Gertie the Galactic Arachnid
Gertie the Galactic Arachnid was built in 2016. She represents our fifth large-scale puppet, and is undoubtedly the most complicated and ambitious project we've undertaken so far. Gertie stands roughly 15-feet tall, and has a max leg-span of over 30-feet! She requires eleven puppeteers to operate her: one for each leg, one for the abdomen, and two for the main body/head. Dozens of extremely passionate and skilled people helped to bring Gertie to life. Also, this project wouldn't have happened without the extreme generosity of What The Festival, Treefort Music Fest, Sensory Illumination, Trademark Sign Company, and of course the wonderful Idaho Burner Alliance that allowed us to build in their space.
As with most of our projects, this one started with some basic sketches.
...which turned into 3D renderings.
These are leg-shape and joint tests we made, just to verify that we like the shapes we picked for Gertie's legs.
Here's our first full-scale lighting test in the legs -- the effects of the LED lights inside the clear poly-carbonate was stunning!
Designing Gertie's abdomen was a real challenge. Here we are experimenting with using a zorb to create the shape we wanted.
Here's another (miserably) failed abdomen design...
And here's the finished abdomen design that we ended up using in the puppet.
Gertie required some serious programming and electrical-engineering skills to make her lights look so good. This is a diagram of her brain.
...and a picture of her brain.
This was our first full-scale test of Gertie. It was (mostly) a success!
Here she is, in all her glory! This was taken at Gertie's first event, the Treefort Music Festival in Boise, Idaho.
Here's a video that shows off her amazing programmable LED lights in action.
These next shots are from What The Festival in Dufur, Oregon.
This amazing shot was taken during Thievery Corporation's set at WTF.
Gertie, hanging out underneath the world's largest disco ball!
Gertie also made a trip to Boise's Anne Morrison Park to catch the municipal firework display on the 4th of July.