Last month my friend Sara and I collaborated to make a children's installation, The Floating Shed, for Womad festival. We invented a story of a curious garden shed who decided to see what was beyond his garden, and brought it to life by building the shed, complete with cardboard windows, and asking the children at Womad festival to help us imagine everything he had seen on his travels. We got them to create cut-out silhouettes of these things and hang them in his windows.
|This shed wall is made entirely from plastic water bottles...not so clear here, but they reflected beautifully in the sunlight.|
We spent weeks talking through ideas, making mini-shed mock-ups, and playing around in Sara's studio with the structure of the shed.
|An initial shed doodle by Sara|
|Making baby sheds|
We wanted our shed to be 'flat-pack', so it could be assembled, disassembled, packed away and transported as easily as possible. This took a bit of experimenting to get the shed itself roughly how we wanted it, though we both agreed that this could be treated as a bit of an experiment (albeit a safe one, as it was a public installation), and that we'd learn on site what might need tweaking in future.
|After working out the structure, we devised a labelling system so that we could take it apart and put it back together again as easily as possible.|
Armed with a drill, a spotlight and a good dose of stamina, we reassembled the shed on site on Thursday night, and from Friday it was all systems go. We ran the workshops as drop-ins and kept the instructions fairly specific. We really liked Womad's description of the shed in the programme, which simply said 'Be part of the interactive Floating Shed', and sounded inviting and intriguing.
We also had a fantastic floating shed team to help us - our wonderful workshop assistants Claudia and Tais (pictured with us in the shed), Sara and Claudia's respective partners Daimien and Paul, and of course their boys Robin and Tom.
We think the shed has got further to go and more stories to tell. Who knows where he'll end up next?