It's now been three days since Rapunzel, and I thought I would write a little...not 'post mortem', that sounds far too serious, but a little reflection, and an account of the day from my perspective. I know that Rapunzel was only the second of the twelve, but it was the idea that started "Follies for Follies", and as such, it will always have a special place in my heart, no matter what comes next.

When I first contacted Wentworth Castle Gardens, I had created nothing of this scale. My main argument (both to them and myself) revolved around the idea that a) I knew it must be possible, and b) I know I'm not daft, so I must be able to work it out. I guess here, I need to thank my Mum, because she instilled in me the idea that, as long as you work hard and think things through, you can do anything. Danke, Mama!

Was it hard? Yes and no. It is nerve-wracking to place all your hopes on a single day, and to trust that the weather will be alright, that the public will come (and appreciate it)...there was a fear that all the friends who have wished you luck, who are helping you out on the day, those who sponsored, and your family...that all these people will look at your work once it's up, smile a non-committal half-smile, and say 'er...nice.........well done.' I'm fairly self-critical, and I think 'er...nice........well done' would have been the worst.

In the end, it all worked out, thanks to a lot of planning, a lot of hard graft, triple-securing everything, being conscious of health and safety without going overboard, and above all, a fabulous and dedicated team of friends and volunteers. I can't fault a single thing on the day that would have been under human control. As for the weather...it wasn't raining. That meant a lot. It also wasn't windy, which meant even more. Right now, two frames are stored in my garden. The sun makes the hair glitter and glisten, throwing off a thousand sparkles. I'd have loved to have seen that, if just for a minute or two. But you take what you can get, and, in this case, I got a heck of a lot. I got to play with a listed building, up a tower away from public access, I got support from countless people - idealistic support, monetary support, thoughts on the day...and I got 6 metres of glass hair up 9.2 metres in the air. All these things considered, what's a bit of sunshine among friends?

It also seems strange to just keep going. Rapunzel was such a milestone, and yet, in only four months, two more follies will be follified, in fact, I desperately need to organise the next Cannon Hall date. No rest for the foolish, but time for a quick pause, and a big "Thank You" to everybody who has joined this foolish journey so far!

Here's a bit of a curveball one - I am hoping to do short films for each folly, and I would love some music for them. Now, I could go on a royalty-free site, pay for some muzak, and be done with it, but I thought maybe there was a way to make this mutually beneficial and collaborative. So, I'm looking for unsigned musicians happy to provide a track - I will credit the band/musician faithfully on all videos, the website, YouTube, etc. I get some good, original music, you get exposure. I can't promise that anything will come of it, but the site and the project are getting some good publicity, and you never know. If you're interested, there are a few 'terms and conditions':

1) You need to be unsigned, i.e. be free to give me your music without an agent or label hunting me down.
2) The music needs to be original (no cover versions, unless they're traditional folk songs, etc.), and must be yours, i.e. you must have the right to share your track with me.
3) I will credit you on any video using the music, as well as put a link to your music page (if you have one) on the Links page on this website. If I can, I'll get your name into newspapers, but I have no control over what they print - I can only do my best.
4) By sending me your music, you agree that points 1) and 2) above are true, and you agree for me to use your work as stated in point 3) above.
5) No explicit lyrics, please - the whole project is child-friendly and intends to stay that way :o)

...was that official enough? I hope so!

I'm hoping to have twelve films, one for each folly, and each will probably have a different slant. For now, I need two tracks - you might be able to help me with one or both of them, either would be fine. Here's what I need:

CANNON HALL: Have a look here to read about the folly. I envisage something slow and instrumental - the whole folly is centred around "Holding Vigil", and the music should reflect that. The music is intended to accompany the stop motion film.

STAINBOROUGH CASTLE: Have a look here to read about the folly. I am looking for music to accompany some stills, which will outline how the whole folly was put together, from the very first thought to finishing up after the big day. I have no specific thoughts on style - surprise me.

If you think you might fit the bill, please do get in touch via the contact form on the site - send me some links for tracks and/or info. If you know somebody who might like the sound of this, please share it with them.

I'll sit back and keep my fingers crossed :o)
Right! Today it *is* ten days to go. In the last three days, I have made 160 glass hairs (result!), overshooting my target by 40. Which is good, because I also have an undisclosed number of Prince Charmings to make! This "enforced hair-curling exercise" is the closest to conveyor belt work I have ever got - but it's not automatic! There is a constant need to focus, to get the heat just right, to change your grip at the right moment (and remember where the hot bits are on the rod!) But there are a few things I have learnt, and I thought I'd share (gives me something to blog about, eh?):

1) Nickleback and Jace Everett make for good hairs. Chet Baker.......not so much.
2) It's more fun torching while standing up (but I couldn't make beads that way).
3) It is *way* more fun torching with the studio door wide open, belting out "I wanna do bad things with you".
4) My neighbours might disagree on point no. 3.
5) If you pile approximately 80 hairs directly on top of each other, one of them is likely to crack under the weight of the pile.
6) Because of point no. 5, I am lacking space in my studio - there are only so many areas where 130cm-long curled hairs can be piled up.
7) There is great joy in overcoming the "lazy bum" inside and overshooting a target.
8) The Weave app for my iphone is a miracle!!
9) I am conveniently ignoring that I als still need to make a loop into each individual hair.
10) I'm beginning to suspect that point no. 9 will come back to bite me in the bum!
Well, okay, I guess the final countdown starts at 10. Still - 12 days to go....the twelve days of folly!! I started thinking of turning my to-do list into a clever song (singable to the tune of 'Twelve Days of Christmas'....but decided that, rather than waste time on trying to be clever, I'd better get on with it!! 

The main thing to do is still the hair! One thing conspired with another (flooded studio, then opening my studio to the public and not having the space to make glass hairs without poking the unsuspecting visitor in the eye with hot glass), and there are still 300 hairs to make. This is not insurmountable, it is just reaching the point where I have to be very disciplined and ruthless - I have a daily total, and I'm simply not allowed to go to bed until this total is reached. And just to spur me on (and probably bore you to death), I will share the daily total on Facebook, and will report when it has been reached........don't wait up!!

Several frames are still to be constructed and covered in velvet, but there's plenty of organising still to do, too - writing a 'need to have on the day' list so everybody can tick things off (hard hats, goggles, gloves, etc.), writing a sort-of timetable and tasks, sorting out press releases.....roll on the busiest twelve days I'm likely to have for a while!

There is the old adage: 'the worse the dress rehearsal, the better the first night' - and I choose to apply this to the circumstances, rather than the dress rehearsal itself. Of course, it had to be one of the last days of the wettest April recorded in history. Of course, even though it was the end of April, it had to be 3 degrees outside. And hailing.

...and of course, I was once again blessed with a bunch of real troupers! After exchanging worried emails until lunchtime, we decided to go ahead, and out motley crew assembled at 4.30pm. At this point, my husband had spent nearly six hours in the studio, building the rigging and the ledge. The studio, by the way, was flooded, but that's another story!

To cut a long story short: all is well. We got very wet and very cold, but everything functions the way it is supposed to, provided we take things slowly on the day. Which we will do.

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