Sunday, January 31, 2010

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Thanks for reading!

25 days

It's Sunday but us hard core builders know that we need to push ahead. With a smaller group we are going to continue a few projects. We will stop around five or so to get our first break of the week.

Alli lays out a pattern on the Macau float

A dragon head detail on Bank of the West money pot.

Carved urn handles almost ready for installation on the money pot.

Amala carves urn handles the one stroke at a time. Some true shop lore is that the shop master Dave trained his body to carve with both hands at the same time. One hand would do detail while the other would remove massive amounts of waste!

Yumi hard at work shaping McDonald's float tiger toy. Ah, I need two of those Yumi.

An hour's worth of waste foam. seems like all we do is fill the dumpster with foam chunks.

Alli laying out cherry blossom patterns on PVC plastic for the Macy's float.

On Lok gets it's backdrop in place. Now we just need a bus,two doctor rooms and a community center.

Yumi making a big mistake go away. We made this way too big for the float the first time. Now it is on a hot wire diet to become a shadow of its former self.

How many community volunteers does it take to cut a 4x4? This a local school group building their float. We love our community groups and this one in particular has been tormenting us for years! A true friend, Herman, finally retired from this group and we sure miss him and his creativity!

Once again new face but old friend of the shop is Paul, the "can do" guy. Paul and David meet in the coffee shop to solve various world and parade problems almost every day. Paul is checking out the blog saying, "that's cool" but thinking, "He can make it better..."

Saturday, January 30, 2010

27 days

Get your sunglasses. Macy just got about 15 pounds of glittered fretwork for trim along the side of their float.

The lottery money man is getting a little color because we had sunshine today.

a trim has been added to ease the edge of the Lottery ingot. Hope you win the big one!

The beginning of Southwest airlines bag of riches. We really plan to fill this up with golden treasures!

Just a detail of Bank of the West's money pot:

More details but this time on the Money Pot urn handles.
Can you see an ancient Chinese dragon head motif ?

A colossal mistake ! We have been whacking at this huge foam gourd for Bank of America's longevity float for the last two days but after checking it out decided it was waaaaay to huge. Tomorrow we will whack off enough foam to float a battleship and reduce this future long life symbol to a third of it's size. Redo anyone?

This is a future Lucky tiger for the McDonald's play land float. The foam looks a little old because a Marina contacted us and we bought an experimental batch of old floatation foam they where replacing. After a few projects we discovered it was very nice high density carving foam that holds great detail. Who would have guess there would be "old growth" foam. Now if Dave can just find that guys telephone number for the other eight trucks of foam he was offered.

We put the Southwest Phoenix in the hospital today and joined it's massive pieces. A few more tests and this baby goes to the beauty shop.

Parade meeting today with a real treat. Bev, one of the main behind the scenes bosses, cook up a batch of fresh noddles. Home cooked meal and working on the parade!

Dave's self portrait at 6am this morning before working on the Longevity gourd. This was before he figured out it was way too big!

28 days

Believe it or not that is a couple grand in decorative papers that just came in! if we are real careful we will get two of the floats a step closer to the big show. The shop master sometimes muses that it might be cheaper to just staple dollar bills on the side of the float.

Dave the float master started a throne for the Money Lord. He has some crazy ideas for this. It will go to the Flower Festival first and then to the Southwest Airlines float.

Alli stepped in to continue dressing up the Lottery's "big boy"!

Rob looking mighty cute with his cherry blossoms for the Macy's float.

Southwest Airlines got their opened bundle of riches a bit closer today with the building of a big suitcase.

Yumi testing the fit on the new money chair.

Sadie and Stephanie starting with a template and foam to make a huge gourd for Bank of America's Long Life float.

Yumi squawking at the shop master for him breaking the hot wire two times in an hour. She has some voodoo magic way she installs a new wire so it drives her crazy when someone pops the wire.

Jamie getting high on talented glitter application. It is not easy glittering different colors next to each other. It take a lot of skill and patience to not contaminate the two glitters by over spilling the two lines.

After everyone left, Dave and Alli stayed to jump-start projects for the morning, Alli glittered and then helped Dave, who had got quite a bit of the longevity gourd finished. Here Alli is preparing to glue more foam blocks where a little more curvature is needed. This is about $900 dollars worth of foam.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

An anecdote

Something you may have noticed in the pictures is even though the crew has been working days on the parade, we still wear the same clothing. That is actually a good sign, David the master builder says. A unique thing about very creative people is when they go into deep art mode there is no room for distractions (such as what to wear today). A master builder in the grove thinks of nothing but the project, and the simplicity of not making mundane decisions is a necessity.

(For the crew's various Mom's I can guarantee we do wash our work-wear at least once a week!)

We interrupt this blog's photostream to bring you a favorite float-builder story:

Dave went in to a fancy four star restaurant with white linens, shining silverware, gilded ceilings, historical landmark, etc. near the court house in San Jose. The bar was full of "suits." One suit glanced over at Dave's right-out-of-the-barn crumpled look and said, loud enough for all to hear, "This is a great place but they let guys dressed like that in here."

Dave confronted the well-dressed man and said he agreed it was a beautiful building, and if the gentleman would just give him a moment, he would leave.

Dave then turned around to the owner of the business and said: "Hey, can I get the rent? You're late this month."

The business owner paid the rent, and Dave left his own building.

29 days

Well, that's it, we have less then 30 days now and there is pressure in the barn!
There are a lot of pictures today because we had a lot to do and we are a bit behind where we like to be on the 29 day mark. The crew is seasoning in and we expect some real gains over the next few days and we might even get some warmer temperatures!

Battleship David (any one who drives a full size van in San Francisco knows what that means) is loaded to the gills with fresh plunder from the hardware store. Dave had to hit the brakes a little hard on the way back and the load slid forward crushing one of the seats like a paper cup. That's a $1000 dollars worth of supplies for just the morning jobs

Here is Dave, one of the first customers in the store at 6:45am, dragging 45 pounds of plywood off the high rack. Only 6 more to go Dave.

Remember the ball project ? It is now a bright red and gonna be ship out to our Texas buckaroos for a lion dance team.

Alli listening to Dave's endless checklists of the daily tasks that need to keep us on track.

Amala carving a dragon head for the Bank of the West money pot. I bet she will be dragoning afterward.

Cartoon for a dragon head carving

Rob got his girl ready for the event. Almost done, just needs a good steel wool sand and then a few trim colors.

Yumi is almost finished with her bird.

Yumi doing her best to not get behind in her work.

The tiger has a thorn in it's paw. Actually we drilled big holes to run pipe into the body to keep our tiger in it's place during the parade.

Alli says a final good bye to a glorious float. Late at night you can hear the show and dance routines these queens had on them.

Remember this photo, In a few weeks everything will have grown up.

The whole crew had to lift this wild ivory carving on to the deck of the Macau float. We made this 3000 piece monster last year but the parade director wanted it for an encore. There are over 30 carved figures among the clouds and temples of this float. You will never see them all but we know they are there!

Cleaning up the Ivory traesure for its float.

Dave saw this ingot prototype for a master mold he made and decided to make it a money throne. Do you see it yet?

Hard at work cutting urn handles for the money pot.

The money urn's first handle

You want what?

Robert smiling after a job well done!

Jamie glittered all day today, and the Lottery guy is looking like a million bucks!