Monday, August 24, 2015

Big Dub Festival 2015 & The Build of a Pirate Ship

Badass Rave's Big Dub Festival 2015 was basically the best thing ever. An amazing venue in the forest with 4,000 like minded individuals and I got to make a pirate ship stage! This idea had come to me the year prior while hanging out in the space. It's a small clearing in the trees, next to the swimming hole and this year, it was hosted by Re:magine which just made that much more special. I have been working with both companies for 2 years now and it just keeps getting better and better. I am so lucky and fortunate to be able to work with these amazing people who give me the creative freedom to build these special projects.  That is when my magic happens. And this time, it turned into one of my favorite projects of all time.
The ship was a facade, constructed out of 6x8 ft cedar fence panels from Home Depot. At first i thought we would build it all from scratch but as we walked around the lumber department, I realized that pre-constructed fencing would be perfect and save us a ton of time. I ordered 5 pieces, had them delivered and we got to work. We had 2 weeks until install.
 My husband and I stood the panels up in the yard so we could just draw the ship outline on the front and cut from there.
 No pictures of the drawn design. We used a jigsaw to do the main cuts while it was free standing. The idea was that it was a shipwreck, with a bow and a stern and broken bits all around.
Making cuts is fairly easy. You just get your jigsaw and cut really poorly, breaking parts here and there.
 I tested out various stains to see what color I wanted. I learned very quickly that cedar takes on stain much darker than other woods. It is very porous and difficult to wipe off, so everything is darker than anticipated. I ended up using different colors to achieve the final look with a golden, Summer Oak as the first layer, a Dark Walnut for edges and lowlights and then Ebony (black) for trim. One area i used a Rustoleum driftwood color for a water rot effect.


 
 

 The Summer Oak is much darker than it looks on the can but it ended up working perfectly. I rolled the 1st layer on and then used a stain brush to get the edges. I didn't bother wiping as the cedar absorbed the stain immediately.
 The railings and trim were made using 1x3s, cut into sections, stained and then screwed on. 
 The rest was all about detailing the set. By using various stained cheesecloths, authentic fish netting, faux chains, rope, skeletons, skulls and moss, we achieved some depth and realness. But it wasn't fully believable until we added a mast and rope ladder.
 I really enjoyed making the rope ladder. First thing needed was a ton of rope. I bought 300ft of 1" thick rope from Amazon for $230.
 We created the rope ladder by lying out four 20-ft sections of  rope for the vertical. We then cut the horizontal pieces accordingly based on the width - starting narrow at the top and widening at the bottom.
We tied it all together using smaller 1/4 in natural rope and finished off the edges with a natural twine.
 Using a small wooden board and a spade bit on my drill, I created the top rung for the ends of the rope to stick through.
For the sails, I used an old red velvet stage curtain from my collection as well as some distressed,black polyester satin fabric. The main mast pole was created using two, 8ft sections of 3" pvc and dark brown spray paint. Electrical conduit was used for the cross bars. 
It was Installed on site and topped off with a skelly stealing the flag thanks to my favorite production crew - Andrew & Dom! You guys rock my world.
Lighting consisted of various led up lights, H20 lights, tiki torches and lasers. A fog machine was set just behind the porthole for maximum pirateness.
The rest of the space was a pretty big deal and needed entry points and surrounding visuals for everyone to enjoy. Addy Catbug made a giant compass out of an old trampoline. This girl is the apprentice on the team but I feel confident that she is on her way to being an art superstar in the coming years. You just wait.
 She painted the trampoline black to give it a good base layer of paint.
 She then attached it to the frame, measured her points, applied painters tape to create her shapes and painted a top layer of gold metallic for a shimmery, textured feel.
Fabulous!
We installed it upright against the trees, flanked by giant inflatable tentacles and illuminated with more H20 effect lighting.
But what's a pirate's lair without pirate warning signs? These were all created by Addy and Lindsay Pugh, the newest member of the deco team. Using wood scraps, paint and sharpies, they busted out a bunch of wonderful additions to the space. Lindsay has the sexiest freehand of anyone I know.  I showed her a font for the Re:magine sign I was hoping to create and voila .....
Thank you Lindsay for that sexy freehand. Unf.
The Re:magine crew getting funky.
Thank you to everyone involved with this project. You know who you are and I can't wait to do it all over again. As for the rest of Big Dub...................
 Hammock Haven was better than ever - presented by SlowKidz with lighting by Danny Elemental Reamer. Handmade dinosaur built from scratch by the talented Nena Depaz.
The giant mushrooms were back lighting a chillout zone for the patrons and accented by a new inflatable moon under the stretch art of Sue Helfrich.
Under The Moon sign handmade by Addy Catbug Bramson
Thank you Big Dub Festival. You are a unique, art & light filled magical festival that I am always honored to be a part of. Till next year! 

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