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Brillo's beginnings

Brillo The Giant Snail puppet started in a class was, fueled by family and strives to uplift the community.

During the 2020 spring semester at UNM, I was enrolled in a class called Bio Art and Design. In this class I researched topics of bio-mimicry, smart materials, new technologies such as glowforge, 3D printing and bacteria art. The middle of the semester hit and so did the Covid-19, corona virus and suddenly everything changed. Ideas that I had had about final projects changed from fashion design infused with smart materials to figuring out a way to be relevant in a time of plague. I wanted to help the community, but the quarantine was placed. I heard many stories of children handling the changes with grief and I wanted to find a way to bring joy. So I looked to ancient traditions that ward off bad feelings and I mixed them with the new ideas of social distancing and performance art. I thought of giant puppet performances in London whose sole purpose was to spark joy with a taste of something unexpected and out of the ordinary. I thought of the animals that are now able to emerge because humans have been contained. All of these ideas together birthed the snail and my daughter named him Brillo.

Since the beginning my family has been involved, helping to choose the animal, the colors, and giving encouragement. After many hours of modeling and design I was finally able to begin the process of construction when issues back apparent. The first version was intended to be car based. But upon the car would act as a giant sail in the strong spring winds in New Mexico, creating many safety issues for everyone around. Back to the drawing board! I redesigned the snail on a platform trailer that could be hooked up to a small vehicle or bicycle.

From there we started building. The help of my father-in-law and husband was instrumental. Even still there were many pauses in construction for problem solving as many new issues arose. Eventually, we landed on on current form. (After hours of research parade floats I am hoping to still mount it on a car one day!) But for now Brillo The Snail is pulled by a bicycle, 10feet tall, and still glorious.


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