Building Unity

It takes a village

When I first discovered the original Unity project I fell in love. I wanted desperately to recreate the positive message started and shared by Nancy Belmont. Yet I knew I wanted it to be more portable, something I could pop in the back of my car and zip off to various venues.

So my Mini Unity was born. The originals measuring around 40 feet across dwarf my little 800ml but it by no means takes away from the message it shares.

Unity was constructed in my garage using wood donated from my Uncle’s building company and dowelling I had lying around.

My dad is most certainly my building partner and helps me make my strange creations and ideas come to life. We set up our makeshift workshop in the garage and away we went.

The structure has 24 markers at 10 ml intervals spread around the circumference of the circle. The middle markers and four facing outside ones use slightly thicker dowelling, this helps to keep it a little more stable when pulling the wool taught around each base.

Without a pedestal drill or any other kind of fancy kit it took a few of us to make sure the holes were drilled straight and to hold everything in place, but our helpers were definitely more interested in drinking coffee than keeping an eye on things.

After everything was drilled and chopped it all had to be painted. I chose to keep the back white as it would be filled with colour once the wool was on and everything else just needed to be simple to make sure nothing detracted from the connections themselves.

Making my markers

Deciding which markers to put on Unity was tough. I wanted to make sure that I was representing a wide group but also making it so people would both have similarities and differences. I wanted them to be talking points, inclusive and show variety as well as different aspects and meanings of community. I had a big task.

Eventually I decided on the 24 only after running them by everyone in the my house a few times. They were typed, printed and cut out. I used velcro to stick them to the dowelling, it means that should I take the piece into a different setting or community that can be easily changed to suit. It also helped during the event as I could pull them off to put the wool back on should it try and escape.

Tried and tested

So the base was complete, I now needed some test subjects. It was important to make sure it worked and could be done without anything falling out or coming loose. My subjects coerced, the first few threads were put into place.

Unity was ready for its first outing ...


Lauren Sanderson

Company Director

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