Tinker Tales: The Making + Opening Night


We finally opened Tinker Tales, Ang INK’s 25th anniversary exhibit, at the Ayala Museum last night! There were so many people who came to opening night; it was truly overwhelming and gratifying for everyone who put so much effort into getting this exhibit ready for the general public.

Tall Tale

Let me backtrack a bit, as people have been asking me questions about my piece, Tall Tale, one of the sculptures showcased in the exhibit.

From the time I renewed my INK membership this year, I’ve been raring to join the annual exhibit as my last one was exactly five years ago (and even then it was a piece from a previous exhibit, as part of the 20th anniversary retrospective).

The concept for Tinker Tales was born out of an earlier INK project at the Ayala Museum, Story Stones, which were a big hit for museum visitors and even random passersby. We took the story stones to various children’s institutions to see what stories they would come up with, and then all the participating artists in the exhibit were randomly assigned a story.

This was the story I got, by Charrise Illysa Bugarin, age 9, of the A-ha! Learning Center:

“In a beautiful mountain, there was a fairy named Sofia, she was very bad. When a boy hike in a mountain, Sofia did he a giraffe. And when the giraffe saw a steak the giraffe eats and the giraffe became fat. One day the giraffe became a people again so he was very happy.”

We were tasked to do sequential art, and I wanted to do a 3D work with a steampunk feel as I’ve been working with polymer clay in the last couple of years and I have something of a steampunk hangover. And because I was reluctant to do several separate scenes given my time frame, I came up with a setup with moving parts, so the fairy could move in a full circuit across the scenes in the story.

Tall Tale, original study

Initially I only had 3 scenes, until Liza (Flores, super INKie) pointed out that I needed a second boy to complete the story. So I had to differentiate the two boys I would install in the sculpture. I did some sketches also, but it’s vastly different when you work with the actual material so I’ll skip ahead to some WIP photos:

wip1The entire project took me more than six weeks (not 24/7, mind — I do have a full time job and a geeky social life, plus a family trip right before I needed to turn the piece in). I worked on it whenever I could, though the last couple of weeks were practically every spare bit of time I could snatch.

The figures alone — the fairy and the “before and after” boy were painstaking — I’m used to working in miniature and these were way bigger, so I had to study molding and baking parts separately. The faces were my third study, I went through two previous trials before I settled on these. Then I had to pad the armature and make clothes and accessories for them. The giraffes were the easier part — I have been making mini steampunk critters for a while now, so while it still took a lot of time to mold the components, I knew exactly how to put them together.

And then the base. It amuses me to think I planned this to be so much bigger (like two feet) when this 17 inch base (actually, a planter dish) was already so hard to detail. I had help bolting the central tower (a mug rack, ha!) down to the base, as well as the swinging mobile mechanism (the steel rod was foraged from our home renovation site. I’m not sure what it was in its former life). Then I started raiding for odds and ends: my craft supplies, odd bits of costume jewelry, our household toolbox (I think there isn’t a loose screw to be found in the house!). And still it wasn’t enough to cover the entire surface. So I ended up making frequent hardware runs, ignoring the salespeople’s inquiries on what I was planning to use my stash for — I imagine they were puzzled because I was grabbing whatever shiny things I could find, never mind their function. I also used up 8 small bottles of cyanoacrylate and my fingernails still have traces of glue on them.

Almost there

Meanwhile, over at INK, production was well underway for the exhibit decor — like these  paper mache minions tinkerbots that are now part of the exhibit.


And then it was ingress, which took an entire week.


Bravo to all the INKies who spent practically all their weekends for the past month in production and ingress.

Opening Night

Opening Night was exciting, to say the least, as the gallery was packed way before the program started — I was actually standing in the back for the most part, pardon the blurry shots.

Ang INK founding member Ruben “Totet” de Jesus gave the opening remarks:


And we had a mini-concert by the lovely Learning Tree ensemble:


We also had some of the kids who participated in the exhibit read out their stories.

And then the exhibit was officially open! (Sir Totet with National Artist Virgilio Almario)


And voila!

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And here I am with “Tall Tale” (phew, finally!)


And the 360-view:


And the video:

Congratulations to the entire Ang INK Family!

Photo courtesy of Jovan de Ocampo

And cheers to many more years of creating together.


Tinker Tales runs until Oct. 16 at the Ayala Museum.


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