As I was driving back to my friend’s house (where I stayed after installing The Wish) I got teary-eyed as I thought of the community that contributed to this project. I mean, seriously, it takes a village, and I so prefer working in community to working in isolation! I could not have done this project without the enthusiasm, encouragement, contributions and physical help of my physical and on-line communities.
This is part one of a multi-part story about how my installation project, The Wish, came to life.
I cannot remember the exact inception of The Wish, but I’ve been fabricating it in my mind for at least three years. In fact, two years ago I had an intern make this sketch of my idea before I moved to Colorado from Portland…
At the time, I knew that the sketch was a step towards realizing my dream. I also knew that I had to continue working on the project because I couldn’t stop thinking about it. But the voices in my head were arguing with me:
About 18 months ago I began collecting wishes on-line through a form builder called Wufoo. Lo and behold, wishes started trickling in from all over the world.
Here are some things I noticed when I read through the 200 wishes I’ve received:
There are different categories of wishes:
I also noticed:
In the meantime, I got down to the business of making my sketch a reality. This is the wooden core of the actual Wish. The most challenging part of the project was figuring out how to map out 300 uniform holes on a sphere. It turns out that this is an age-old math problem! My friend Brian Queen advised me to make a small triangle (he calculated the size, equilateral with approx 1″ legs) which I moved around the sphere, connecting the dots and marking the points.
My childhood friend Alicia Ruch-Flynn (a math and physics teacher) helped me determine how large the inner core (which was hand turned by Jay Huiting in Denver) needed to be, how many holes to drill (300) and what diameter the paper disks should be (taking into consideration the size of my paper mould and the way I wanted the disks to look).
And then the whittling began. My 14 year old son became an expert at cutting the ends of these 3′ bamboo stakes to fit the holes in the wooden core. This was one of his jobs last summer. Intern David Broomfield and I finished the job this spring. We went through at least 500 bamboo stakes to come up with 300 good ones: the ends of some were too weak, the tips of others didn’t work with the attachment mechanism for the paper seeds.
I’ll pause for now, and I’ll tell you all about how I found the library that commissioned The Wish as a permanent installation in my post next week. In the meantime, I’ll gladly accept your wish if you care to leave one here.