The Floating Circle
Nov. 2007
Custom Built
This piece was inspired by a discussion on the hirst arts boards located here which was trying to figure out different ways of achieving floating architecture. Someone posted a picture of a floating magical circle, and i immediately saved it in my "ideas" folder. Fast forward a few months and now i've decided that I want to do something similar. Although there is a full tutorial on how to build it, i decided to just start on the project and build it myself. (In truth, i didn't realize there was a tutorial until after i had already started. Oh well - hopefully my method will turn out).

Rather than wait until the entire project is complete to post about it, i'll do the WIP route and update this article as I go.

These images show how i have created the base upon which the floating circle will fit. I started out with an old CD and glued a number of spare Hirst Arts bricks that I had lying around. To fill in the gaps I mixed and poured a thick layer of plaster over everything, and then to add some texture for the ground I sprinkled some dry plaster and then sprayed it with water. Finally I coated the entire thing black, and added some columns in the middle for an anchor. Hopefully the solidity and weight of the bricks and plaster will anchor the upper level.
(Click the thumbnail for a larger view.)

The upper layer is built with pink stuff. I have joined two layers together to achieve the desired height. They are held together with a number of toothpicks. I used a rough-bladed hobby saw to get the rough cut look. The white stuff is sheet rock mud, which i've used to fill in the gaps between the layers, as well as coat the top to give it an uneven earthen look (or at least, that's what i hope it will look like). I've used the mud before on plaster, but never on pink stuff. Hopefully it will stick. It seems to be sticking for the time being. And it dries nice and hard. I also bored a hole through the center of the pink stuff that will go around the base column.
(Click the thumbnail for a larger view.)

The column idea didn't exactly work as planned. When i placed the top over it -- although it was a snug fit -- the column itself snapped off the base. Not to worry. I simply followed the advice of the tutorial and drilled a hole up through the column and attached it with a long screw. Now it's nice and firm. I've also placed some more mud around the cracks to fill it all in.

This shows some toilet paper mixed with watered down white glue layered on the top and trimmed to give a "dripping earth" effect (a great tip from the tutorial that i never would have thought of).

Here are some shots showing the addition of rocks, grasses, and bushes:

Ok, I put it all together and just thought, "it's too dark. The tree casts this huge shadow over the statue. That's no good. What can i do about it?". DING DING DING - time for my first foray into lighting effects. I've had the parts i need to do little miniature lights, but i've never tried to use any of them before. Here's my first attempt. I've created a small housing for the battery and added a switch to turn it on and off. I will hang the green LED inside the tree so that it shines down on the statue. Wish me luck!

I've had this finished for a while; i just haven't gotten around to posting pictures of the final product. I really love the terrain, the statue, and the idea of the floating piece of ground. What i don't like is the tree. I've not yet made a tree that i've been happy with. The lighting effect looks pretty good in a really dark room, but is otherwise too subtle to see. I don't like how the wires hang out. I tried to make them look like vines, but still ... i would have hidden them in the tree, and created a battery storage in the base if i'd planned for it in the beginning.