Shall we call this a prologue? 1995 was the 25th anniversary of Glastonbury festival and a friend and I decided to design a commemorative poster to celebrate it. We had a thousand of them printed and ordered 200 cardboard poster tubes. The idea was to sell them with the tubes so that they could be posted back to the buyer and not have to go in a rucksack. Of course it being a festival we had far too much of a good time and didn't get around to selling them until the sunday afternoon. Which is probably why we sold 40.
I have always disliked waste. So having over 150 cardboard tubes but no buyers for the posters to go in them I really didn't want to throw them away. They stayed with me stored in attics of various houses as I moved for the next 14 years. Until I moved to a shared house in north London where there was no attic and no other storage and the tubes had to come into my room. Empty cardboard tubes take up a lot of space. It was another friend of mine who suggested slicing the tubes in half lengthwise so that they would stack smaller. He was right. That was also when we realised that a golf ball would run along it perfectly.
The first giant marble run
If you cut a tube at an angle and turn one of the sections over, it will glue back together to make a corner. If you then suspend the straight parts and the corners in a tree, you have a large marble run. Ok so it takes golf balls rather than marbles but that just makes them easier to find in the grass.
So I made lots of it. And started taking it out and about to see how it would work as a toy.
The Second Giant Marble Run
I was working as a follow-spot operator at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane whilst Oliver! was running. A competition came up to make a christmas tree. So I made one as a marble run.
The Wooden Giant Marble Run
When the first marble run was destroyed by a thunderstorm in 2011 I decided to make the next one out of wood. I quickly realised that I did not have the skill set necessary to make this work. So I went back to school. After a year's foundation in carpentry and three years studying furniture making, I now have those skills.