After three years in storage, nobody knows what condition the décor will be in. The Décor Dollz container studio had a few new holes in the roof and a big wet fetid patch of black mould.
After the disgusting container clear-out, we could save a few pieces from last year, clean others and plan this year’s theme. We had Annas sun, made from a recycled plastic kids garden toy 5 years ago, it would only need a quick spruce up and a repaint. Recognising that rainbows are the most inclusive and recognisable symbol of the past couple of years, we needed that as our central motif. The spirals from last years theme, piled in a corner, led to an inspiration of using them and some other Celotex offcuts, to create clouds.
The job is a balance between what materials we can find, what we can re-use from previous years and what we have time to make new in the three weeks pre-show. We have a minimal budget and everything about us is low key. We didn’t even have a generator this year to run the most important power tool, the kettle.
The premise is to make something big, colourful and for us, using as much recycled material as possible. There’s a central marquee tent to decorate, and an entrance gate. We used to turn up and the first few days we would spend rummaging in skips, making everything that year from whatever we salvaged onsite. This time, 60 cow vitamin feed buckets for Worthy Farm cows had been waiting for us for a couple of years so turned up on day one. I was continuing on last year’s make of columns – large and light, you get a lot of bang for your buck(et). We got stuck in straightaway, taping them together under the caravan awning while we were waiting for the container to be forked into place in the field.
This is plastic sequestering- taking it out of landfill and making it into something else- it will get many new years of use. I have developed a technique over decades in my art practise where I laminate recycled plastic with layers of paper, it becomes incredibly strong but lightweight. I have used paper as my medium for over 30 years, I love the fact that you can find the main ingredients pretty much anywhere in the world and can use it to meld together disparate objects.
Within a week, the Glastonbury Free Press was on site so we could take all their seconds of paper. A few thick layers of that and that crumpled plastic bag becomes something else.
Three weeks flies by. A couple of times rain thunders in and the container was like an oven in the blistering mid-June heatwave, you could have fried an egg on the roof. I’m not complaining, we are in the corner of a lush, tree-lined field with an uninterrupted, but distant view of the Tor. Before anyone else turns up, hares bolt across the grass and grouse meander past. I feel truly blessed to have had this job since 2008 and to be part of making one of the biggest arts festivals in the world.