My project was an attempt to recreate the small hiding places of my childhood. The space I made captured the exciting and unexpected beauty of such a retreat. I expected the fort to be completely dark, but the sun illuminated the tapestries like stain glass windows.
So it turned out I didn’t even need my reading light, though I am glad I had my comics to pass the time. The spaces this project represented were areas of retreat where I could enjoy my interests on my own time. Leisurely reading comics books was one of my favorite escapes. Just as I was separate from outside world in my fort, I could go even further into other worlds with a book.
Unexpected strengths were the sense of invisibility and voyeurism. I thought passersby would be constantly looking under the blankets, trying to figure out what the fort was all about. Yet not a single person ever peeked. I believe this is because my project did not always read as a fort but more of an elaborate table cloth. This effectively made me invisible. I could hear almost everything being said within a 25 foot radius which made for interesting entertainment once I finished my book.
Even though I had no human visitors, I was joined for half an hour by a large carpenter bee. It would fly around once in a while looking for an exit, but mostly perched in the shade or fed from the abandoned patches of gum.
When the whole project was complete, I found a scattering of abandoned objects left on the table: a heart-shaped sequin, a piece or ocean glass, and a pencil. Whether gifts or forgotten trinkets, they were an exciting discovery to end the project with.
If I could do my project again, I would pick a cleaner place. The ground was a lot dustier than it looked and could have used a sweep before I put the blankets down. Also, the underside of the table was covered in old gum which was not a pleasant sight to look at for two hours.
The space under the bench was also much more cramped than I anticipated. Even though I intended to have a cozy small space, the fort turned out to be borderline uncomfortable at times, even with all the blankets and pillows.
In hindsight, I also wish I had made the structure look more like a fort. Even though it was interesting to hear other’s conversations when they did not know they were being listened to, I would have liked to see people’s reactions to discovering my hiding place so it was nice to finally be visited by my section.
I really liked Natalie O’Brien’s Isolation piece. Not only did she put a lot of effort into fully furnishing her area, but she made it very personal and exposed by wrapping herself in a blanket. The Arbor was a great place for such a project since it has so much foot traffic. If I re-did my project, this might have been a better location. I wonder why she chose to read Poe.