Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Float Again

by Robison Wells

Last week I told you all about my new obsession: the design and construction of the stake parade float for the 24th of July. Well, the good news is that the dang thing is finished (mostly). On Saturday morning we towed it down to the SouthTowne Expoe Centre for the preview party, and then I spent the next two days in bed.

Here are a few pictures, as requested. Remember: I have worked about 10-12 hours a day on this thing, six days a week, for the past three weeks. (This is not to say that I did it alone. I designed it all, both aesthetically and structurally, but others in the stake came in the evenings to swing hammers and paint.)

Also, bear in mind that these pictures were taken before it was finished.

The picture below is the full boat. As you can tell, we haven't yet attached the sparkly water underneath the boat, and the mast hasn't been put on. But this gives you a good overview. It's a little over 25 feet from bow to stern. The driver sees out through the portholes.

Below is the view from the aft. All of the details were carved out of foam by yours truly. (Well, the ballisters for the railings were carved by the Hawthorne Ward Relief Society after I made a few samples for them.) The foam we use is made for insulation, and it's bright pink. So, for about a week (before the foam was painted) the boat was purple and pink, and it looked like it would be better suited for the gay pride parade.

Here's a close-up on some of the carved foam. Note the sun, moon, and stars. Discussion questions: Was Rob trying to use some form of deep symbolism? If so, what do these celestial bodies represent? (Answers: No, and Nothing.) The truth is that I had drawn out the design for this piece of foam, and included three circles. I turned the big one into a sun because they're easy to carve. And then it just kind of made sense to do a moon and a star. However, despite my original non-symbolistic intentions, I have taken to referring to this as the sunstone. And I'm hoping the parade committee will think I'm really deep and artsy and give me an award.

I continued the use of suns elsewhere:

I also carved a globe on the captain's wheel, before I realized that it would be mostly covered up.

And, last of all, here's a picture of me this morning. I finally went to the hospital yesterday after having fallen off of a ladder last week. I have contusions on both hands, and my left hand and bicep are sprained. Also, you'll notice I'm growing the beard back. (That's not a result of the fall.)

So, watch the parade on Friday and cheer for my float. Yes, it will have about a thousand people crammed onto it, waving flags, but don't pay attention to them. The boat is the important thing. It's the Sugar House Stake float, and I believe we're #86 in line (which I think is in about the third quarter).


At 7/21/2009 12:25 PM, Blogger Josi said...

Is there any doubt that the beard is a symbol of open rebellion now that you are not longer protected under the veil of BYU? I've heard that some anti-mormons believe the sun, moon, and stars carved onto the temple were borrowed symbols stolen from the occult, which of course proves the church isn't true. But I ask you, would a man put THIS much into something that celebrates something that ISN'T true? I think not.

Good job, sorry about the hands, now what are you going to do with your time? My cabinets need refinishing :-)

At 7/21/2009 12:35 PM, Blogger L.T. Elliot said...

I think that boat is beautiful. Deadly, apparently, but beautiful. I'd vote for you guys.

At 7/21/2009 12:39 PM, Blogger Annette Lyon said...

HO-LY WOW. The cameras need to do close-ups.

And you need to stay away from ladders.

(Did you find any adamantium in the x-rays?)

At 7/21/2009 1:39 PM, Blogger Tamara Hart Heiner said...

totally, totally impressive. I think I would've borrowed my son's toy boat and left it at that.

At 7/21/2009 2:30 PM, Blogger David J. West said...

Nice Job on the boat-wish there was deep symbolism though, come on just admit it-hidden messages for the third Counterfeit sequel.

Oh and yea, lets bring the beard back!!!

At 7/21/2009 4:05 PM, Blogger Heather B. Moore said...

Holy Cow that float is awesome!

I hope you'll heal fast!

At 7/21/2009 6:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Robison Wells,

I have my degree in Architectural Drafting/CADD, but also was schooled on board drafting before the concept of hand drawing designs became obsolete. Purely from an artistic POV, I think your ship is absolutely gorgeous. From a designer’s view, I think with the first Utah valley downpour you should board your work of art and hang on. (A rudder can be clamped on over the side. Really.) Noah would be proud.

Was the "Sunstone" the name of your vessel? I know it’s too late for a real contest, but I’d like to toss out “The Celestial” as a moniker in case I misread your post. Paint it on a plank, (made of foam, of course,) and hang it aft, above the opening.

What a wonderful project. I'm so green.


At 7/21/2009 6:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you know what USS stands for on American ships?

Do you know what AMB stands for on Italian ships?

Do you know what HOF stands for on Rob's Mormon boat?

I'll only tell if Rob begs...

PS: where are the lid, the two air holes, and the 16 shiny stones on your boat?

At 7/22/2009 10:10 AM, Blogger Marcia Mickelson said...

That is totally amazing. I am beyond impressed by that boat.

At 7/22/2009 1:00 PM, Blogger RobisonWells said...

David West: Well, of course there's illuminati symbolism. That's a given.

Deb: I actually started out drafting by hand, too. I actually enjoy it more, but it's slow.

And the name of the boat is actually the Black Sapphire, because that's the name of the color of paint. (Well, one of the colors. The Black Sapphire sounds better than The Curry Yellow.)

Also: everyone in the stake keeps referring to this as a pirate ship, even though it's going to be populated by pioneers. So, the question I keep asking is: if the pioneers are pirates, who are they conquering? Should we have a Native American walking the plank? (No one seems to find this nearly as funny as I do. But I'M not the one calling it a pirate ship.)

At 7/22/2009 3:00 PM, Blogger Melanie Goldmund said...

Hope your hands recover soon; it must be difficult to type with a sprained hand.

That boat is amazing. I hope you guys win!

At 7/22/2009 6:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you had named it the Yellow Curry, the other floats would certainly laugh at it. Black Sapphire ... good choice. Aarrge!


At 7/22/2009 11:02 PM, Blogger Sariah S. Wilson said...

Wow, that's amazing looking. (I meant the boat, not your beard.)

(P.S. - Get better soon.)

At 7/23/2009 8:43 AM, Blogger Karlene said...

Totally impressed! I may have to watch the parade.

At 7/23/2009 4:06 PM, Blogger Tristi Pinkston said...

That is an amazing piece of work.

If we do a pirate theme for next year's conference, will you bring that and park it in the middle of the ballroom?

At 7/23/2009 4:13 PM, Blogger RobisonWells said...

Ugh. If next year's conference is pirate-themed, I'll don't think I can make it.


At 7/27/2009 2:26 PM, Blogger Gale Sears said...

That ship is fabulous! Having a theater background I know set design excellence when I see it. The work is impressive.
I saw your float in the parade without knowing it was YOUR float, and I remarked to my husband that it was my favorite. Wow...and now I can say I know the designer and craftsman.


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