not look that big in the picture, but it was always standing in the way in my kitchen for a while there. You can just see the cardboard pieces inside already. Here’s a better look:

Box with cardboard pieces

Doesn’t look like much, lots of box space left, but the box couldn’t be any smaller because of the large size of some of the individual pieces. Time to fill up the box! Who needs packing peanuts when you have wool?

Box beginning to fill with wool

You can see the big bag of leftovers on the right, and the little box on the left holds the children’s loom. The rest of the supplies went on top, and I ended up with a pretty full box. It’s not particularly heavy (somewhere around 15kg, which is way below the weight limit for shipping), but it’s unwieldy and its dimensions are just within the size limits for a normal parcel. Here it is, all taped shut, in front of my apartment door:

box4.JPGThe text on the sides is for the lovely people doing logistics for Dublin 2019, so they know where to deliver it for move-in. After successfully dropping it off at the post office and anxiously following the tracking number, the box is now safely in the convention’s off-site storage waiting for the day it’ll be unpacked and assembled.

I’m looking forward to showing you what’s inside real soon now!


Putting things together

The covering has now aquired a few strategically placed holes, time to give everything one last test drive before taking it apart, putting it in a box and sending it off to Dublin.

So, here we are. First view is of the covered model without the platforms, so you can see the backdrop:

Model, covered, without platforms

Now, let’s add the platforms:

Model, covered, with platforms

And here’s a few close-ups – the entrance hole:

Model, covered, detail with entrance hole

… and the hole where the waterfall is going to come out:

Model, covered, detail with hole for waterfall

The fabric covering still needs a bit of sewing at the top edge to have something sensible to adjust the width and to hang it from, but that needs a tiny bit of shopping beforehand. And then it’s off into the mail! The next time you’ll see it in its full glory is when we meet in Dublin five weeks from now. I’m getting excited! (and nervous …)


Covering the Backdrop

In the last installment of this, the backdrop still looked pretty cardboard-coloured. I’ve since been working on covering that up with a bit of fabric and at the same time visually extending the model so we get a bit more of a feeling for this being a slice of a really huge tree.

I transferred the design of the background onto a big piece of cotton fabric and started painting:

Painting the Tree

The inspiration for this was the same picture I used previously, but now on a much bigger scale:

Inspiration for the Ribbed Tree

The white areas are where the supports for the platforms will stick out and still need to be cut out and hemmed.

Here’s the whole width of the thing painted:

Painted backdrop

You can see the entrance hole in the middle, and a smaller hole for a waterfall to come out of at the right. The paints are textile paints, and I used a simple textile marker from an IKEA set for adding some details in black.

I’ve since extended the painting upwards on the other half of the fabric which is hanging down from the table at the top of this picture. This will be attached to the wall above the model, visually extending it upwards. Still need to think about the best way to do attachment points at the top.

Onwards to ironing the whole thing to set the colours and then some sewing!

We have a model to build on!

The countdown on the front page of this blog helpfully says that there’s just 55 days to go till we meet in Dublin. One of my major points of worry has been that one platform doesn’t make a model, at least not one that fits the idea in my mind. To get that little problem off my back, I exchanged needle and thread for cardboard and cutting knife in the past few weeks.

First, materials: I wanted something stable but relatively light, so shipping to Dublin wouldn’t break the bank. While browsing through my local art discounter, I found those 50*70cm panels of corrugated cardboard, 2.5cm thick. After making a trial with my practice platform, I decided that this would work out – somehow. But I had absolutely no idea of how to actually build a backdrop for the model from those.

At some point a few weeks ago I decided that just thinking idly about the problem wasn’t likely to get the job done, so I got myself a pile of panels and started to play. And here we are:

Backdrop for Model

All in all, there are 10 sheets of cardboard in there. The vertical panels on the sides are full size, everything else got cut up in various degrees. The platforms are not attached, so they can be removed when working on them. Everything else is safely stuck together, but can be taken apart easily for transport. Overall, the backdrop is 1.5m wide, 70cm deep and 70cm high. Here it is, with the platforms removed, so you can see the construction a bit better:

Backdrop without Platforms

And a view from the back:

Backdrop - Backside

I’m quite happy with how things turned out, but now we have a new problem: lots of real estate to fill! Let me know what you’re working on and bringing, so I don’t worry too much about that part!

Samples showing the some of the different crafts possible.

The Model

Needlework takes time, usually about twice as much as I estimate. For that reason, it’s important to start with a reasonably small bite out of the ecosystem described in the books so we can have something lush and good-looking. The colony tree is huge, and has lots of interlocking platforms around its stem.

I started working on a single platform as proof of concept. The sample platform is made out of a 50×70 cm piece of 2.5 cm corrugated cardboard – very stable but light, and the right size for still being reasonably easy to handle and ship. The sample trees top out at about 25 cm of height, which is pretty much the maximum that’s possible to have on a platform that size and not look totally unrealistic.

Sample Platform

The platform is currently living on top of my embroidery stand. I’m envisioning some kind of backdrop showing a bit of the bark of the colony tree itself, possibly including the entrance hole, and a way to safely attach platforms to this. If you have experience with this kind of model and ideas on how to achieve something like this, I’d love to hear from you!

I did take pictures when building the platform and will do a tutorial on this in a later post.