Tuesday 25 August 2015

How you turn my World

Just recently I attended the Labyrinth of Jareth Masquerade Ball in Los Angeles, for the fifth time.

This year it was held at the stunning Biltmore Hotel - a place I've stayed at and love. It's in Downtown LA and was built in 1922 and even if you haven't been there, you'll likely recognise it from the number of films which have scenes shot there (list here).

But the ball itself... it was out-of-this-world as always, with everyone in attendance dressed in incredible outfits, attending as fairy kings, sprites, goblins and Georgian fops in powdered wigs. I have too much work on right now to have made a costume so I wore my old graduation ballgown from RHUL (last worn when I was 21) and was possibly the most simply dressed in attendance. It didn't matter once I added a mask and shawl.

The most exciting part of the event this year was the entertainment. Always incredible, this year it couldn't have appealed more to me. On stage, the dancers (dressed as all manner of magical characters) danced to Michael Jackson's Thriller perfectly, as a gigantic puppeteered dragon made its way centre stage and joined the dance. It was wild!

Previous post about this wonderful ball here.

In other news, I have mentioned in previous posts here and here that I am working on an Alice in Wonderland project. It will be finished this Friday, right before I flit off for a weekend in Vegas. I'll write a proper blog post sharing the making of it soon, and of course I'll show you the final result. This piece will also be published and exhibited at the CTN eXpo, Center Stage Gallery, Burbank, California. Find out more about upcoming events and exhibitions at my website homepage here.

Tuesday 18 August 2015

So many books, so little time

Last week I found myself in downtown LA and wandered into a magical place called 'The Last Bookstore'. It was a bizarre book shop with books stacked to the ceiling and inside vaults you climb into, tunnels of books you walk through and an actual labyrinth of books that you weave your way through to get to the exit on the other side. It was a curious place. It even had pennies tile the floor (see photo below).

If you're in LA you have to give it a look (website), and not just because they also host an art gallery for local artists and upon chatting to one of the organisers I was asked to sell prints of my illustrations there (!)

This place was fun inspiration for the project I am in the middle of - my 'Alice in Wonderland' commission. On that note, scroll past the iPhone photos I took of 'The Last Bookstore' and see my work-in-progress snaps of this project. If you follow me on Instagram then you probably already saw my furniture. This is the rest I've created thus far. There's an un-birthday cake, a Charlotte cake with pocketwatch, another cake, English tea time sandwiches and fairy cakes etc, and books and teapots to fill the table.

Also, see some of the planning for this Alice in Wonderland miniature piece in my previous post here.

PS Title quote by Frank Zappa. "So many books, so little time".

Downtown LA baby! (I love it there).

My work-in-progress Alice in Wonderland project...

Thursday 6 August 2015


I have been commissioned to create something on the Alice in Wonderland theme, and coming from Oxfordshire it's a real thrill. I had an idyllic 'Alice like' childhood. We punted on the Thames in the beautiful hot summers and had picnics on the riverbank. I had adventures in the fields behind my house, in my tiny village where all the houses were thatched and 500 odd years old. I hid treasures down rabbit holes and badger setts and drew maps to find them again. And of course I drank tea from Victorian china with the grown-ups just as soon as they let me.

So, yesterday I started sketching some ideas. It's going to be centered on the Madhatter's tea party. I sketched some ideas to decide how I want him to look. I am trying very hard to make him my own design, and not a copy of Tenniel or Disney, however, I also want him to be recognisable as the Madhatter. I felt happy with one of the sketches, so I scanned it and today I quickly added some colour. Disney has him in green and so I went with a very English red and striped yellow britches, since it's my favourite colour. 

Tomorrow I will start sculpting him in miniature (1:12 scale, polymer clay).

Also, to plan my scene I did some sketches and then roughly cut out cardboard shapes (in the general scale) to gauge how it will all work out. I've decided to share these working developments, but please remember they're very quick and dirty!

Speaking of madness, I added colour to my Madhatter image using Photoshop, but sans tablet I made do with a mouse. Took twice as long as it should have done and opting to do this was probably quite mad...

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