Taratories Blog

Seasonal Symbiosis

A few months ago, our set crew started dreaming up our next set.  We design a new set for our church stage for each season.  Over the winter we had these amazing snowflakes constructed out of wood, and for our next one we were determined to find a way to recycle these wooden diamonds.  We came up with the idea of making the diamonds into stems and leaves forming the base of flowers, which was an appropriate design for spring.  (The person speaking here is my husband ;) )

We started playing around with materials to construct these flowers and tried out lighting parts of them in the prop room to test out how they might look.  We decided to add PVC pipe pieces that would hang behind the flowers in the background to fill in the space and add movement and interest to the back of the stage.  

I did a blog post about the construction of these flower tops back in February because they were such a unique element of this set.  The three elements of the wood, wire mesh, and PVC pipes, although very different kinds of materials, all came together to make a very cohesive and exciting stage!  

I just love the way that the pipes light up, especially against the black background.  This was our first attempt at covering the entire width of the stage with a black curtain to use for a backdrop and the results were stunning!  The black really made everything pop in dramatic high definition and really helped to transform the stage.  I think this set has such an exciting, contemporary, striking look and I just love the way it all came together!

You Make Beautiful Things

When I was in high school I had it in my head to make a life sized figure made out of chicken wire.  I literally wrapped my body with chicken wire to help form shapes, cut the wire, and wired pieces together to form its shape.  I then made a solid covering for the figure to make it more into a recognizable form.  I was crazy with some of the things I tried, but I always have loved trying new things and working with my hands, so why wouldn't I make a chicken wire girl?  Before I began this project I was not aware of how torturous this would be for my fingers and body.  There was definitely some blood, sweat, and tears that went into making her, but in the end it was worth it all when I saw the finished result of the form.

These last couple of weeks I have been helping with our spring set for our churches stages.  We have been working on constructing flower heads that will be used as a part of our installations.  We have been working with chicken wire, door screens, and LOTS of wire.  The screen has these little wire fibers that hurt so bad when they poke into your skin, so we have been wearing gloves for a lot of the constructing to help protect our hands, but many of the team still ended up with bloody hands.  I have had so much fun sculpting these flowers and seeing what can be made from these simple materials that are not beautiful on their own, but when made into flowers were stunning! 

As I have worked on these, I thought about all that we have been going through to make these beautiful flowers.  I have also thought about what God goes through with us as He works on sculpting us into something beautiful in our lives.  It must be torturous for him to always be battling with us and our sin as he tries to mold us to be more like Him.  Sometimes we resist forming into the shape that He wants us to be instead of just letting him sculpt and be the artist.  He makes beauty out of our messy lives and lets us go through trials so that we can become more like Him in His perfect beauty.  It is best written in James 1:2-4:  

 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

I want to always trust God that He knows what is best for me and let Him have the control as I follow my creator who will direct my paths, instead of sculpting my own life and letting Him tag along.  I KNOW He can make beautiful things out of us all!!

Swimming in a Palatial Palette

Nothing is more comforting to me than swimming in a palatial palette of color swatches.  I was like a mermaid this morning as I was helping to choose colors to use for our winter set.  We were looking for colors that are not the traditional red and green (because our church is anything but traditional).  Starting out the process of picking out colors in the hardware store can sometimes feel overwhelming, but after grabbing a ton of swatches to work from, I leave the store and lay them all out around me and start to feel less overwhelmed.  There is something comforting about an abundance of colors surrounding me that I love and are working together.  Then begins the process of elimination which gives me more peace and clarity as each color is eliminated and the final color choices are starting to shine through the waters.  Colors just make me light up inside, and when I see colors working together so perfectly I light up even more!  I think we found the perfect combination of colors to work with which is a crucial step in this set design process.  

As you can see, all the pieces are really starting to come together for this beautiful installation!

Winter Set Design Plans

This morning our set design team met for a third brainstorming meeting to get some concrete ideas together for our winter set.  The brainstorming process is, by far, one of my favorite parts of the entire process.  At our previous meetings, our team began by discussing the mood that we want to convey in the service for that particular series.  We gather some words to express what we want our set to convey, and for this particular set we found the words crisp, cool, comforting, and exciting to be best suited for this set.  We decided to steer away from the set being organic in nature, and go with more geometric lines.  All of this was decided before this morning's meeting so we were already heading in a specific direction, but we still hadn't narrowed down what the set would look like yet.  I brought some geometric shapes with me that I had from home that I thought we could play with during the meeting and find inspiration from... 


Our set design team has Pinterest boards for each set where we collect inspirational images to use as spring boards for our set designs.  This morning we all agreed that this image was just the look and feel we were going for.  We love the warm nature of the wood and the abstract nature of the snowflake.  We are going to add color to these "snowflakes" with paint and other materials which we will add to the inside of some of the diamonds.  One of our team members had the genius idea of giving each of the small groups (life groups) in our church the option to be a part of this set!  We will give them each a diamond that they can fill with various materials and work as a group to complete it.  This week I am going to be compiling a list of optional materials and colors that the groups can use inside of their diamonds.

This set is going to be a LOT of cutting, and a LOT of work!  When you are talking about doing something like this large scale, AND on two other stages, there is so much to think about and plan.  We have to figure out designs for the stages and get those designs into drawings on the computer to help us with measurements.  Then it is gathering all the materials, organizing the life groups that will be participating in this set, prefabricating the modular sections that will be installed, and installing everything, etc. 

We alway try to make the winter set something extraordinary due to the fact that it is will be experienced by so many people during a time that is so special to our church family.  I think this is going to be a set that people who step into our doors will never forget!  

A New Stage for the Set Design Team

Being a part of the set design team at my local church has been a great experience through the years and it is always changing and bringing forth new challenges.  Recently, our church family on Ghent Rd. purchased another church building that we are going to be using as an extension of Grace Church's Bath campus.  There will be a video stream of the sermon during the service there, and by doing this we will free up seats at Ghent Rd.  All this is very exciting as we officially open the doors on October 12th which is days away!  This now gives the set design team another stage to work on which will help set the mood of the service.  This is a new endeavor for our team which will bring a lot of new challenges for us to take on.

Yesterday was the first time we set foot on the stage as we tried to make a smaller, varied version of the main stage set on Ghent Rd.  Because of the reduced size of the stage at the extension, we had to scale down the size of the fabric tubes that we hung from the rafters.  Everything still looked so much bigger on this stage so we had to really scale down how much we put on the stage, etc. to keep it from getting too cluttered.  There were a lot of challenges and things to think through, but I know that in time we will get it all figured out just like we have on Ghent Rd.  The installation is not done yet, but it is definitely headed in the right direction!