BATTLE FOR THE WINDS- WEYMOUTH: THE FINAL BATTLE #12

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On July 28th, the horses performed in the final battle for The Battle of the Winds.  All of the various teams within Devon’s company congregated to “compete” against the teams from the other regions of the South West. Forkbeard Fantasy’s exhausted effort of coordinating such a mass collaboration proved to be a success as everyone celebrated together on the beautiful beach after months of hard work.  It was a great opportunity to meet the performers and managers from Exeter who all had such complimentary praise for the costumes.  Well done to everyone and my fantastic team from London!!

 

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Battle for the Winds- Exeter Olympic Torch Relay #11

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And finally, on May 20 the Olympic Torch made its way into Exeter where our performance students/ riders were officially unveiled on the city’s Streets.  Looks as though the weather held out, everyone was happy, and all of the costumes have survived.  Let’s hope we can say at least the same for the big event on July 26 when all of the “Wind Gatherers” convene in Weymouth and Portland bringing outdoor spectacle, processions, interventions, surprises, wind-blown texts, circus, theatre, dance, urban stunts and extreme sports.

Congratulations to all of the students, teachers, and organizers on a successful project so far.  Best of luck on bringing it to a spectacular close!

Battle for the Winds- Rehearsals in Exeter #10

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After Cariad delivered the horses to Exeter, Becca Savory and Erin Walcon took the reigns and began the rehearsal process.  Here we can see the various characters start to take shape.  Rumor is they were so popular downtown that they were asked to return for an extra press/ VIP event!

Battle for the Winds- Covering in Fabric Round 2 #9

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Running out of time, one creature was horse-knapped in the middle of the night and returned to my studio in East London, where Mala finished him over a Bank Holiday.  Tuesday he was returned to CSSD where he was reunited with his finished herd.  With last-minute details hot-glued and riveted, Cariad backed them all into the trailer the next day and shipped them to Exeter.

Battle for the Winds- Covering in Fabric Round 1 #8

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Once all of the bodies were completed, the most difficult stage of wrapping them in fabric and sewing all the bits together began.  With little experience prior, Sara B was able to make a pattern for body which was used on all 5 beasts.  The students then began piecing together their creations from a selection of hessian coffee sacks from Brick Lane Market; brown and grey fabric from Ridley Road Market; bits of corduroy and wools trousers…  Aware of the enormous task at hand and dwindling numbers of available students, Stan sent out an emergency distress email to the colleges design departments.  They were greeted with extra help from Willow Bleasdale, Alex Green, and Pavel Klica.   I then reconvened with them and brought an associate of mine from The London College of Fashion, Mala Siamptani.

Battle for the Winds- First Sign of Character #7

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The mould of the head was then cast in two halves in an expanding rigid foam.  These halves were then vacu-formed (a machine that sucks heated plastic around a solid form) and wrapped with a layer of soft foam to smooth out the features and give it that soft, squishy feel.  CSSD puppetry graduate Matt Hutchinson kindly came in for this step to lend his expertise.  We then began assembling the foam thighs, forearms, wrapping body in polyester wadding, amd attaching the spring-loaded neck, culminating in our first example of the character.  Seeing his smiling face and bouncing body all gave us hope that this just might work!

Battle for the Winds- Mass Fabrication Day #6

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Once the working prototype was assembled we all met in the university’s small workshop and embarked on a mass fabrication day.  Sunna took charge of creating the first duplicate of the body.  Sara and I finished the head sculpture and then a mod-roc mould of it.  Stan focused on heat-bending the plastic hip plates and constructing the triangular neck support of the horse.  Annie, Clarke, Sara Clark first glued all the foam legs pieces together in a heavily fumed room, and then joined Teele and Royal Holloway graduate Faith Brandon on the leg armatures.  This set them up for a week of independent work where the remaining horse bodies were completed on their own without supervision.

Battle for the Winds- Final prototype #5

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After the 3D sketch of the costume, I completed a final working prototype of the body structure that I could then show to the students and demonstrate its fabrication.

 

Battle for the Winds- Sculpting #4

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While some students were working out the logistics for the body structure, I put others onto the task of sculpting.  Sara took on the challenge of making the life-size horses head from clay.  Sunna created a great model in SuperSculpey around an 8″ posable doll.  Stan and Teele began carving knee and ankle joints from foam.  From the small model we then made a masking-tape pattern which was enlarged to the final life-size and transferred onto foam.

Battle for the Winds- Trip to Forkbeard Fantasy’s Studio #3

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After a couple of our session in London, several of us traveled to Forkbeard Fantasy’s beautiful study facilities in Tiverton, Devon for a weekend of networking with some of the many other talented collaborators on the project.  It was a great opportunity to meet the organisers, swap ideas with artists, and put our specific project into context of the enormous undertaking.