Saturday, March 20, 2010

Recycled Sculpture

Another prop for The DNA Trail, (I told you this was a fun show). In the second show, one of the characters is supposed to be a former sculptor, we are on her property in the New Mexico desert and her yard contains some of her old sculptures. In our initial design meetings we were discussing how to make this desert scene distinctly American. We had a heavy muslin ground cloth that we were pulling over the stage for this piece, and we decided we should dye it a burnt orange which is more southwestern
(dying a 20'x24' piece of fabric is insane by the way...thanks though to Northwestern University's costume dept for the use of their gigantic dye vat),
we also decided that using old car parts as the basis for the sculptures might help tie us back to the "route 66" Americana feeling.

The first part of the adventure took me to a salvage yard. I didn't really know what to expect going in. How salvage yards usually work is they have acres of old cars sitting out, a mechanic goes and finds the right car, with the part he needs, uses his own tools to take the part off, goes inside and pays for it. I, however, didn't need "a started for an '94 Chrysler LeBaron" I needed "interesting shapes, something that looks recognizably like a car part, and fairly cheap."
I walked up to desk (with all the men in grease soaked coveralls looking at me like I must be lost), explained to the man what I was doing, and asked him if they had a junk pile of pieces that were too rusted, broken or otherwise unsellable.
He took me out back to a small pile of scrap metal (smaller than I had hoped) and told me to load what I wanted into my truck. I found 7 or 8 good pieces and brought the man out to quote me a price, $30, not bad.
If I were to go again I would research to find out what the going rate is for steel by the pound. If I had known that going in I could have maybe bargained to lower the price a bit, oh well.
The TD of the show works in a really nice commercial scene shop for his day job, so we were able to use their space, welder, and scrap metal to assemble the pieces.
As we were working we learned that the simpler designs, letting the shape of the car parts do the work, were the most effective. We also learned that "easily carry-able" was one of the best features we could include.
Now all we have to figure out is what to do with them after the show closes.

Anyone in the market for some art?

1 comment:

  1. I was actually just thinking about this yesterday and wondering how your dye job went :) Also, fun art! Maybe you could auction it/sell it somewhere? There are some cool pieces there! -Bina