Preparation work has finally started for the COLOUR! Summer programme in The Ark. In the light-filled workshop on the top floor a busy team of artists is working hard on the many aspects of the forthcoming exhibition and workshops. Tasks have been assigned according to personal skills and preferences and the concentration is high. But the work is not a solitary one – opinions are asked, tips exchanged, methods discussed and help sought-out.
So far John is in charge of designing the panels for the stained glass windows in the long room (he always said he would like to do some stained glass work – and this is is chance); Saoirse, who loves music more than anything else, is compiling the tracks’ list and sourcing information for the music and color workshop; Cameron, who likes drawing, is designing and laboriously cutting out medieval-style floor tiles and Asha, who enjoys messy work, is wildly experimenting with pigments, mixing coloured powders with unlikely ingredients such as egg yolks and honey!
I (Jole) boss everybody around in between painting big canvases (and trying to copy the great masters) for the foyer.
Mark and Franco, of the Ark’s staff float in and out assisting with problem-solving and technical issues while Aideen makes sure we are on schedule (artists are known for being absent- minded!).
As new ideas fly around the atmosphere is feverish and full of creative potentials. There is so much to do, so many aspects to take care of and a whole building to fill with sets and props and artworks! We wonder if we’ll ever manage to do everything we’ve planned; it is a bit worrying but it also feels like a great adventure.
For me there were two major highlights during the week just gone, first a major photo-shoot in the Ark’s theatre with real artificial lights and all, like in a very professional photographic studio, and second, a trip to North County Dublin in search for props to set up the COLOUR! exhibition.
I don’t want to give away too much information about the photo-shoot so I will just say that it was great fun to watch some of the Ark’s staff dressing up in interesting costumes and being transformed into characters from centuries past (and present). Franco’s great skill as a photographer produced some amazing images that you’ll see when you come to the Ark and we wonder if you will recognize some of the characters in the people working around you in the building.
Two days after the photo-shoot Mark and myself travelled to Lusk in North County Dublin on a very special mission. On this occasion I was hoping I would get a ride on the back of Mark’s bright red motor bike (you see, red is my favourite colour and Mark’s motor bike is simply gorgeous) but he didn’t offer and I was too shy to ask, so we went in my car instead.
The warehouse we were looking for was literally in the middle of nowhere in the countryside around Lusk and as a consequence we got duly lost. Eventually we found the place. Little did I know what the place was hiding! Inside the huge, dark and dusty metal shed were aisles of props for rent for the film and theatre’s industry; furniture of all types and shapes and periods, hundreds of objects like lamps, bottles, empty picture frames as well as framed pictures, umbrellas, plates and cups, easels, chandeliers and candelabras. In short, anything and everything you could be looking for.
However the most important thing was that while we were going through the aisles looking and taking pictures of possible props we became aware of a very strong wind that was blowing in from the outside (was the wind there when we arrived?). It was so strong that the flimsy metal structure of the shed was shaking all over and currents of cold air were creating a strange atmosphere making believe that something or somebody would come alive from behind the dark corners between old tables and cupboards. Where we in a sci-fi movie? – I wondered.
Back in the Ark we went through the many photos we had taken and made a list of the things we needed for the programme. I was happy that we’d found most of what we had been looking for and I have enjoyed the adventure a lot even though I didn’t get to ride on the shiny red motorbike. Maybe one day!