Yessica's Journey Blog

Welcome to the Yessica's Journey Blog Site, a Journey through Mental Health, Wellbeing and Creativity.

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Visit to the Wellcome Trust in London

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Today I travelled to London to see Marie-Lise who is the Grants Arts Advisor at the Wellcome Trust. I took down parts of the set and puppets to show her. I also took down some sound files and video footage on my dads ipad and a portfolio of work of all the designs and illustrations so far. The day went well and I also had a chance to take a quick look around an exhibition at the Wellcome Trust.


Cleaning the Metal Perforated Sheet and Testing it out

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I had to clean the metal perforated sheet for the set floor in the garden. It took ages to get all the dirt and grim off. Dad and I then tested it out on two chairs to see if the floor would seem stable with just the edge being attached. The metal floor has to be attached to a wood frame with the centre cut out to enable animating and access underneath to use magnets. Dad is making a table for the set to sit on and it needs to be carefully thought through.

I decided to test it out in the studio where I will be filming. I got two workbenches and placed the metal on top and covered  in paper. I then put the 3 walls up of the set which was really exciting. It just fits on the metal sheet and David had done a drawing of how it fits on and the scale which was really useful to have.

I keep going in and just looking at the set because it is so amazing. I am now going to look at the possibility of buying a table and cutting the centre piece out if not we will have to build one from scratch.

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Festival of Cultures at Mind in Norwich

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I have been a volunteer now with Inclusion at Mind in Norwich for about a year. I volunteered with the Festival of Cultures Event last year and I did the same this year. We had a fantastic day and everyone really enjoyed the day.

I helped to set up the Information point and then in the morning I helped out on the Food and Drink area. It was really busy but I enjoyed it. Apart from giving out food too early everything went really well. I spent most of the time filling up jugs of drinks. In the afternoon I worked on the information point and mainly helped to sell tickets for the Raffle. The money raised is being given to the Somalia Appeal. I had contributed some of the prizes in the raffle so it was nice to see them go to other people. It was really busy but I managed to take a few photos inbetween. I also managed to have a fantastic free neck and head massage and I also won two prizes in the raffle which was great. A free massage session and a hour life coaching session.

The event was well organised and everyone enjoyed it. There were lots of different cultures represented. Food and drink, dancing, costumes, drumming, music, raffle, information, stilt walking, human library and many other attractions.

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Making Hands for Yessica

Link to Yessica’s Journey Video Blogsite –  Video footage of making Yessica’s Hands

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I am now on my fourth pair of hands. It is really hard geting them small enough for Yessica. I have tried several methods and decided to use thinner wire but I have to be careful it does not break. I use twisted wire which is shaped into a hand. I use plastic tubing to melt onto the wire using a hot wire gun. This helps to protect the fragile wire. I then make the centre of the hand out of Milliput. Once dry this is sanded using a dremel. I then put elastoplast onto the hand so the latex has something to stick to. I then mix a colour up and add to the latex. Dipping Latex is used to build up layers of the hand. Finally powder is used to stop the latex sticking.

There are many ways of making hands and this is just one method. It takes a lot of time to get the right shape and the right size. Check out the video footage which will give you some idea (see link above).

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Making the Magician Coat at Makeplace

Makeplace workspace

Today I had a 3 hour tutorial session with Sally Hepple at Makeplace in Norwich to start to make the main construction of the Magician’s coat from the original drawing I did of the character.

The checkerboard material I used was designed on the computer using illustrator. I could not find the right size for a puppet of that scale so I ended up doing it myself. I found a company on the internet who could print your designs onto material. I found that having 3 tea towels made up was cheaper than having some material done and its the right thickness. So the Magicians coat has been made from a tea towel.

Sally and I discussed the design for the coat based on my drawing. I wanted a fitted coat which had a good shape to it. We decided to put a back vent pleat at the back of the coat to make movement easier. The sleeves I had designed have a sort of raised vein effect which would be hard to make. We decided to make the sleeves using a black strong cotton material which Sally provided. Sally suggested using the sewing machine to create random zigzag patterns which I liked. Sally showed me how to use the sewing machine which was fantastic and I would recommend if anyone wants to buy one to contact Sally at Makeplace. It was so easy to use and has so many functions. I created a random pattern on a piece of cloth altering the width of the random patterns and the colour of the thread. This took quite a long time to do but I found it really therapeutic to do.

Sally made the pattern for the coat and got the back and front panels, sleeves sewn together. She also made the collar separate so all I need to do is sew it on. The time went so quickly so we did not have time to finish but the hardest bit is now done. I just need to finish it off at home – attach collar, hem, cuffs, buttons and back belt. I also need to make the trousers and another coat for the Magician. Sally gave me the pattern so it should be easy for me to follow hopefully.

The coat looks great and I was really pleased with it. Thank you to Sally for doing such a great job, it is not easy making clothes that small and she has helped me a lot with all the bits I find hard to do.

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Making the Magician’s Body out of Foam

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Once the armature has been made from a kit I was able to cover the body in foam. Unfortunately I discovered the armature spine had broken, the ball had become loose. I had to get the ball off the screw which was quite difficult but I managed to do it with a vice. I then had to use Rite-Lok to fix the ball onto the screw again. This has worried me as I feel this armature is not very strong. It was a lot cheaper than Yessica’s one. The armature I got from John Wright Modelmaking is very robust and strong, it also moves much better than the one I got from Animation Supplies which was much cheaper and I had to make up from a kit.

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Collected set from David Neat in London

David Neat Website

Today is a big day. The set is ready to collect. Siobhan and I set off to London and headed for Deptford. We managed to get all the way to Deptford without any problems and then because of all the one way streets and the lack of parking spaces we ended up going through it. Eventually after an hour or so we found our way back with the help of a map and careful navigation. Siobhan my sister did really well as she had never driven in London before and its quite daunting. Not sure if she would ever do it again though after that experience. I would like to thank my sister Siobhan for driving all the way to London and indeed all the endless lifts she has given me here there and everywhere.

I have been working on the set for some time and got delayed quite a bit due to always doing the script. I based my ideas on a real gothic room I found on the internet and then adapted it to fit in with my story. I love Gothic architecture and I also like horror films. I was studying Dracula and Fear at the time of my breakdown so it seemed obvious to do it in that style and was one of the reasons I choose Gothic. I sent David images I got from the internet and from books and also did drawings and some photographs I had taken myself. I also did a lot of research, especially into symbolism. The set was designed by myself and lots of the ideas have got a real meaning behind them which I will eventually explain on the website. David also contributed some of the design ideas and I asked him to design some of the furniture within the set. His main role was to construct and build the set taking into consideration it was for a stop motion animation set. David is the Scenic Artist and Model Maker for the Gothic Room Set.

It was lovely to see David and to finally see the set in all its glory. I had seen some pictures but not everything and its so different when you see the real thing. I burst into tears when I saw it and became quite emotional. It took my breath away. I loved it all, there was nothing I did not like, its a work of art in my opinion. It was also very nice and emotional to finally see all my little designs and research created into this wonderful room that I had only imagined in my head. It really does look amazing but unfortunately I can’t show any of it until the film comes out.

David has done an absolutely fantastic job. He is so talented and skilled and I would recommend him to anyone. The work he has put in and the attention to detail is astounding. He is a perfectionist and it clearly shows in his work. He really does care about what and how he makes things, a very creative person and I am so pleased I asked him to make the set for Yessica’s Journey. He also contributed to the design of the set and designed some of the furniture himself. His work is full of texture and colour and I love it. When I saw the set it really was a very special and magical moment and I can’t thank David enough for all his hard work. When I saw the set I wanted to create a whole world – perhaps that is something for the future.

Thank you David for creating such an amazing work of art and for making my ideas come to life in such a beautiful and thoughtful way. I was also really pleased that the work reflected my designs and I know that was not an easy thing to do. In fact I was quite shocked that he was able to do some of the intricate and quite complex designs, especially at such a small scale. Thanks also for putting up with me and for your patience. I also really hope that when people see this set and the clever workmanship he has created that he will get lots of fantastic work for the future. David also told me that he had really enjoyed making it and that many of the techniques he had used were new and that he discovered how to do things as he went along. This really pleased me as one of the Five Ways to Wellbeing is about Learning. It also shows how David is not afraid to take on work which is a challenge.

We were there for several hours as David took time to show us how the set had been constructed and how it worked. We then packed everything up carefully.

I have asked David to do some more work but this depends on if I can raise some more funding.

Siobhan and I got home really late, 12 midnight. We took a wrong turning and wasted time but eventually found our way back to Norwich.

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Thank you to Oz Osborne and Jane Finch for their support and everyone else

Matt, Peter, Will, Oz, Jane, Orna and Anastacia at Epic Studios

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This is a little blog to say a special thanks for all the help and support I received from Jane Finch and Oz Osborne with the auditions for the voiceover roles of Yessica and the Magician and with the writing of the script for Yessica’s Journey.

Now that the script is finally complete after almost a year and the voiceover roles have been recorded,  I would like to say a few special thanks to Jane and Oz. It’s impossible to write everything down but I hope this covers most of the important things you have both done for me.

Auditions – This was a huge task and I could not have done this on my own. I would like to thank both Oz and Jane for their help and support in the audition process. I asked Jane and Oz to help me look through all the candidates who had shown an interest and give me their opinion as to who they thought would be a good Yessica and Magician. I took on board their suggestions before making the final decision myself for the roles of the Magician and Yessica.

Jane helped and gave up a lot of her time with the selection process on candidates we needed for the voiceover artist roles.  She also did a great press release for Radio Norfolk to advertise the roles. Oz also helped with the selection process and sent endless emails and correspondence to candidates in the initial stages of selection, including sending the parts we wanted them to record. This was a huge task and I would like to thank him for his time. He also helped select candidates in the final stages after interview and gave up his time to attend the interviews at Mind in Norwich.

Script – I took the lead in writing the script for the animation ‘Yessica’s Journey’ which is based on my own experience of mental illness. I was given invaluable support from Oz Osborne and Jane Finch in composing the script. I would never have been able to do this on my own so thanks to both of you. Thank you both for the endless reading of script versions, there were loads, and for all your comments and time you gave. All the emails, there must have been loads and I know it takes up a lot of time.

Thanks to Jane who worked very hard on the first version of the script in 2010 and for her work on the final script with the additional rhyming. Thanks for all your hard work and patience and your amazing ability to rhyme. Thank you for helping me to write my story and your support. You are a very good writer.

Thanks to Oz who worked on the first and the final script throughout 2010 and 2011. I really believe there would not be a finished script or indeed an animation without you. You have helped me so much and supported me at times when I felt like giving up and was feeling unwell. You have given me valuable mentoring advice throughout the project. You have helped me to stay motivated and you helped me to write my story. You have contributed a huge amount to this project. Thank you for your time, patience, compassion and for just being Oz.

Thanks to Oz and Jane for all their support and to everyone who has contributed and helped with the script. Thank you for your time, advice and feedback, it has been extremely valuable and a great help. Thanks to all the organisations and everyone who I asked to give me feedback on the script. Thanks also to Keith Tutt and Frank Prendergast for their additional help with the script and treatment.

Recording of Voiceover Artists –Thanks to Matt Oliver and Orna Salinger for their voiceover roles. They were perfect and worked extremely hard. You both made it fun and enjoyable. Thanks to William Taitt the sound engineer at Epic Studio, you were fantastic and helped a great deal. Thanks to Peter Edge, Oz Osborne and Jane Finch for giving up your time to come and visit the recording studio.


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Lunch at the King of Hearts

Today the service users council organised a little get together lunch at the King of Hearts. Stephen the Chairman and Pene Kendrick Ward who is the new Volunteer manager at Hellesdon organised the event. There were lots of people there, service users and staff from Hellesdon as well as other organisations. Peter from Mind was there as well. The event was really successful and I met lots of interesting people.