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The Making of Train of Thought

Updated: Jan 28, 2023

You can read about how this project came about by reading 'The Story of Train of Thought', whilst this blog post is a brief insight into the 'making process' behind it.

The Train of Thought locomotive goes through the different lands of the surreal and Vincent van Gogh inspired world of psychosis land, to mania land, shown as a shopping mall and consumerism. Next is depression land, shown as a messy bedroom with signs of neglect in the form of unwashed cups and plates, and finally anxiety parkway, which is represented as a station with constant delays.

Once the group had decided what worlds the train had to travel round, Gail had to come up with a design that would work within the parameters of being visually appealing, but portable! Future plans for the project, are for it to be a resource that other groups can use as a conversation starter, so size was important when planning.

The Trunk

Walton Lea Partnership is a local project that has lots of furniture upcycled already, or ready to upcycle yourself. So Gail and Claire decided to head there to see if they can find something suitable for the project, potentially thinking of a table that could be adapted. Once Gail happened upon this trunk, that was it for her, destiny had arrived! The bemused staff happily sold them the trunk, and were curious about what they were going to do with it.

The Train

Now that Gail had found the right vessel for the project, she had to work backwards to find the right train. Movement was important to the original idea, so a working model railway train had set to be found, enter the Z Gauge! Z scale is one of the smallest commercially available model railway scales (1:220).

Gail then had to create a new base within the trunk for the train layout and add a hidden panel within the lid to hide the workings (train control etc). The hidden panel is magnetised, so that it is easy to open and close when accessing the controls.

Creating the scene

Gail turned her hand to some traditional elements of model railway layout building, one of those was flocking.

Flocking is used in many ways. One example is in model building, where a grassy texture may be applied to a surface to make it look more realistic.

Creating Trees

The trees for 'Psychosis Land' were inspired by Vincent Van Gogh Surrealism

Creating the Bedroom Furniture

Gail handmade all the bedroom furniture

Adding the details

Gail handmade all the details, using polymer clay and paper ephemera

The Perfect Height

Being able to get up close to the train and layout is important, and although the trunk is cumbersome in size, it is actually quite light and could easily fit on top of a normal trestle table. That would then be too high to actually peer into the trunk. So Gail purpose built a bespoke stand that is lightweight, but makes the trunk the perfect height.

The next blog post is our launch event! Train of Thought:Blue Monday

This project has been brought to life thanks to funding from Halton Borough Council

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