Monday, 9 September 2013

The Dinner Party (from designing to install)

I have neglected my updates on here of late, but with sell out performances of The Dinner Party this weekend I thought it right to re-establish contact and chart the design and install of the piece. 

After meeting with Ella and Stuart to discuss ideas, I was given a set of objects that had been collected through research dinners and donations. This was a rather odd selection ranging from brass ornaments to cookie cutters (?!) but it was from this collection that I had to consider the centrepiece for the 4 metre long table. 

The location for the piece was at George House B&B and the collection of objects consisted of: 

brass ornaments
fabric t-light holders
faux-flower vase
plastic water bottles
stacked playing cards
and fresh gladioli
My initial thoughts were that I wanted to include * everything * that had been donated; recycling and reusing as much as possible, from drying out the flower heads to cutting up plastic bottles. Resourcefulness was going to be key to this project as there was a very small budget to pay for materials. I really enjoyed the challenge though, and finally had some use for all those things I have held on to over the years! 

So, I began drawing out some ideas: 

I pressed the gladioli: 

And on the minimal budget took a trip to the 99p store where I found a bumper pack of doilies...
these got a new lick of paint!

The bottles got cut up and doilies attached. 

I then secured a cork in the neck of each bottle so that they could stand on their head. This also provided an elevation for placing an LED t-light, which made them look pretty smart.

 There was also a set of pencils donated, so I cut these up and gave them a painted tip. 

Leaving them to dry on top of some corks, I really liked the look of this set up, so whilst I was waiting I had a brief sketch whilst playing around with some new ink nibs - I'm quite pleased with the result:

Dance4 had requested that the audience members would have something to take away at the end/part of the performance. With this in mind I created a decorative envelope that included a postcard (with inscription), flower pressing, pencil, and interactive doilie! The idea here being that the audience could write down some thoughts on the doilie and leave it with the piece, creating an ever expanding centrepiece that becomes a growing 'interactive' conversation.

I collected all the re-purposed objects for install:

The card stack has been dis-assembled and made in place holders; the cookie cutters fashioned into a t-light holder and the flower pressings left to be scattered across the length of the table.

Then it was time for the install -  it looked great!

initial layout
a scattering of the dried petals
the take-away keepsakes in their place holders

So there you have it - an opulent looking table setting, all ready for a great evening's performance! 

Overall, this has been a really interesting project for me....To be working collaboratively on a project that is out of my comfort zone; to be reacting to a collection of objects and repurposing materials anew, whilst creating an outcome on such a small budget - it has been just the challenge I've needed to get my head into gear for UNI YEAR 3! 

I even had a photo taken for the Derbyshire Times so all in all a brilliant opportunity!

There are hopes for the Dinner Party to become a travelling performance so fingers crossed and watch this space!

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