My last two weeks at the zoo were mostly about getting things up together before my time off came round. The changes for the Bug World IDs continues... I spent a couple of days going through each invertebrate ID document checking that everything was the same on each one, font, fonts size, colours, spacings, layers etc. Then these were backed up to the Server. The process is still ongoing and now my Colleague Anna (Graphic Designer) will be taking over the upkeep of the IDs in my absence.
The Gorilla House opened with it's renovations to the inside area almost complete. The public can now go in and view the great new area for our gorilla family. £1 million pounds has been spent on making the inside area bigger and better for them to use. The ceiling has been highered to give more room for climbing framework and roping for them to play on and use generally. The youngsters apparently love it and make good use of the new area. Jock, our silverback, has been great during all the work and has kept calm and interested in what was happening, he also seems to like the changes.
Part of the new area for the public is that it is completely enclosed by glass, even over head. So you can be standing beneath a gorilla!! It is very impressive to look up at Jock, see the size of his feet and hands as they rest on the glass flooring.
Anna and I had a bit of work to do in the gorilla house before it opened, painting some of the public area walls in preparation for work that will be done later. Also I had to touch up the cut-out gorilla shape that you can compare your arm span to a gorilla's on. It had got a little marked from its time in the gorilla house and subsequent removal and storage. Once I started applying paint over the chips and scratches, I realised that the original paint had dulled off over time and the touch ups were therefore quite visible on it. So I ended up repainting all the black so that it looked lovely and shiny again, ready to go back in the public area of the house.
I didn't get very far with the giant Ghana land snail illustration.... I had hoped to finish it by the end of August but.... I miscalculated my time and suddenly found I had one week less than I thought. With the sudden influx of text's coming back from the Education folk, my time was spent sorting the IDs out with the revamp texts. So, alas, that will now have to wait until my return.
I am now having the two months off to work on my own art at home (my part-time arrangements being 9 months at the zoo, 3 months (Jan, Sept, Oct at home)). I have a two day workshop, talk and a week's residency coming up at the beginning of September and possibly another workshop at the end of October. In between I shall be painting madly for my exhibition project that you can keep up to date on here.
Normally my return would be the first Monday in November, this year I shall not be back, probably, until just before Christmas at the earliest. A family commitment means I have had to take a further two months off work, so fingers crossed all goes well and I can get back to the zoo by Krimbo or just after. I would also normally have January off but that would then mean I would be away for 5 months so I will defer that month off until later in the spring.
I will try and get a post or two in here during these coming months, probably showing work done previously but, especially in the last two months I am not sure how possible that will be.
Helping Anna remove Prairie Dogs from the Pointer Signs around the zoo. The prairies dogs have gone and we now have the small European version - sousliks.
Anna surveying the work to be done in the gorilla house
Simon cleaning the glass roof of the public viewing area
Anna painting into the corners
Jock is very impressive anyway, but even more so from this angle
Jock's foot print!
Me repainting the gorilla cut-out