Sunday, 5 December 2010

Wakelin Hall

I have been having a brilliant time, making a vignette in a shoe box. I'm doing it for a number of reasons. Firstly as preparation for our forthcoming event, Paper Caper, on 12th December, and partly for an exhibition of work by local artists called Artists on Parade, being held this weekend to raise money for a very wonderful thing which happens each summer in Lewes called Patina Moving On Parade. At this parade all the children from all the primary schools who are moving up to secondary school parade through the streets of Lewes wearing the most fantastic costumes made from withies (sticks of willow) bent into shapes, covered with tissue paper, to form animals, flowers, anything. Last year's theme was the jungle and the streets were crowded with exotic plants, crazy insects and frightening beasts. As well as being a spectacle, it is also extremely moving. Here is the poster and if you are in Lewes this weekend do pop in and you might buy a masterpiece and raise money for this very special parade.

Now, back to the vignette. As well as making decorations at Paper Caper I thought it might be fun to do something that fuelled the imagination. Inspired by a friend giving me stacks of old postcards, I decided to use them to make a vignette in a shoe box. I have always loved museum displays where you are invited to look into peep holes and spy another world, whether it be real or imaginary. I turned to my trusty computer and the internet for instruction and found just what I needed here, at the V&A.
It was snowing heavily when I made this and the town outside appeared to be black and white. I think this inspired my choice of postcard as a starting point for my scene. It is of an ornately timbered house in black and white. I set it in a snowy wood. I showed it to my husband, Graham, who said that it reminded him of Wakelin Hall. A shiver ran up my spine and I was back in my teens, when I first met my man, tittering and teetering back from the pub in his village. In the middle of the village, behind a scrubby, wooded front garden stood... Wakelin Hall. It was a timbered building and had been empty for years. In the day time you never noticed it was there. But at night.... Some said they had seen a candle burning in a window. Others had dared to run up the path. I always quickened my pace when I went past Wakelin Hall. So this is what my vignette is about.
Here it is so far.

It has been a joy to do. Stage set designers are my new heros. My scene is very simple but looks quite complex when you see it through the peep hole. For me it has been an experience of less is more. I had other characters in there, more trees and sequin stars but it became a bit crowded and frustrating to look at because the eye couldn't focus. Next I will seal it up with the lid and decorate the out side. I'll show you when I'm done.

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