Engineers of the Imagination – Part 2 – The Intro 

Finally the second half of the 10 week project has begun. Our brief mirrors the objectives of last term although the members of my group have slightly changed. Working with Chris instead of Amelia is fresh and exciting. With the project being run by him for the next few weeks allows me to explore alternative aspects of theories and possible themes. 


To study the poem; ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ and produce a performance piece that is both portable and compact. Possibly suitcase sized and unexpected. 


Here is a link to the poem, it’s quite a long read and requires patients. But a good one! 

I found it difficult to read through all of the poem and managed just about half way. It isn’t a deep read that involves much attention and thinking. The story is quite straight forward and the poet has managed to set the scene, distinguish the characters and intertwine many hidden themes. Although not finished I enjoyed the poem. I have picked out on a few aspects that could be put into the piece of work yet to be made. These things include, the direction of the rising and falling sun, the colour of the floating icebergs, the wing spane of the albatross and the spooky domain of the most. When reading, I was attracted to the setting of the poem and characteristics of the boat, people and sea. It’s all quite exciting…

The people I am working with for the next coming weeks is similar to the group last term. Becky, Elliot and myself have all agreed that we work very well together. Individually we all bring strong skills to the table. Losing a few members during the new brief has allowed us to breath and come back stronger. Kubuś is a new friend of mine and now a new member to our trio. Coming from the same course at Elliot his skills and techniques are similar, but his train of thought comes from a different perspective. I have found that just through talking to him that our brains speak the 3D language.


War horse – The Slate 

The slate was a great find, cleaned up and chipped to shape the colour and crocked edges are well suited to this project topic. During the war slate was used for many aspects of shelter building, moving artillery and Many other purposes.

To accompany the slate, I also found loose bits of thin wire and a horse shoe. Both materials also suit this story and setting of work. With the wire I have composed a simple image of a horse and man. Thinly framed and characterised, the figures are representatives for the characters in the story. The horse shoe I used as a frame to hold a series of specifically placed beads. Using colours such as pale pink, glass coated red and dark blue I have tried to captured the blood pour from the soldiers during such a dark and dampened time. These beads also form the Union Jack.

With the brief asking for three pieces I have only composed two. My reason being because I cannot find a suitable use for the third. With the simplicity of the other two I dot want to ruin the composition as a whole. With this Christmas project I have felt as though I haven’t had any connection with this work. The story itself isn’t something that interests. But I have found that I lack a connection in most of my work. This is definitely something I need to work on…


War horse – Ideas 

Looking through old sketchbooks I came across some of my favourite works by Joseph Cornell. His use of obscure object arrangements in boxes shout character and quirkiness…

My attempt…

Using the boxed presentation and the theme of ‘building relationships’, chains and boxes represent the gradual growth and strong links in the film. Between the horse and the boy or the German and British soldier on the war front, this theme of ‘building relationships’ and connecting in order to progress can be found through out the film. I have also used obvious objects linked with horses such as horse shoes. Although I don’t need to use such symbols, the horse shoe is made from a strong material, that durable and serves a grand purpose, this also stand for a relationship or friendship.

Moving away from deep boxes, shallow picture frames deemed more appropriate. Considering materials it would be nice for me to make the picture frames from loose planks of wood. Within these frames I have also thought about the materials that I will use and my compositions. Organic materials such as woods, metals, leaves and recycled paper reflect the resources used during the war and on the farms in Devonshire. Thinking of other possibilities, an afternoon of exploring in my garden in west wales brought me to three pieces of broken slate. These pieces stood as a great background for potential work.


War Horse – Materials, Colours & Compositions  

War horse – Intro & Research  

The brief for this project is to put together a badly of work and create three final pieces by the beginning of the second term…quite a straight forward. 


  • The film was originally a theatre production and further made into a film that lasts two hours and twenty nine minutes.
  • Set during WWI, Devonshire, France.
  • Main characters include the horse ‘joey’, a family of three, a general matching to war, an old Frenchman and his grand daughter, German and British soldiers as well as other horses.
  • Genres: war novel
  • Originally published in 1982
  • Author: Michael Morpurgo
  • Children’s novel

The horse…

  • Separated from mother 
  • Buildings a relationship with the farm boy 
  • Saves a families home and income 
  • Sold to a military man 
  • Captured by Germans 
  • Make a friend, another horse 
  • Pulls German artillery 
  • Friend dies 
  • Runs for his life 
  • Gets caught in wire
  • Freed from wire by a German and an English soldier 
  • Returns to farm boy 

Hidden themes…

  • Building relationships
  • Working hard 
  • Taking risks 
  • Having faith 

My contribution…

To contribute to the piece I came up with a few ideas. To go along side the tunnels in the house I thought small houses and trees would enhance the winter wonderland theme and fill the remaining shelf space. Made from paper the houses and trees slot together, no glue is needed and they are recyclable. I used white paper as it ties in with the clean tones and lines of the larger house. As an additional touch, electronic tea lights sat under the houses and shone a warm yellow glow through the windows. Spindled fake snow added that extra magical feel. The houses, trees and snow made the inside of the house look like a small village celebrating festivities.

Tin foil…The basement to the shop is dark and miserable and really needed something to brighten it up. Amelia brought to the shop large sheets of tin foil…I had an idea!! Using the foil and lots of masking tape I was able to form a tunnel that swept all the way around to the bottom of the stairs leading up to the house. This covered the crumbling walls of the basement and was the perfect material to bounce light off.  I was pleased with the results of this material and I found it came alive and rattled as you walked past it. It made the tunnel feel magical!

Stars…Going up the stairs I made a small constellation of stars from paper. Using the same technique as the illustrative tunnels, the stars were small cuts into a large piece of black card. This I used to form an archway over the stairs and cover more of the dirty walls and cracked plaster. With a large space behind the arched paper, I placed fairs lights that shone through and gave a warm glow…

Black, black and more black…To cover the sides of the stairs and the floor of the opening of the staircase I used a combination of black bedsheets and black paper. This made everything look clean and tidy. This colour was chosen because the stairs are painted a dark brown, also any lighting out into the space would work much better…


The tunnels!

The tunnels worked on by Becky, El and John were the main feature inside the house. Carefully cut black card was placed on top of sheets of acetate to form long, large tunnel. The illustrations or narratives on the tunnels are scenes of growing trees, a festive dinner and a choir rehearsing on the streets. Concidering religion, it was hard to figure out what imagery to use. Christmas isn’t celebrated by all religions so our choice needed to appeal widely. We opted for a winter wonderland theme, but also the element of celebration…