Adventures with Power Tools
Every weekend offered up a new challenge and new skills to learn. We started off working on the project in the artists’ backyard. Prior to this project I did not have any experience with power tools or construction work. With a lot of help from others I quickly started using nail guns, table saws and grinders, and learned how to create jigs for cutting wood pieces. I was particularly interested in learning more about electronics and LED’s. The artist in charge of the electronics gave me an introduction and soon I was helping him prep the lights and projectors for the project. This has been a catalyst for me to explore working on my own with LED’s and programming wearable tech such as the Arduino Flora. As the project went on I was able to use my newly acquired construction skills to teach other volunteers and using table saws and grinders like a pro!
Giant Metal Arches
Around June the project outgrew the backyard and we moved to a worksite in the desert. Because of its large scale we needed a lot of volunteers, especially volunteers who knew how to weld and work with metal. We had 26 metal arches (some of which were over 26 feet tall) that needed to be cut, welded, finished and painted. They were so large that a team of at least eight people was needed to lift them and move them around the work site. The artists had an expert teach a welding workshop and many of the volunteers, myself included, learned welding for the first time. I spent a lot of time finishing the welded pieces with grinders and managing all of the individual metal parts so the welding crew could work faster. As our end-of-August deadline approached we worked long weekends to finish the project. A week before the event the project was packed up into a few trucks and driven with the crew to the desert outside Reno, Nevada.