Candy Window: Ferris wheel cars

Bill with an assemble seat for the Ferris wheel

We made some good progress on the window last week, especially on Saturday. I got the cars cut out with a band saw on Tuesday and picked up Styrofoam scraps for all the figures. On Wednesday only one girl showed up form the youth council, so we worked on the trees. I was hoping to do some more prep for the cars but ran into a snag. Four youth came on Saturday and they continued worked on the trees. We now have two trees done and two more assembled and one of those with some candy on it. Just one last tree to assemble.

Bill worked hard all day and got all six cars for the Ferris wheel assembled! He needed my help from time to time to hold a part in place while he drilled holes or inserted screws. Bill also figured out how to get the threads cut in some of the metal rods. The first set of thread cutters where too cheap and that was the problem. With a quality die, it was simple to cut the threads. It felt good to make such progress. So much ahead and more hurdles to jump.

Today I picked up some green paint for the cars and green pull ‘n’ peel licorice. I thought I’d need to order the licorice but it turns out that Walmart had the best price for it so I picked up a dozen packages. We may need more. I’ll know better after we get one car covered. Now that they cars are built I can start working on all the figures. There are a bunch of them and that isn’t something that I can ask the kids to do. They can help cover them with candy once they are shaped but I’ve got to do the shaping for two reasons. Because I have the experience and so that all of them have a consistent look and feel. For me that is the next big hurdle. For Bill it is cutting the metal for the big Ferris wheel and getting it all welded together.

Candy Window Update: welding

Bill getting ready to weld a part of the Ferris wheel

September is here and we are still working on the structure. It was so unrealistic to think it could be finished by now. The main strategy I’m following is making sure I have stuff for the Youth Council to do when they come.

One of the biggest tasks with the most unknowns is building the structure for the Ferris wheel. It is going to be metal except for the cars, they are out of plywood. So Bill has to do lots of welding. He took a shop class in high school and did a really nice job with the spot welder. We are borrowing a wire welder from one of the other candy window artist and Bill is getting the hang of that. He has run into a few hurdles and has found ways over or around some of them. One was how to hold the short metal bars in at a right angle to the washers that he wants to weld them to. The washers will be attached to the cars and the metal rods will connect to the Ferris wheel. Last week he learned about an inexpensive jig with magnets that is perfect for what he needs to do. Yeah! So today he worked getting all 12 of those welds done.

finished parts

I worked on prepping the plywood for the car pattern. I’m hoping we can use their band saw tomorrow to cut them out when we return the welder. We can only use the welder on weekends when their shop is closed. Bill helped me by cutting the 4’x8′ sheet of plywood into 16″x12″ pieces. We then screwed 6 of those together and spray mounted the paper patterns on top. We the table saw we cut all four sets of straight pieces and trimmed of the straight edges on the back and the side pieces. Yeah for progress.

Bill is still trying to figure out how to get the threads cut in the ends of some of the metal rods. He isn’t sure if the problem is too cheap of dies that her purchased to cut the threads or if it is something else.

The South Jordan Youth Council kids will be coming on Wednesday and Saturday this week. We have 3 more polycarbonate trees to assemble and lots of candy to put on those. Getting wholes punched in the green gels to line the trees is a big pain. But I haven’t come up with a better way to do it. It doesn’t look like I have enough mini green gummy bears for the trees. I have to decide if I want to use a variety of green candy for the trees or if I should get another case of mini gummy bears. The ones I have are left over from last year. Also the gummy gumdrops I got for the lights aren’t going to be enough. I need to get more or pick another kind of candy to add to it.

I think I could have the kids paint the seats on Wednesday if they are cut out. It should work to paint them first and then assemble them. Not sure if my drilling and screwing skills are good enough to get them together in the really square fashion that they need to be for them not to cause problems when the Ferris wheel turns.

Something Sweet 2014: South Jordan

polycarbonate tree for this years candy window

I haven’t posted anything on the Candy Window project all year. It is about time I did. So first thing to do is catch you up on what has happened so far. In January we picked the theme “Hearts All a Glow”. Then not much happened for several months. I thought about window ideas but didn’t settle on anything because I didn’t know where my window was going to be and some ideas just aren’t very conducive to some spaces. Things have been up in the air on funding. Last year the developer of the shopping area gave us some money but the property was sold to a new developer and we still don’t know if they are going to come through with money. The back up plan is the South Jordan Arts Council.

I had hoped to work with the Bingham High School Art Club (they helped a little last year). But the adviser for the club has too much going on to do the club again and no other teachers came forward to help. Then in the spring there were some rumblings about having the South Jordan Youth Council help on the project. About that same time I found out that my window was going to go between the main front doors of South Jordan City Hall. I went to see the space and it was about 4 feet by 8 feet, so generously sized. My big concern was getting power to the space. It is in the entry way between the sets of doors. Not an area that normal has electrical outlets.

About that time I got the news that the Youth Council wanted to help. So I got together with the kids and their leaders to brainstorm ideas. I didn’t want to pick an idea and then tell them what we were doing. I wanted them to feel like they were part of the project from the beginning. There are two things I’d like to accomplish by using a youth group. First is just hands to help get it done. There is lots of gluing to be done and my hands are starting to show the wear and tear of the repetitive motion. The second and in the long run the more important, teach them how to do a candy window and hopefully over the years a few of them will catch the vision and want to do windows of their own. I’d like to move into a more advisory role with the windows but to do that we need more artists.

On the day of my meeting with the Youth Council, in July, the power for the window got worked out. The city is installing outlets in the back wall above the window. I asked them to put outlets in the two side areas too. It would be super fun to have a three-part window the could be walked between. I can image it would be like walking through candyland.

half-scale model of the Ferris wheel

After some brainstorming with the Youth Council we came up with a really fun idea. A big project for sure that I wouldn’t tackle without their help and couldn’t pull off without Bill’s help too. We are building a Ferris wheel with more than a dozen different Christmas characters on and around the wheel. The plan is to have lights on it and to have it rotate. I’ve been meeting with the Youth Council a couple of times a week to work on getting things going. They start school this week so hopefully they will still have time to come regularly to help. Their leaders are great and easy to work with.

section of snow with dehydrated mini marshmallows

Last week we got miniature dried marshmallow glued down on half of the snow for the base. We have 5 polycarbonate Christmas trees that will have light inside them. All the plastic is cut out but only one is assembled and ready for gummy bears. Bill has the steel to build the Ferris wheel but has only done a little bit of the cutting. There are lots of technical details to work out on the Ferris wheel. We have the plywood for the seats on the Ferris wheel and the pattern printed and ready to go for cutting them out. The original goal was to have the structure done by the end of August. That wasn’t realistic but I hope we can have most of it done by the time the new puppy comes on September 11th.

It is kind of funny because Bill and I were busy working on the very first candy window we ever did when the World Trade Center collapsed all those years ago. Interesting the connections we make to different events in our lives.