Life Size Crib at the Verdala Gardens

IMG_2791

Taking measurements on site  (before designing the crib)

One of the many challenges that I have experienced as a lecturer at the art college where I work (MCAST Art & Design) was during last year’s Christmas. I was given the task to coordinate a project that was quite different from our usual artistic and academic activities, and instead revolved around our religious traditions. His Excellency the President of Malta, Dr George Abela, had entrusted us with the design and production of a life size crib. The President decided to greet visitors of the Istrina 2011 entering the Verdala premises with the truest symbol of Christmas – a life size crib representing the Holy Family and the birth of Jesus Christ. Personally it was an experience that took me back in time and I could experience some of that Christmas spirit which was always present in my childhood, especially through my grandparents.  It reminded me of a time when I used to help my grandpa in his workshop to prepare the plaster moulds to produce the nativity figures.

So the journey started in the beginning of October 2011 when we began to come up with the first ideas.  My colleague Sarah and I came up with some initial sketches and developed them by discussing and taking opinions from our workshop lecturers, who excel in various disciplines, including metalwork, ceramics and textiles. Our crib consisted of five pieces, including the St Joseph, the Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus, the donkey and ox, all of them showing various skills and a combination of rich materials such as silk with more modest materials such as the burlap. In my opinion this combination made our crib more special, and gave a unique aesthetic quality to our nativity scene.

The challenge was even tougher thanks to the awful weather in which the team of staff and students had to work to set up the finished crib at the Verdala gardens entrance, as torrential rain and wind threatened to jeopardise the whole endeavor.  This project could not have been possible without the main drivers of the production; my friends and colleagues Ms Anna Ancilleri, Mr Joseph Psaila, Mr Angelo Agius, Ms Sarah Mamo and some of our students.  Below I’ve posted some snaps that highlight the ‘behind the scenes’ of the crib, better yet, if you live in Malta, you can see the actual crib that is going to be exhibited again this year for the Istrina 2012 activities at the Verdala Palace, Buskett. May you enjoy the experience and your Christmas holidays.

IMG_5360

Anglu working on the nativity figures

IMG_5364

IMG_5344

Joe producing a metal skeleton for our figures.

IMG_5356

IMG_5357

IMG_0327

Finishing touches. Providing ears for our donkey.

IMG_0350

Sarah making friends with our magical donkey..my fav:)

IMG_0322

IMG_4316

IMG_4311

George glazing the faces

IMG_0367

IMG_2817

samples of the selected fabrics

IMG_0379

Anna working on her masterpiece:)

IMG_2806

IMG_0374

Yours truly, applying a special formula to protect Saint Joseph from the weather (and yes it stinks…)

IMG_0395

transporting the figures..mission impossible:) but we made it possible…

IMG_0403

IMG_0416

No comments:) i just love this photo…It was a tough day but still worth it

IMG_0477

IMG_0420

IMG_0436

IMG_0492

IMG_0530

IMG_0504

IMG_0561

The finished crib 🙂 especially mesmerising at night, and worth all the hard work.

Advertisements

2 comments

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s