The mobile library service of Blackburn and Darwen Brough Council was re-launched in February 2006. As part of the C21 project, Re-creations was chosen to transform the van into an Indian jeepney, which is a type of transportation found in the Philippines. These are surplus American jeeps that have been overhauled and decorated with colourful paintings, lights and shiny chrome work.
We found inspiration from an Indian legend all about books and a love of reading called The Armchair Traveller which features colourful characters and adventures which take place all around the world.
Wherever possible we used waste materials in our work, so the artwork was made 100% out of old books. We made large boards of collage out of the book covers and spines, which was then photographed and photoshopped. This was taken to a company who make a ‘wrap’, which is a large sheet of vinyl that covers the entire van.
The story was presented to various groups in the community who use the mobile library, including nurseries, playgroups, St. Pauls Church of England primary school and the craft group of the Barlow Institute, using shadow puppetry and music. We also ran workshops to make decorations for the inside of the bus; nursery and school children made dangly jingly colourful peacocks, elephant banners and sparkly rakhis to transform the interior.
The mobile library was given a scrap book that told the Armchair Traveller story and the story of how the project came to be.