The Loncon 3 Pigeons

Loncon 3 was the 2014 Worldcon in London, UK. The Loncon 3 Pigeons were a community project that primarily happened before the convention. Here’s some information on the project, provided by Shana Worthen:

London has pigeons, obviously. That connection was turned into a fun project that got people to make their own pigeons pre-convention. The resulting pigeons acted as Loncon 3 ambassadors around the world, being photographed on their travels. The proof of this lives on their Pinterest page. Pictures of the pigeons on their travels were part of Loncon’s display at LoneStarCon 3 the year before Loncon 3.

Serena Culfeather, who ran the Loncon 3 Art Show together with John Wilson, designed the pattern for the pigeon. She made it available to others, and also put together kits. There was a pigeon making workshop at the 2014 Eastercon, where lots of people started their pigeons, finished them at home and sent them back to the convention.

At the convention itself, the pigeons became part of the Guest of Honour display for Robin Hobb/Megan Lindholm, which featured a mannequin dressed as the Wizard from Wizard of the Pigeons, sitting on a park bench. The pigeons congregated at the Wizard’s feet. That display was put together by Farah Mendlesohn.

Here’s Serena Culfeather’s account of the project:

We had four Ambassador Pigeons in red, white and blue who went to different parts of the world for adventures. I made a leather, steampunk version and also a Pearly King version to give to Robin Hobb. We made up pigeon packs where I basically got a kit together with EVERYTHING you would need and these proved popular. I expected that people would be more inclined to make pigeons if they had more than a downloadable pattern. Some packs had pre-cut out pieces and others squares of felt. I like working with felt and I think it’s an easy medium for all levels of skill to work with. It was also a deliberately simple pattern and by creating it myself I avoided any copyright issues.

Having quite a few pigeons already made at the start seemed to encourage people to make them and at a few conventions ahead of Loncon we had workshops where you could make or start to make a pigeon or two. This worked well and inspired people to be quite creative with colours and styles as they saw what others were doing. I took pigeons with me everywhere and at one convention they came along in a small wicker pet carrier!

Everyone likes to show off their creations so inviting people to send in photos of their pigeon worked well too. This was the The idea behind the Ambassador pigeons was based on the concept of Flat Stanley. The more that are shown off, the more people want to join in. In some cases, pigeon makers were too fond of their pigeons to bring them along!