An UnbeLEAFable Experience

Coming into this experience, I didn’t really know what to expect or what I wanted to do for the Creek Monster Habitat. As a stage manager, I don’t usually get to be super involved in the design and fabrication processes. I wanted to get the opportunity to break out of my shell.

After being given the task of creating a ground cloth that formed a leafy path, we didn’t know where to start. We explored many different ideas including weaving garlands, painting fabric, and painting actual leaves. Eventually, it was suggested that we experiment with construction fencing that we had as well as a camo hunting blind that had been purchased. Thus, our first prototype was born.

Creation of the First Ground Cloth Prototype

Once we created our first prototype, we decided this was how we wanted to proceed with making the ground cloth. We ordered more construction fencing and camo netting and began planning the assembly of our ground cloth. My teammate, Aurora, managed to create a map to determine the necessary sizes and shapes of ground cloth pieces based on the ground plan.

Map used to determine sections of the ground cloth

We began assembling the pieces by cutting construction fencing to the proper lengths and zip tying chunks together to fit our needs. Afterwards, we attached the camo netting using a tagging gun and rolled each of our six pieces to transport to the site.

We were also given the task of creating loose leaves to encourage audience interaction. We figured the best way to do this was to use a laser cutter to cut the leaf shapes. We tested with and researched a variety of materials from which to cut the leaves. We ended up choosing to cut the leaves out of a heavy paper. To increase UV visibility, we decided to splatter the leaves with UV reactive paint.

First Leaf Cutting Test

We had to be strategic about installation, laying the center piece after the nest was halfway assembled to hold the edges of the piece down and attaching the remainder of the piece with landscaping pins. After the nest was fully assembled, we began laying the remainder of the groundcloth pieces and securing them with landscaping pins.

Nest with the Groundcloth Laid Out

After opening, we learned how destructive over 60,000 people can be. Throughout the process, the ground cloth was pulled up and ripped, and we had to make repairs by repinning spots to fill the gaps.

Overall, this project helped me learn to be a better collaborator by better communication, how to manage time, and how to plan a project from design to fabrication,.