3 Old Men: labyrinth update

You may dimly recall that the labyrinth walls I made last summer/fall for the 3 Old Men ritual troupe at Alchemy was a stunning success…

… but it did have issues:

Despite my obsessive calculations and measurements, the walls still drooped and dragged in places.  For Alchemy, we just muddled through.[1]

So yesterday I hauled the tent stakes and the walls and the layout ropes out to Craig’s place to set the whole thing up and make the necessary adjustments for Euphoria.

First up was the northeast wall—and it was horrific.  The first long segment was too short, and then the first short segment, which I knew was supposed to be 4′ long, was only 2’9″ long.  Had the whole thing shrunk in the wash??

You don’t know the feeling of soul-screeching panic until you’re faced with the possibility that you will have to completely rebuild a project of this size—without funding and without time.

I abandoned the northeast wall and put up the northwest wall—and it was perfect.  Ish.  Enough.

As you can barely see in the photograph above, the northwest and southeast walls never had an issue.  It was the other two that drooped and dragged (although how the 4′ section got to be 2’9″ I will never know).  I began to formulate the hypothesis that the layout ropes (which I remeasured and corrected earlier this week) were the problem—but the idea that all of this would have resolved itself to start with if I had been more accurate with the layout ropes? That way madness lies.

So: northwest wall?  Perfect.  Southeast wall?  Perfect.  Other two long walls?  A mess.

I made the decision to measure the northwest wall segments and then revamp the two messy walls to match that.  Procrustes for the win!


The good news is that it’s only the outer segments that needed adjustment.  Out of 134 wall segments only seven needed to be cut .

The bad news is that now I have to be extremely perfectionist in adding new muslin pieces to these walls.  I think I have a foolproof plan, but believe me when I say you’re going to be reading more than one obsessive blogpost about this project.

The best news is that now whenever we set up the labyrinth, we will have to make only minor adjustments to the tent stakes.  Excelsior![2]


[1] “Muddled”—get it?  Get it?  “Muddled”/”Muddied”?  Alchemuddy?  ::sigh:: I guess you had to be there.

[2] N.B.: I didn’t bother fiddling with the eight short walls—they just float in the middle of the curves of the long walls and it doesn’t really matter if they’re completely accurate.  Which they weren’t.  Maybe for Alchemy.

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