The Monster imagined and reimagined…and reimagined

The creek monster is a shy and kind spirit that lives in Waller Creek. when it feels safe and welcome it appears to visitors of the creek. And our class had to make it real. We built a habitat, enhanced the environment with sound and lights and took a peek at the monster that lives there. As a member of the eye team, I was responsible for making the monsters physical appearance within our habitat.

We began our process with a big idea of remote controlled puppetry eye lids that would completely disguise the eyes from being detected by the audience. so we made prototypes in a small scale. But then the question was “how do we create these 2 inch prototypes in 18inch monster eye size and can a servo power them?”. And then Parker Jennings from Meow Wolf came. He had some ideas that he drafted them up in rhino using a 2 dimensional rotating image to decide how large our mechanism was to be powered by a servo. And we decided that wasn’t feasible with the constraints of space in the nest, power from the generator and knowledge amongst our team to be successful. So we moved froward with a a design powered by a linear actuator to create a smaller footprint.

Design in rhino by Parker Jennings

Now we have a new design that needs to be welded together and Chris just learned how to weld last week. How are we gonna accomplish this with only 6 weeks left and other teams that need the eyes in order to continue their work? That week as we struggled through welding and negotiation how many eyes we could actually make with the new complexity of our project we had a new guest artist. James Ortiz a puppet maker from New York City came to work with our team. As a team we sat down and looked at our timeline and our design. Then we tossed it down the creek and simplified it to be bale to meet our deadline of the creek show in 4 weeks!

New Concept in collaboration with James Ortiz

Moving through this process and landing on a simpler design that maximized our teams skillsets of costuming, crafting, carpentry, painting and digital design made it possible to meet our goals. During this class I believe that I gained a better understanding of how to shift from one idea to another idea to a completely new design and be able to move forward still meeting opening night with the eyes made and ready to install. We moved forward eliminating the moving mechanism and creating a blinking eye by turning a light on and off. Installation day came and we mounted our eyes quickly and had them ready for the other teams to wire into them. There were a few minor hiccups but they lit up on site and the monster came out for the audience every night. It was best that we had let go of our original ideas and created something that we knew could be successful. that was my biggest obstacle in the process, it was good for me to learn how to navigate an ever changing design and function as a technician.