Saturday, April 30, 2011

Yard Work

Don't worry, it will be fixed.

Putting in a new yard by hand could be a painful experience. But knowing a guy who can handle a backhoe with artful delicacy who has the foresight to see the true potential of the Circus House back yard can be helpful.

Within a few minutes the back yard was a real mess - but not long into his work you could see he had a plan.

This is the view out the studio window. Imagine a yard that drains water away from the house full of green grass. Also imagine badminton and cookouts.

The garden has also been planted. You can't see it in the picture, but the plants in the first bed are peeking through the dirt. The lettuce in the third bed were donated to the circus from a local community supported agriculture.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Grinnell College Animation Festival - Octopus Trap

Tiny Circus returned to base for the final week of our spring tour - the first Grinnell College Animated Film Festival. We set out to make an animation that involved multiple Grinnell groups.

We began with a group of college students and Circus members, experimenting with animation and brainstorming a storyboard for "Octopus Trap", the third in our trap series. A few hours on Monday night led to an almost-finished story. The next day we met with kids who participate in the Neverland Players at Grinnell College - a collaborative effort that pairs kids with college students - the kids write plays, and the college students perform them. The Neverlanders had no problem finishing up the storyboard, adding key elements like a flock of octopus-carrying birds, telephone wires, and a dump truck.

We began animation at the Galaxy Youth Center in downtown Grinnell, an after-school program for kids. These folks did some top-notch animation, giving a whale just the right whale-feel...

Grinnell High School was next, two art classes collaborated with the Circus to animate the octopus bouncing on the clouds - a perfect fit for a large and capable group, each cloud had to move for every frame, and the octopus had to bounce and tumble.

Next, on Friday, the circus loaded into the van to travel to the local middle school to work with Kid's Art, an after-school program facilitated by Grinnell College students. The kids, College Students, and Circus members animated fishes that had been created during the Galaxy animating period a few days earlier. We began with a little free-play to determine what fish motion worked best, then all stepped up to animate a couple scenes from the trap wherein the octopus flies through a school of fish at high speed.

The last day of animating was outside, at Grinnell College. We set up next to the central building on campus and engaged folks as they walked by our table.

What a great project! Thanks to all our participants - it feels like something of a new direction, working with lots of different groups to create a shared animation - we'll be doing more soon.

Now it's time for a bit of a break before the summer session begins - we'll be finishing up details on animations, working on the circus house, locating beds for the fifteen folks that will arrive on June 1.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tampa, Florida.

Tiny Circus swam in the ocean as we reached Tampa, Florida - the southernmost point of our spring tour.

We set up at a convention center to work at the yearly conference for The National Council on the Education of the Ceramic Arts (NCECA). Before arriving, we planned a storyboard for the History of Migration. Conference attendees stopped by our table to help draw, erase, and redraw (thousands of times).

Clay, as an animating medium, is pretty great - it displays a bit of "history" with each new photograph. The finished animation shows the fingerprints of our hundred or so participants...

Our technique: redraw the leaf, then erase the original, photograph, repeat.

Many hands...

Two of our animators - helped to perfect butterfly motion, leaf twisting, and tree shaping.

The History of Music

The History of Music began with the construction of a house made of colored paper. This paper house acted as our stage to tell a story. Participants created props for each room - a bathroom, bedroom, attic...

Animating a hamster ball smacking back and forth in a bedroom.

An entire house full of things to move...

Letters to thank our sponsors and facilitators.

Friday evening we projected the new project inside of the Discovery Center. Everyone turned out for the debut!

With a new animations, loaded van, and packed airstream it was time for Tiny Circus to hit the road and keep traveling South.

Thanks for the great week you guys, hope to see you soon! Special thanks to Chantal, Erin, Shawn and Elliot...