We Have The Stars

Christmas is the best time to be working at Props Studios. It’s like being in Santa’s workshop. There was fake snow, sleighs, polar bears, giant candy canes and glitter by the sack load. I went into Props to help them with these silver stars as part of Liberty’s Christmas decoration scheme.

The star shapes were cut out of a light silver aluminium that was embossed with a pattern. They came in two sizes. For further variation, some of the stars were rubbed lightly with tiny amounts of black spray paint to bring out the embossed pattern and give an antique look. Then, we used a jig to score and fold each star so that it was 3 dimensional. There were thousands of them.

The stars were to hung in the atriums on each floor of Liberty using wooden rods and fishing line. The rods had to be measured and spray painted. Each rod of stars had to be made to measure so that it would fit perfectly into its allotted space within the department store. This included measuring the exact length for each strand of stars so it was a lot of work to prepare and organise.

I was also part of the team that took all of these decorations down when the season ended. We worked through the night while the shop was closed and had to be careful not to make a mess or damage any of the displays. It was fairly easy for the most part, until we had to take down all of the stars in the ceramics department which was a bit nerve wracking as everything looked so fragile and was precariously stacked up around the edges of the atrium. A lot of splinters and tangled wires later, the store was back to normal and it was as if we’d never been there.

Diamond Dogs

Last summer I was back at Props Studios to help them make these Denim Dogs for Oasis. We received a prototype from the client that we had to stick to closely and I think we made around 30 in all.

The team at Props constructed a metal frame to form the skeleton of the dog, consisting of legs, neck, spine and tail. We then used stuffing and bubble wrap to mould the body of each dog. As none of this was going to be seen, we used parcel tape to attach the wrap and stuffing and to manipulate it into defined shapes such as the nose and the belly.

Once the dogs had taken shape, we used recycled denim from Oasis jeans to finish the dogs. We started by making feet with a little extra stuffing. Then we wound strips of denim up each leg and around the body until the dogs were fully covered. It took a long time to cover each dog as trying to fit the irregular denim pieces together was a bit like doing a puzzle. We also had to try and cover the ends of each piece of denim so that the joins weren’t visible.

We cut ears out of plastic that we coated in denim, attached jeans buttons for eyes and used waistbands to create collars for the finishing touch.

I really enjoyed this job as I found that shaping the dogs was a lot like the puppet making I have done in the past for my animation work. If you’ve seen any of my animation work you’ll know how much I love to bring different creatures and characters to life.

The nature of the design meant that no two dogs looked alike and each one seemed to have its own personality. It was quite fun watching them grow in number around the workroom until they were sent out to Oasis stores around the country.