Back in November I undertook the largest installation I have ever done, for The Folkestone Book Festival. Over 100 paper cut snowflakes, word banners and poster. Our friends at Salt Design were asked to put a proposal together for decorating the event, and when they saw the interior of the bar area they were struck by the large circular light over a hole in the floor where you could look down in to the foyer, and instantly felt that a giant mobile, hanging from the light through the hole would make a strong statement, and instantly thought of my work.
The snowflakes were threaded on to sky blue organza ribbon which gave a sense of movement as you look upwards from the foyer. When planning the mobile we had to consider the weight of each snowflake and how to hang the installation. In total it was 5 metres long and we needed to be sure it would remain stable and in place until Christmas. In addition to the mobile I was also asked to make snowflake garlands for the large foyer window, and the festival poster. Salt came up with the idea of cutting the words so they opened like an advent calendar and I suggested adding a red inlay card and making the poster double sided. It was designed in 3 panels so it could be re-usable, making the bottom panel replaceable.
3 days before the festival opened, I travelled down to Folkestone to help install the project. We were lucky enough to have Tania and Anthony from The Quarterhouse to help us, Anthony climbing the unfeasibly tall ladder to tie the 5m garlands of snowflakes to a fishing wire grid stretching across the light, and Tania helping us thread all the snowflakes together. The project took us two whole days to install, a day to thread and hang the mobile and a day to complete hanging the window and poster. The result looked stunning and has left me with the desire to do more large projects like this.
The brief was to create a wintery atmosphere of people together sharing stories, the opening of the festival coincided with the switching on of the Christmas lights, so something with a Christmassy feel where elements could remain up through December were required, as were the need for some parts to be re-usable. When I saw the space, my immediate reaction was to use snowflakes cascading down. Other elements of the proposal included wall and floor decals with quotes from authors, Stella and Victoria wanted to see if this could be incorporated in to the mobile, so we worked together to convert the quotes in to vertical hanging banners which represented the creative process of writing, the snowstorm of ideas that eventually fall to earth and settle on the page.
SALT are a design studio based in London, founded by Stella Chapman and Victoria Johnstone, who have over 20 years experience brand building. For more information visit www.saltdesign.uk