This year a friend asked me to make her Halloween costume, and we decided a spaceship would be totally cool. In that place though, between what we imagine and what comes to be there is a world, a whole gigantic realm of newness that is ripe with the unknown. Space. Infinity. Where does it stop?
A space ship. A costume. I can do that, right??
I should begin by directing you to my version of a space ship. Click here.
Are you back? Do you get it? I think of space as internal and having to do with the distance from me to you. That is, subject to object, that old thing...and basically...desire.
Space ships? Well they are personal interpretations (of course) of the vehicles (or neurological passages manifested architecturally...) that like letters, note the temporary position of one in relation to another.
They are beautiful, vulnerable love letters. Really. That's how I think of them.
This is a Halloween costume. Right.
I had an idea, a plan. My rockets will have scales, like the panels that cover "real" rockets, only these will be like fish scales. That feels right.
The trail of the rocket will be made from a swath of plastic bag flowers that will bloom and flow around the ankles of the costume wearer.
Then I figured out this awesome system for making these flowers. You take a plastic bag, 3 1/2 pipe cleaners and going from the bottom, tie off 3 little sections, then when you're done - cut them close to the base of the next section, poof flowers and voila....a pretty cool little production line.
Concept change. When I started putting things together, my imagination and the physics of the thing didn't exactly match. Its hard to move in cardboard, and getting 5 rows of fish scales to move like well....scales and not boards, is hard. CARD BOARD. Cardboard. Board. Hard. Got it.
So I shortened the thing and pulled it up so it became like a smock, with a shorter tail and a less fitted aesthetic.
And suddenly it was time for her to pick it up and I wanted 2 more days to work on it. It was rougher than I had imagined it would be, but I fell for it (them...there were two) even so. Funny that.
So - you grown ups might not be able to tell that it's a rocket...but the children knew. The ones that I talked to anyways...but maybe I'd told them before.
I guess I'm always looking for that place inhabited by love letters and longing and discovery and connections and questions.
I love trying to figure things out, and maybe that's why it's not only ok but important that these rockets or space ships aren't obvious. They are other things too...reused, upcycled materials with histories, they are projections and impressions, and they are funny.
The person I made them for looked great in hers. I imagine parts of it's "heat protective scale system" fell off that night, or before - and there were bound to be other technical difficulties - but she encapsulated the spirit of the thing perfectly. She was willing to be vulnerable and venture forth into that void, the unknown, the antithesis of Main Street America, with kindness and love. Yes - they were on the "outsider art" side, but the final object...expression...concept...letter made me happy.
Next year - the void it's self...