Wednesday, 10 January 2018

A Nightmare Summer? Vampyre Beware!

"Unseelie Dreams Make Unseelie Fae.”~ Luna Lindsey

I love this quotation from Luna’s book Emerald City Dreamer which tells the tale of the faerie hunters who go in search of the creatures that are born of human nightmares and nourished on dreams.

And although my summer was remembered as being the stuff of nightmares with interrupted plans, a twisted spine and torn nerves; it is fortunate that York enjoyed something of an Indian Summer throughout last September and taking advantage of the balmy weather; there was plenty of activity at the end of my garden for with the door to my Den open, I indulged in a dream of mine with the creation of another fantasy structure for the All Hallows Hamlet.

As the All Hallows Hamlet is a marketplace of emporiums, boutiques and other such establishments for discerning folk with a penchant for retail indulgence and a predilection for all that is extraordinary; I was more than a little excited about the creation of this ‘Small World’ for not only will it be an fantastical store brimming with merchandise of the magickal kind but will also be seeped in ancient folklore and superstition!

And although I did manage to keep the design of my new ‘Small World’ a secret until the sun disappeared last All Hallows Eve, I’d thought I’d share with you the images of this new building in the design process as I began to unleash my creativity armed with newspaper, masking tape, some old pieces of wood and lots of imagination on a gloriously sunny day...

Imagine if you will that you were being troubled by the presence of a vampyre but not in the desperately romantic way of one Edward Cullen from the Twilight saga.

You've probably read somewhere or seen it on television that the best way to be free of a vampyre would be to arm oneself with a crucifix and a large bottle of Holy water or if you are of a very brave disposition; you could get rid of this fiend by driving a stake through it's rotten heart before chopping off the head and then having a nice bonfire with what remains.

But did you know that there are many different ways of seeing off a vampyre?

And so I ask you to imagine that somewhere in our world there exists a little emporium which sells every conceivable tool needed for this task and for those who lack the courage or the knowledge on the best way to bid 'Adieu' to this night walker; imagine also if you could actually hire the services of a real vampyre slayer?

As I have long enjoyed a fascination for the vampyre of folklore and mythology and having designed a fantastical store in 12th scale for the All Hallows Hamlet which offers those essential accoutrements for any discerning hunter of the undead; I wanted to share with you the tale of my creation of the Monsignor Suárez Vampyre Slayer's Emporium!

The idea of creating a vampyre slayer's emporium happened as I had been re-watching my Blood Ties box set featuring the glorious Kyle Schmid as the vampyre Henry Fitzroy and in the episode 'Heart of Fire' I fell in love with the idea of a 'Monsignor' hunting down the undead armed only in faith and with his black box.

And as the news was dominated by the antics of the footballer Luis Suárez who had found himself in trouble because he couldn't keep his teeth to himself and had actually bitten another player; the name all but suggested itself!

Using the 'Garden Pavilion Kit' from the Dolls House Emporium and having cut a large hole in the back, I used foam core to cover the gap which had been designed for the large door and shortened the length of the MDF pieces for the garden by some 2 inches which I then placed onto a larger piece of plywood.

As I imagined the Monsignor Suárez Vampyre Slayer's Emporium to be situated on a mound surrounded by a bank of mud and moss and with space for a small stream; I raised the structure with the use of some scrap pieces of cardboard packaging which along with the plywood base helped to keep the weight down!

The large chimney was constructed with the use of some old building blocks which having been smashed and bashed by small hands over the years were now ready to be put to some other use and to which I added two more pieces of balsa wood.

And as a daily reader of a newspaper (I shan't tell you which one as I get enough grief about it from my spouse) I was able to do a little recycling of my own as I tore up strips in which to fashion the shape of the stream and others I crushed into balls of assorted sizes to create the foot of the mound.

As my excitement with this project grew so did my desire to get on with it as fast as I was able to and as you can see from the images below, I created most of it without capturing any of the images to share with you; however, I will try to explain the design process.

The walls of the graveyard, the emporium and chimney were decorated using aquarium gravel, lots of glue and with plenty of time in which to let it all dry!

AND however tempting it may be to pick it up one of these walls to admire it, I speak from bitter experience when I tell you that your efforts will all be in vain if all you hear is the sound of tiny stones crashing to the table.

Please, if you do nothing else, trust me on the stones!

With the aquarium gravel now firmly in place; I finished off with a generous covering of stonework with the use of  my unique recipe which I have shared on my other blog Creating Life in 12th Scale...

The roof 'tiles' were made from a sheet of mount board in a colour that had caught my eye and which I laid strip by tedious strip (I hate roofing!) over strips of paper which helped to give the impression of a 'bumpy' roof.

Having constructed a simple door and the primitive looking porch from balsa wood, I stained these along with the windows and frames in a 'dark oak' colour and added three steps of scrap MDF to the newspaper base and which I finished off with my special mix of stonework.

I also added several burnt stones to the base of the 'stream' which I had snaffled from an obsolete BBQ.

For those of you who are familiar with my 'Small Worlds' you'll know that I love to use 'real' foliage when I can and as an enthusiastic 'harvester' who loves to take advantage of the free pickings from my garden, I selected an assortment of branch cuttings which were then attached to the plywood base with wire and masking tape before the base and fashioned tree 'roots' were sculpted into shape with the use of some ModRoc.

I should add that ModRoc is the brand name for a plaster bandage and one I came to know very well as a child when I had broken my arm!

And with everything safely in place, this is where the fun really began as I coated the newspaper mound and the surrounding area with lashings of papier-mâché.

Papier-mâché has been used for thousands of years in a HUGE variety of ways and there is more than one recipe for making it, however, I prefer to use a bag of pulp to which you simply add water and mix well.

Having tried a number of papier-mâché ready mixes, my favourite is the Creation Station Instant Papier Mâché available on Amazon as is not as dusty as some of the others on the market.

I always try to do my papier-mâché sculpting outside as it can be really messy and I usually end up with the stuff on the floor, my clothes and even in my hair!

However, with patience, time and preferably a sunny day, it is really is a fabulous medium to work with!

To be continued...

However, Before You Leave...

As this fantastical world was the inspiration for the trilogy: 'Vampyres, Werewolves and Zombies. Oh My!' for Crooked Hen Productions - you can fly over and relish the tale... if you dare!

And if you've a vampyre to slay...

On offer and measuring just 2.5 cm or smaller is a collection of miniature vials now available exclusively on the Crooked Hen Gift Shop

Available for sale individually and from the shelves of the 'Monsignor Suárez Vampyre Slayer Emporium' in the All Hallows Hamlet, these are exclusive remedies created by the Monsignor himself AND guaranteed to see off the most determined of Vampyres!

'Lost' Within the Glorious World of Brother Cadfael!

“All the things of the wild have their proper uses. Only misuse makes them evil.” ~ Brother Cadfael from One Corpse Too Many by Ellis Peters.

Recently I have found myself lost in the medieval world of Brother Cadfael and his tales of bravery, and kindness while in the pursuit of justice around the enclave of Shrewsbury Abbey.

And I have been particularly enticed by the images of his delightful ‘Herbarium’ in the BBC adaptation which stars the wonderfully mesmeric Sir Derek Jacobi as Brother Cadfael.

Having fallen in love with the vision of Cadfael’s Herbarium with its charming thatched roof, an interior of stone flagged floors with pots of healing potions all bubbling away on the huge and welcoming fire and masses of dried herbs hanging from the rafters… and I am now making plans to create my own unique Herbarium!

More details to follow soon…. I promise!
Bye for now!

As the Sun Goes Down...

As the sun goes down and you find yourself in need of a little retail therapy why not join me for a unique shopping experience... Somewhere in a 'Small' World?

Welcome to the All Hallows Hamlet, a collection of fantastical miniature buildings where the weird and fabulous collide!

How About a Unique 'Pick Me Up' On Offer at the Harum Scarum Notions and Potions Emporium?

Whether you are in want of a black rabbit, a herbal cure for that headache or like me you find yourself rather partial to some delicious candy...

Or maybe you would like to make an impression by wearing a unique hat or to add to your literary knowledge of all things mystical...

A Special Kind of Potion Available ONLY at the Monsignor Suarez Vampyre Slayer's Emporium in the All Hallows Hamlet...

Perhaps you are in search of some food for your pet Dragon or you fancy the idea of buying a loved one a beautiful Orchis Fatalis from the Fetid Flora Flower Shoppe?

And if after all of this shopping, you find yourself in need of a little light refreshment, there are a couple of eateries that may tempt you...

However, you do need to keep an open mind as you peruse the menu!

How About a Slice or Two of  Bella Pendle's Unique 'Blood Bread' Available ONLY at the Dogwood & Myrtle Emporium Here in the All Hallows Hamlet...

Yes, I can promise you that a visit to All Hallows Hamlet will certainly make an impression upon you and will hopefully leave you a little lighter in pocket!

Fresh from the shelves of the 'Harum Scarum Notions & Potions Emporium' in the All Hallows Hamlet, an exclusive (and a somewhat sinister!) remedy freshly brewed from the ancient recipe book belonging to one Claire Eno.

And as the doors to the Crooked Hen Gift Shop have now opened - why not indulge in a 'little' retail therapy as you browse the shelves of a magikcal emporium and linger over the intoxicating array of exclusive notions and potions designed to entice your imagination AND your wallet?

Taking Flight as the Crooked Hen...

“When the first baby laughed for the first time, its laughter broke into a thousand pieces, and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies."

If the author of the enchanting tale of Peter Pan is to be believed then Sir James Matthew Barrie will not doubt be reassured to discover that there is still at least one faery that can be found skipping about within the stone walls that surround the ancient City of York, although at first glance, she may be mistaken for just another conventional human; appearances can be deceptive!

For those of you who have known me since childhood, it will be of little surprise to discover that the return to my hometown of York has reawakened those mystical qualities of my character and with the opportunity to acquaint myself with the inhabitants who reside at the bottom of my new garden; my fascination for all things fey has taken flight as it were...

And now with my wings firmly in place as the Crooked Hen, I’m either engrossed in my own little world in a new studio at 1 Bar Lane which is nestled withing the shadow of Micklegate Bar within the ancient City of York or I'm at the bottom of my garden getting messy with paint. wood and glue!

And it is from within the cosy confines of this studio that I am working on the design of one of two rather unique 12th scale structures stuffed with those fantastical and whimsical items that I hope will add a perfect finishing touch to the shopping experience for the inhabitants of the All Hallows Hamlet!

And on that note I shall bid you Adieu for now...