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It's nearly half way through the project, and I am enjoying my work on the Follies immensely. One of the reasons I wanted to do "Follies for Follies" was because I am interested in stories and characters, and I feel that, over the past 20 months, since I first thought about the project, every single folly has had its own little quirks, and I thoroughly enjoyed the problem-solving that went hand in hand with this. So I thought, in no particular order, I would share some of these quirks.

Listed Buildings - pretty much a given for all follies I have worked on, the most fun one was Rapunzel....how *do* you get a 24ft sculpture secured to a building, without leaving a single mark? (thanks again for Ben and his fabulous knowledge of ropes!)

Distance - getting things from a to b without roads leading where you want to go......the main challenge is still coming up, at Clavell Tower in Dorset. Sculpture needs to be "dismantlable" (yes, I made that word up!), so it can be taken there, on foot, in parts......although the army stretcher solution for Rapunzel's hair comes a close second - or maybe carrying a glass window, in pitch black darkness, across a large parkland (Cannon Hall).

Weather - no, not the "I hope it doesn't rain, so people come", although that's important, too. I mean the "I'm hanging a large dangle of glass from a window, if it's windy, the whole thing won't work" (Rapunzel), or indeed the "access is difficult for a few months each year, as wet weather makes the doors swell, and we can't get in" (Rotunda).

These are just some of my "fun" moments...I'll think of a few more to share!

 
 
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I am not a patient person. If I could, I would sing news from the roof tops before they are confirmed, but of course, counting chickens before they are hatched is never a good idea. Over the past few weeks, however, I have been juggling no less than four bits of excitement....I don't know if they'll all come good, but I can't stand it any longer, and so I'm going to give you at least a little outline to hopefully get you just a teensy weensy bit as excited as me.

First of all, one 'folly' may find a new home. That's all I'm saying right now, but I'm hoping that this one might come true before Christmas. It would make my year, so keep your fingers crossed!

Second, there might be a 'lucky no. 13' folly - even though not all 12 project follies are identified yet, this one doesn't strictly qualify, as far as the Arts Council is concerned, because...well, it's not in England. It is truly special, though, owned by lovely people, and early in the new year, we'll be getting our heads together. I can't really see this one going wrong, but I do have a strict 'not confirmed = no share' policy. So.......you'll have to wait until late February/early March for news.

Third, Follies for Follies may expand...beyond follies. The timescale is about the same as above, and I am really, really hoping this one comes off!

Fourth.......no, I can't share that one......it's too vague at the moment, but it would be fabulous! :o)

So, keep your fingers crossed, and I'll be sharing news as and when I can!

 
 
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There is *so* much more to any of these follies than meets the eye. Planing, thinking, organisation, management, calculation, and...buying. And a couple of days ago, I bought roughly 30kg of glass, or, if you prefer, about a mile of it. It arrived today, and I have included a tall four-year-old to provide some sort of scale. At the same time, I am talking through health and safety issues (most of them related to working 30ft above ground) and designing a rig that'll hold the whole caboodle once in place. And of course, it would be no good to forget all the other follies while I'm working on any particular one, so I'm designing plans for a new site - it's a good one, so keep your fingers crossed, and also going back to Cannon Hall on Monday to plan the future visits with Vigil 1. I can tell you one thing - it's never boring!!!

 
 
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A project such as Follies for Follies does not exist in a vacuum. Being a project that intends to engage people, it needs - well, people willing to be engaged. Which means it needs to get known (if not famous ;o)). And even though it has partial funding through the Arts Council, it needs funds. Which again requires people. Thankfully, in the last week or two, people have helped me left, right and centre to achieve a first step on the ladder for both.
Beginning with the fundraising activity ("sponsor a strand of Rapunzel's hair"), money is trickling in. On Tuesday, Look Local newspaper published a story on Follies for Follies. This local coverage is very important, since it is reaching the public to engage with the six Wentworth Castle Follies, and the Cannon Hall folly for the rest of the year.
Yesterday, the lampworking converged at my house ('descended on me'? :o)) for a get-together-come-fundraiser. I had a chance to destash some books, magazines, tools, etc., and they had - erm - a chance to buy them and support the project (in addition to this, I also had the chance to spend the day with a bunch of truly lovely people, many of whom I definitely don't see often enough)!
Then, today, University of Sheffield Enterprise, who helped me out with a business start up grant a couple of years ago, blogged about Follies for Follies here.

I am very, very glad to have so many people care, this early on in the project. And I truly appreciate it. The fundraising activities will continue for the full three years (and if you fancy, there are many more Rapunzel strands to be sponsored ;o))

 
 
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One thing I love about projects is that they challenge me to learn about new facets - of glass art, of design, of execution, of technology. Thankfully, as far as the latter is concerned, I happen to have in-house support. My lovely husband spent the week-end evenings building me a gadget, which will become very, very important over the course of this year, in particular. No, it's not dangerous. But what is it? It is for one specific folly, but it could be used any time, for pretty much anything. Right now, it is on my bedroom windowsill, for a test run. And it needs something else to work. Answers in the comment section, if you fancy, and all will be revealed....hopefully, before the end of the month.

 
 
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Magritte famously said 'Ceci n'est pas une pipe' to illustrate that pictures of something aren't the same thing as the real 'something'. As straightforward as that sounds, in sculpture, it gets a bit ore complicated. You create a real something, which may refer to something completely different, something buried within the observer, and it might be a different 'something' to different people. I like that!

But actually, I digress, and it's not what this post is about - it's about things not being what they seem - I've not posted in a bit, but this is not a lull, in fact, it's anything but! I am exchanging emails to get new follies on board, I'm negotiating access, I'm meeting with the folly-keepers of those follies already established, and I'm trying to come up with a secure, long-term project plan. And I'm making glass to fit some follies. But, in a chicken/eggs/hatched kind of way, I obviously can't report on stuff until after it is agreed, so, to the outside, it looks like a lull, whereas it is, in fact, folly overdrive!