What’s in the Box?

There’s always a bit of a post-festive lull here at Hooperhart Headquarters; stock has been depleted to the point of non-existence, I don’t have any trade fairs to prep for, and if I’m honest, I use January as an excuse to take things a little easy. It’s a time to contemplate the year ahead and consider how I want to develop and avenues I fancy exploring…to mix things up a bit I’ve signed up for a weekend course using a material which couldn’t be more different to wood, but more on that at a later date!

In the meantime, I’ve been thinking about making more boxed dioramas and developing the storytelling aspect of them in a visual way. I started making them in 2017, initially using domino boxes and wooden cubes:

I’m always on the lookout for interesting boxes which will be suitable for housing little worlds – towards the end of last year I found some with lovely little clasps and lids:

They’ve gradually become more elaborate, and I’ve started using transfers alongside screenprinting and painting as a way to get fine detail and text onto the boxes and their interiors:

So far the boxes have all been fairly small but I’ve recently acquired some larger boxes which I want to use but I’m concerned the little scenes I have in mind might lose their charm the bigger they get…I could certainly fit plenty of detail in though. I’ve even been considering designing some around a character from literature – and I usually steer well clear from actual humans in my work! Sometimes you need to step out of your comfort zone, we’ll see…I’ll continue to mull this one over – first step is to sit down with the sketchbook and put pencil to paper…

Thanks for reading 🙂

 

The Fox in Winter

So it’s January, and it’s cold. No surprise there then! We haven’t had any snow yet here at Hooperhart Headquarters but I’ve got a feeling February might oblige… Myself and Mr Biscuits are snuggled up on the sofa under a variety of blankets this afternoon, watching the birds in the garden fluttering around the feeder, reflecting on the past few months and ruminating on plans for the weeks to come.

The festive season seems like a distant memory now – it’s amazing to me how events which happened three weeks ago can seem like months ago just because they happened ‘last year’. But it was a successful few months, a nice way to end the year. It’s great to finish the year with hardly any stock left, and a huge relief, as nothing is ever guaranteed.

2018 was definitely the year of the fox – I only began making works featuring foxes last summer and they have been far and away my bestsellers. I love foxes but I wasn’t aware so many other people did too! There are families of foxes living in the woods at the end of our road, and we quite often come across each other on the dog walk. I think it’s such a privilege to live in close proximity to wildlife and it lifts my spirits to know they are there, quietly going about their business.

The fox is such a symbolic animal and has been used countless times in art and storytelling to convey intelligence, elusiveness, trickery, transformation, wildness, freedom, magic powers, and so on. A forest setting adds to the sense of a story to be told…

I recently read a lovely description by Unit Twelve from their upcoming exhibition Into the Woods: ” The forest acts as a potent symbol of adventure and discovery, a place where the barrier between reality and fantasy begins to thin…the wonder and whimsy of these magical places, a whimsy that is subtly shaded by with undertones of the sinister and the macabre”. I think this actually sums up what I aim to capture in my work in general – the creation of a little window into another world, an imaginary place just a little bit more magical and intriguing than our own…