Wouldn't you know it, someone grouped us together. In fact, someone grouped us together with not only each other, but with several other someones as well! The first I heard about it was when someone mentioned that there were other people on my team. The second I heard about it was when I actually read the list of my teammates. The third I heard about it was when I got the succinct little e-mail from the Monitor Boss saying "Oh, I hope you don't mind, but --"
What could I do but e-mail back saying, "The more the merrier! Fa la la la la!" Once I got over the shock, it looked like a pretty good group -- it was me, the Crazy Bus Stop Lady, one of the older phone goons on the other side of $ISSUE_SIDE_JOB, the pretty younger bilingual monitor who's been monitoring since forever, the Trader Joe's Queen monitor, the Scary Old Desk Guy, the Sunflower Seed Monitor Lead, the one phone goon in the pink wheelchair, and the Naughty Boy dayshift monitor.
The Crazy Bus Stop Lady drew up a concept sketch based on what I'd vaguely said about holly, oak, and a Yule log. I elaborated a little on this, printed out an oak leaf, and she made up a template to cut some out. We got our box of supplies. I started roughing in the scene. She started cutting out leaves. The desk guy cut out holly leaves. I came in on Wednesday and started putting it all together, and evidently made quite a sensation.
When I do Art, I don't do half-measures. My co-workers are used to me walking around with a clipboard or sitting primly behind a desk, with the occasional dive-under-desk-after-computer moment. Wednesday saw me sitting on the grungy break room floor with bits of construction paper scattered around me, paste on my fingers, nose, and hair, and an expression of glee matched only by that five-year-old who's just made a plaster handprint for Mom.
I explained a little later in the evening to the Trader Joe's Queen Monitor that yes, people without the artistic vision could too help out, because it's one thing to see what you want to do with a hundred leaves and a bunch of paste, but it's entirely another thing to sit there with the green paper and scissors and cut out all those hundred leaves. You have to have both vision, patience, pattern-following, and follow-through to do that, and while I had plenty of vision, I was not at all good at the sitting and cutting out leaves bit. She could see where I was coming from, and was newly appreciative of her ability to sit and follow a pattern patiently.
I left Wednesday with the feeling that we had only two major sources of competition in the contest: group 1 and group 8. I came back to see that group 1 was totally kicking butt, but we'd improved. As of Sunday morning, group 8 had been left in the dust, and we were neck and neck with group 1. I stayed late after finishing up my shift this morning to put the final touches on our work. I started around 4:45, and worked through until 6:30 or so. One of the Group 1 people was there finishing up theirs as well. Naughty Boy was helping with both -- he was in my group, but his friend was in Group 1. Naughty!
Our scene was a fireplace with cat on mantle. They had a Nativity scene, with subtle and effective use of three-dimensional construction paper effects. Our three-dimensional effects, while effective, are certainly not subtle.
At this point, it's really down to the personal taste of the judges, whether they consider a beautifully-crafted simple scene to trump a more exuberantly-crafted piece with great attention to detail or not. I'd be hard-pressed to judge between the two.
(photo album of our group's panel)