Written by guest bloggers Kira, Sara, and Shannon of Hens & Chicks Collective.
Hi, we are Hens & Chicks Collective.
Nice to meet you. We are a group of
three artists from Seattle, whose business specializes in creating unique styling and installations for events and interiors. This September we were presented with our first challenge- to create a massive paper installation for Idaho Tourism to be installed in the center court of Bellevue Square- the largest shopping mall in the Seattle area. We were ecstatic at the opportunity and challenge this would present and were intrigued by the material and subject matter; how to depict the warmth and joy of winter in Idaho using only white paper? Our process began as most artistic processes do, with lots and lots and lots of brainstorming and discussion, rough drafts, sketches, and wads of discarded paper and ideas. The ad firm we worked with, DrakeCooper, was great at providing direction and inspiration and Idaho Tourism and Bellevue Square provided us with their ideas and feedback as well. Essentially, we wanted to create a paper sculpture that would integrate all aspects of an Idaho winter into a single piece of art and that would be interactive and provide constant discoveries for the viewer. Half of art, after all, is how the viewer is able to interact with the piece.
We first narrowed down the shape of the installation itself. We decided a single chandelier surrounded by a flurry of snowflakes would be most impactful–using the silhouette of Idaho as the framework for our wintery wonderland and layering paper mountains through the interior of the structure. Hiding within these mountains would be all of the great discoveries that came to our minds when we thought about Idaho winters. Skiing and snowboarding and sledding, of course. Trees and nature- the excitement of spotting an elk or a moose, a fox or a bear. Cozying up by a fire in a ski lodge with a cup of warm cocoa. Playing in the snow with all of your friends. Mittens and scarves. And, of course, flurries and flurries and flurries of snow flakes.
Fast-forward 600 hours, lots of Starbucks and Jamba Juice, the help of all of our friends, a couple of dance parties, 100 Exacto knife blades, over 4000 square feet of paper, and you have the final installation. We spent every evening after our regular jobs and 12 hour days on our weekends sitting on the floor, hunched over rolls of paper, exacto knife and coffee in hand. Every last detail was scrutinized–from the placement of each intricate snowflake to the pattern on a pair of paper mittens. We would have never finished the project on time had it not been for our friends whom were enlisted to cut and glue snowflake after snowflake to hang from and around our structure. We also had wonderful interns who worked tirelessly to carve our “tear it up” phrases that served as the narrator of our project. And the amazing men in our lives balanced hard work with patience to help us realize our dreams and tolerate three very exhausted women.
Walking away from this project, the greatest part of the installation is certainly the warmth and discovery. The mittens and scarves and marshmallows and icicles on the cabins. The family of foxes hidden behind our postcard. The scarf on our bear, wandering across an Idaho foothill. But the best of the warmth and discoveries cannot be seen in our sculpture, bur rather in the hours of uncontrollable laughter, the camaraderie and group hugs, the support and treats from DrakeCooper and our families, and the love and friendships solidified by our month of WINter in Idaho.
-Kira, Sara, and Shannon
Hens & Chicks Collective