Installation Day 2, November 21, 2013…Last Day of Preparation

Well if we were to sum up in one word how we are all feeling I reckon it might be ‘Tired’.

In between trying to recover all our rejected ‘treasures’ amongst the scattered debris of rejections in the other rooms, we concluded our twentyredumbrella ‘hanging’ in OUR room. Trialled it, re-trialled and I think we even had a third ‘turn on-off’ of all the small lights plus sound and lightning effects. Not sure whether we want the sound louder or quieter…to be decided day by day I think.

Ok, maybe we are a little besotted.

Here is a sneak-peek-preview


Weariness is evident in ‘Mike Resting’, Mike has been up and down the ladders (and the main stairs) so many times, we might enter him in the next ‘Tower Run’ we hear of. He’s had plenty of training.

Mike Resting

Mike Resting

I chased Irene until she stood still long enough for a final pic.



Then Julia turned the tables on me and got one of me (I like to be minimally represented in pic, so Thank You Julia!

Ann...Mike's assistant of the morning

Ann…Mike’s assistant of the morning

When all was almost ready we thought it time to get together for Wendy’s birthday and share a cream sponge (her request). I made another cream sponge for another friend’s birthday earlier this week (her request also, what is it with cream sponges??). Anyway couldn’t find the cornflour so used custard powder. Same diff? Not. The earlier cream sponge was quite yellow with lots of orange ‘dots’. Hmm Wendy’s birthday sponge was fine except I had underwhipped the cream and as I cut it, the cream oozed out like lava flow, OOPS. Oh well it all got eaten.

Happy Birthday Wendy

Happy Birthday Wendy

As is the way with all things of effort, there is a sense of anti-climax around today. We decided to address it in our now-usual manner, taking ourselves down the street for coffee and lunch. We were joined by Kathryn and Rachelle which was nice. Irene gave us a bit of an individual debrief by asking where to from her, what would we be doing next year. That was so lovely that I think I will ask each group member to give me a few words on

  • the year
  • the project, and
  • plans for next year

We have the Opening this evening 6:00pm – 8:00pm

then Weekend 11:00 – 3:00

Monday to dismantle.



Installation Day 1, November 20, 2013

Such a busy day, lots of general activity, many people involved in displaying samples of work.

We still found time to start on our installation.

Furniture all removed from the room.

Windows totally blocked out with black plastic

Sound and light equipment ready to go

Sound and Light 'Machines'

Sound and Light ‘Machines’

Hands attached to hanging umbrellas

Julia attaching hands

Julia attaching hands

As a special treat for Lydia who was upstairs hanging still life drawings, we  made the tough decision and finally discarded the ‘yellow’ hand

Julia discarding the 'yellow' hand

Julia discarding the ‘yellow’ hand

Lightning looks very effective using the cut-out zig-zag

 Let There Be Lightning

Let There Be Lightning

Major Problem arose when we realised that, with all the external light blocked, the light from the intermittent lightning and the red glow from inside the house was insufficient to illuminate the red of the umbrellas and the subtle shimmer of the hands.

After a couple of minutes our eyes adjusted to the dark to a degree, but with each lightening flash, all that was visible were shadowy silhouettes.

No red: considering one of the themes of the project was the attention getting and stimulating diverse uses of red:

danger- violent – warning colour symbolised by being out in a storm protected only by a bit of sheer fabric

safety-love – energetic colour symbolised by warm red glow attracting to the place of safety- the house

What to do? Mike tried his tiny LED pen torch attached to some umbrella poles to shine down on the hands. This illuminated the hands quite nicely so Julia went off to the $2.00 shop for more small penlights.

Shimmery LED Hanhds

Shimmery LED Hanhds

We were still left with the lack of definition of the red umbrellas. We did try the look of putting an LED on top of an umbrella, this gave a bit of a red glow, not sufficient though. Maybe we could have a couple of lights shining up the poles as well as down?

Another disappointment was the non-sparkling of the sequins on the umbrellas positioned on the floor. Once again, if only we had a way of providing an intermittant soft light strong enough to show colour.


Day 6 November 19 2013

Last day of preparation today. Next week we commence the installation proper

Today was very busy!

We started work on the end bits. Irene and I sequestered ourselves in the painting room

All those hours of colour mixing with Andrew came in very handy.

We mixed the perfect brown (plus streaks) to turn cardboard into the wooden side wall

Next, a wooden door, painted red. Andrew popped in to make sure we weren’t leaving anything out – like the brown paint on sides of wooden door panels to create illusion of bit of depth and shadow. Groan… but it really worked!

House Door- under construction

House Door- under construction

Finally the door knob – couple of small cardboard circles copper/gold spray on top with more of the brown fake depth/shadow around sides. Everyone came in for the handle making and attachment.

Meanwhile in the installation room, Mike, Julia and Lydia were setting out a ‘trial hanging’ after partially blocking out some of the windows

'Kitchen' table, Activity Central

‘Kitchen’ table, Activity Central

Trial Hanging - with black plastic on windows

Trial Hanging – with black plastic on windows

The house window was covered in cellophane and held up to the window light to simulate the effect of a warm glow on a cold, dark stormy night. Looks quite good. Challenge will be to get the ‘right’ light inside. Mike had a small LED penlight which he turned on at the beginning of the day and found it was still shining brightly at the end of the day. So that might be a goer.

Lydia holding sellophane covered window up to the light, to see effect

Lydia holding sellophane covered window up to the light, to see effect

Mike with another view of window with brighter back-light.

Mike with another view of window with brighter back-light.

Lots of standing back at this stage. Reflection. Consideration. Discussion.

Almost finished for the day, trying out a ‘hanging hand’. Hard to know what it will look like to ‘new eyes’, we have become so immersed that we just see lots of bits of ‘coming together’

All Together. Julia, Irene, Lydia & MIke in room, me behind camera

All Together. Julia, Irene, Lydia & MIke in room, me behind camera

Will people think its a bit freaky to see lots of hands hanging mid air from suspende umbrellas?

Or will they ‘see’ the symbolism. Will it all come together?

I suppose, regardless of the clarity (or not) of the symbolism, it should look pretty good

Nov142013 018J

Finally, packing EVERYTHING  away AGAIN into the back room


Day 5, November 13, 2013

Mike and Julia have been delivering brochures around town, still have more to do

Planning Day

Mapped out the overhead lines for hanging the umbrellas,

Hanging positions mapped on chalkboard

Hanging positions mapped on chalkboard

15 hanging with handles removed and hands attached, 5 on the floor with sequins.

Julia brought the black sheets, Ann brought her machine and converted one sheet into a door curtain,

Mike brought a rod and will attach it next week.

Mike holding curtain in place

Mike holding curtain in place

Hands are all finished. The yellow one almost got the chop, but…still in one piece…for the moment

Lydia and Julia went over to Tonks (our new best friends) and bought 4 metres of heavy duty black plastic for blacking out the windows.

'Kitchen' table, Activity Central

‘Kitchen’ table, Activity Central

Mike brought the ‘house in.

Looks FANTASTIC with it’s lovely tin roof and a nice window for a light to shine from.

Irene finished off adding sequins to the ‘floor’ umbrellas.

Then we packed it all away into the rear art room.

Tomorrow we will commence putting the hanging wire in place.

Day 4, November 7, 2013

Hooray, we have decided on an exhibition title...Chameleon

Finished the local paper ad also the small two sentence ‘grab’ for What’s On’

Lydia and Julia made yet another hand (when will have made enough)

Lydia & Julia and another hand

Lydia & Julia and another hand

Next week we can try out hanging the hands on the umbrellas in our exhibition room

We still have the ‘yellow hand’. Lydia still doesn’t like it

There are 5 right and 5 left … but we think we need an uneven number

Wondering whether to have a hand for every umbrella? Will people wonder why some umbrellas have and some don’t?

Maybe no will even notice.

All of a sudden the harmony of the group wavered mid afternoon

We were all getting on so well then suddenly like a big storm, it all fell apart like naughty children

For two seconds

All over who got to patch up one of the surgical scar/splits. Fixed with laughter.

Lydia showing cast cut & ready for removal

Lydia showing cast cut & ready for removal

We sent an email to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology to see if they had any ‘storm’ material , waiting to hear.

Julia has stuck sequins on some umbrellas, they look good, aim is for the flashing light to make them sparkle.

Day 3, October 31, 2013

Halloween! This was for us the day it started to feel ‘serious’

Andrew spoke to us as a big group (have four groups in all) about preparing for the 22nd November opening.

Title – What to call our exhibition? We came up with many titles

Some more ‘serious’ than others

  • 20 Red Umbrellas (our small group favourite of course)
  • Tree of Life
  • Labrynthus
  • Narcosto
  • Con Artists
  • The Remarkables
  • Extraordinary
  • Dark Arts
  • Between the Layers
  • Nascent
  • Transcend
  • Vessel

Some really good titles, none really grabbed us though. On to the next job:


Publicity…Me (Ann) to write the Press Release (see side bar for finished PR), Wendy to create the DL publicity brochure and graphics, Heather to be responsible for putting it all on-line. Lydia, Julia, Pam (Nascosto Group) and me on “foot-soldier” publicity distribution.

Cleaning…Julia, Lydia, Pam & Houtan (Nascosto Group), and Rhonda (Tree of Life Group)

Catering…Kathryn, Jen, Rachelle & Rhonda


This list of course only included those who were present at the meeting, others will add themselves as we get closer.


Now we got down to business, ‘our’ business

Into the TwentyRedUmbrellas exhibition room, much discussion

How would we actually hang the umbrellas? Hmm! Big Fluoresent lights hanging from ceiling.

Could we use them? Probably not! Of course not!

Upstairs to hang them from the beams and see what will be the effect…Pretty Good!

Back downstairs, decided to make a hanging line wall to wall at ceiling height using hooks, twine and thick fishing line.

Meanwhile those of us not involved in the upstairs ‘dash were making more hands.

Mike being the model, Ann the hand-tape-surgeon& Andrew the supervisor

Mike being the model, Ann the hand-tape-surgeon& Andrew the supervisor

Out for a group photo

Andrew about to take 'Group Photo'

Andrew about to take ‘Group Photo’

Back to make more hands, we now have 8, are aiming for 12

We feel that will give us a bit of room to play

Nov 12 2013 005J


Now it's Lydia's turn at surgical skill, Mike is again the hand model

Now it’s Lydia’s turn at surgical skill, Mike is again the hand model

Aha Time for a bit of Nit Picking

Some ‘hands’ have TINY bits of black specks within the sticky tape layers

My fault as…without Lydias assistance on the day they were made (Lydia was busy sending some pics from phone to phone) I was ‘resting’ the sticky end of the roll of tape on the bench

hence little black specks

I thought it added character, not so Julia who has become the ‘Purity of The Hand’ guardian!

So… some specks removed

Lydia said ‘well if we are being serious, I don’t like the Yellow Hand’ (this was a hand in which a couple of bits of different hued tape had been used)

We howled her down and insisted the yellow hand would stay…for now.

Mike has been working some more on ‘The Roof’ and is almost finished.

Day 2, October 24, 2013

This morning started with diversity and ended with a robust conversation over lunch.

Mike was busy in the computer room, looking for storm-sound and maybe lightening videos

Searching for 'Storm' sounds

Searching for ‘Storm’ sounds

Irene had gone home for something

Julia had gone ‘shopping for clear sequins to hang on some of the umbrellas

I was driving around looking for a park (yes this is Castlemaine, not inner city Melbourne)

I think Lydia arrived about the same time as I did.

Finally, all together

We went for a quick check-up on Mike, still busy, looking for speakers, no sound on the computers.

Back to the art room and more hands for us.

Working together

Working together

My turn then Julia’s to make more sellotape hands,

mine seemed a little quicker but not as sleek as Irene’s from last week.

Lydia took control of the roll of sellotape.  A vital role.

Lydia as Tape Coordinator

Lydia as Tape Coordinator

You really need someone to have their hands free to pull off a length and cut it while holding on to the raw end

so the ‘hand’ maker can grab it and apply and have the next piece ready and waiting.

It’s great getting into a rhythm.

Once the hand is cut off and stuck together, it must be reinforced so that it can stand  and support an umbrella.

Over to the bench with last week’s hands. They are beginning to look quite good.

A gaggle of hands? A fist of hands? A throng of hands?

Mike was given permission to leave the computer for a short break to come and have a go at (sticky) taping.



Then do

Then do

Julia wanted to start shellacking the paper mache, but cupboard was locked, maybe next week…

Mike had made some plaster hands at home and brought them in.

Mike's plaster hands

Mike’s plaster hands

Interesting, as that was the initial planned medium.

They are perfect hands (except for two broken fingers) but in comparison to the sellotape ones, they look too heavy.

So, it was a really good exercise as until we had seen them, we kept thinking plaster hands might have turned out better.

Back into the computer room to listen to a sample of a 10 hour storm ‘track’ that Mike had found.

Found: A good storm track

Found: A good storm track

Perfect! Just what we wanted, plenty of rain and thunder. Good atmospherics.

He also found some great lightening sequences.


Starting to think of putting it all together in the exhibition space…Questions and answers

  • How to suspend 8-9 umbrellas?Maybe run some fishing line across the hanging fluoros and hang the umbrellas off the line?
  • How to position the umbrellas on the line so they don’t hang ‘straight’? Maybe attach another length of fishing line to a couple of points on each umbrella? Hmm more thought!
  • Remaining umbrellas, on floor, in clusters and spread out
  • What size ‘house’? Just a tin roof or walls and maybe a window. Differing thoughts. Back to the notion of light bouncing off a corrugated tin roof!, Maybe just a roof. Roof should be located in Left corner of street windows. Mike will work on the construction as he has some building materials at home.
  • What about lighting? Should we have a continuous DVD playing projecting lightening flashes? Or should we have some lights strategically placed on an intermittent timer, to give the impression of lightening cutting through darkness, simultaneously illuminating and casting shadows.
  • Will we need the windows blocked off? There are blinds on most of the outside windows, so just the tops will need blocking, most likely with foil or paper. Corridor windows may need some block-out in addition to existing.
  • Sound, we could use an old laptop (Ann might have one in her shed, will look). Or maybe see if Crazy Clarks has a cheap CD player.


Hard work all this concentrating, so we decided to retreat to a nearby cafe. Here we continued to chat about the project, getting noisier and noisier as we got once again, carried away. I think we might have been responsible for some people finishing their lunch and leaving early. The assistant who brought our lunches said she wanted to sit at our table as we seemed to be having so much fun.

I think lunch reinforced how well we all are relating and working together with the common goal. Retaining great differences of thought and purpose, yet quite prepared to be heard and not have to have our own ‘way’!

Just as last week, we were quite exhausted after the morning’s focused work and were really quite quiet as we rejoined the larger group for an afternoon of painting.