Building the hawk; how did we do it?
Where do you start with building a ten-metre bonfire and how do you make it look like a massive hawk? To be honest, a lot of it’s luck, but there was a bit of method to our construction madness...
We’ve been building ‘stuff’ since we were young, from radio controlled aeroplanes to dens in the woods. It’s mad how much of that informs what we do now.
When we ‘grew-up’ we discovered drinking and girls. As a result we started putting on parties, for our friends, and would build elaborate venues. From a two-storey Cowboy Fort (made out of scaffolding) to Pat Sharp’s Funhouse, complete with ball-pit and slide. We really went to town.
Now that we’ve ‘grown-up’ we’re still finding excuses to build elaborate things and Bonfire Night’s turned into one of those! Who would have thought that, when starting a brewery 18 months ago, Bonfire Night would have been such a huge part of our calendar?
We start planning with office conversations (some of which end up in the pub) that then lead into a short-list of what to build. We take the idea and start building a 3D model on the computer using a free bit of software called Google Sketchup. It’s a bit sterile designing on a computer, we’d rather model in cardboard or something fun. However, computers enable you to make models so quickly, it’d be crazy not to take advantage.
The computer model helps us work out roughly how we’re going to create the final sculpture. In 2017, when we built a huge rocket, we jumped straight from computer to the final (full-sized) bonfire. However, in 2018, the hawk was so detailed we didn’t have the confidence to build it immediately. So we made a 1/10th cardboard scale model of the hawk’s head, which then formed the basis of the full-sized sculpture.
If you’re chatting to a friend, you’ll generally look at their eyes. It’s how we commuicate. So it made sense to focus on making the hawk’s head the most detailed & impressive part, as people would naturally look at this first. Get the head right and we stood half a chance of them to understanding the rest of the sculpture as a hawk.
To build the hawk, we managed to source pallets that were condemned for the incinerator at Ardley. Luckily the majority of them were the same size which makes life easy when building; it becomes a bit like building with Lego!
All in all, it took 5 or 6 of us about three days to build the bonfire. Not to mention about 70 cups of tea and a few late-night beers. All this for something that burns to nothing in 15 minutes! So why bother and why burn it?
Well, why bother with anything? Without getting too philosophical it’s actually really liberating building something that you know won’t exsist in a week’s time. It gives you a ‘what-the-heck’ approach; you just get on and enjoy the process, having a lot of fun with it. For this reason, it’s probably the least stressful thing we built in 2018!
On to 2019... what’s it going to be? Well, we only decided on a hawk two weeks before last year’s event but we’ve got lots more planned in 2020. You’ll just have to come and see for yourselves!