Mr Bear's Day Out
If you've been following me for a little while, you might have put two and two together through my various hints on instagram and in my emails about a big project I've been working on. Like most of my projects, I embark on them with a delightful naivety about just how big they might be and this one has certainly been no different.
When I released Mr Bear's Christmas
in December 2020 (a project which I thought might take a casual month or so and ended up taking six) I was pretty shattered at the end of it. I had no experience of any element I'd used to make the film - needlefelt, set creation, stop motion animation and editing to name a few. I had felt out of my depth and so far beyond my comfort zone for half of the year and as I took the set down, albeit with a happy heart at all I'd achieved, I swore I'd never do it again.
That was December 2020. January 2021 I was wondering how I might be able to make a carousel for Mr Bear's Day Out. I couldn't shake the image of them all having a fabulous time at the fair, how pink and twinkly it could all be and that I could probably find a way to make it happen...
As always, once that seed was planted in my mind, it stayed put and grew roots.
By April last year, I was making a start. Armed once again with a heavy dose of joyful naivety on my side, I set about making rough plans on napkins and wondering genuinely... how on Earth I was going to build a carousel!
For a while, my plans were loosely based around a B&Q drain pipe and some cups, which I'd had a lovely time procuring at the Tarporley Vintage Charity Shop. The beautiful cups really helped me visualise it coming to life and gave me some motivation at a time where, let's face it, I basically had just a drainpipe! These were probably the moments which had so much playful creativity but equally gave me so much discomfort from not having a clue what I was doing a lot of the time.
Next stop was finding somewhere to get some awkward angled pieces of wood cut to precision for the central column (thank you school maths, they worked perfectly!). At the incredibly lovely timber yard I'd been recommended, I was questioned on what I was making and how long it might take. I showed him the carousel illustration and explained what I was was building and - perhaps a week or so? He laughed and said 'Rome wasn't built in a day'... for the next 3 months I clung to that sentence as I hit hurdle after hurdle.
After Mr Bear's Christmas, many of the characters and set elements were already made. To make a fairground scene to scale was going to be pretty big. So, I could either make the fairground to scale for the existing pieces, or start everything again so that I could make it a bit smaller. I opted for keeping what I'd already made, but that meant that my carousel needed to be 80cm in diameter... which is just a bit wider than a regular doorframe. So, I needed to find a way to make it in modular elements in order to construct it from inside the set room (... and yep...my poor parents have generously relinquished that room again!..sorrrryyyyyyy!!!!)
There have been so many head scratching moments just getting the set built, but it was also such a fun challenge (from the comfy sofa of hindsight!). For the carousel to rotate, I deployed the genius of a 1970s lazy Susan mechanism, only instead of sharing a curry, it has been spinning tea cups and unicorns for the last little while.
There is so much I'm excited to share with you about the bits I've created so far. For now though, I'm just so excited to officially share with you that Mr Bear's Day Out is in the making. It will be so wonderful to share the journey with you as I go along.
And if you'd like to brush up on the stories.... Mr Bear's Day Out can be found as one of the three stories featured in the Tales Of Mr Bear, available here