Monday, 1 October 2018

From Dusk 'Til Dawn!

Are the Models from the All Hallows Hamlet 'Real' Models?
Yes, they are 'real' models! And all have been created in 12th scale.

Can I Visit the All Hallows Hamlet?
As the models used as part of the All Hallows Hamlet have been on private and public display in the past; there are occasions when they can 'seen' in person and a subscription to the Crooked Hen Newsletter will keep you informed about our studio open-days and forthcoming exhibitions.

What is the Story Behind the Creation and Design for the Models of the All Hallows Hamlet?
Many of the structures have been created primarily with the use of MDF, plaster, strip wood, paints, mountboard, papier-mâché, natural foliage and of course with plenty of glue and lots of imagination!

However, some have been designed with the use of an eclectic assortment of materials including a huge plant pot, chicken wire, a tree stump, bicycle wheel and even an old and grotty plastic waste bin! And even though several began life in kit form as simple pieces of MDF purchased from several independent dolls' house suppliers; the original designs have been 'tweaked' by the artist.

The models remain the exclusive work of Tee Bylo.

Can I Follow the Stories About the All Hallows Hamlet?
As well as sharing in the 'Magick' through Crooked Hen Productions on the website, you can follow the tales of the 'Small Folk' on InstagramFlickrTwitterFacebookTumblr and Google+

And you can now join Tee as she weaves that special 'magick' from the confines of a crowded shed at the bottom of her garden or from her studio in the heart of York on her blog One Crooked Hen!

Why the Creation of the All Hallows Hamlet?
A day dreamer since birth, Tee is a natural creative and with a passion for the unique and mystical, the idea of creating a hamlet of weird and wonderful emporiums and abodes populated by the folk of myth and legend was impossible to resist.

And even though Tee has been creating 'Small Worlds' for many years now; the passion to continue with the design and expansion of this fantastical world remains just as intoxicating!

How Can I Learn More About the Work of Tee Bylo?
You can discover more about the artist's work with a visit to her official website Creating Life in 12th Scale... or by signing up to follow her on this blog.

You can also support Tee by becoming an 'Honorary Hen' and enjoy an exclusive peek at her work AND an Etsy discount on the membership site Patreon.

Tee can also be found on the usual social media platforms including FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

Tell Me the Inspiration for the Tales about the 'Small Folk'...
With an instinctive gift for weaving stories and as her designs for the All Hallows Hamlet continued to evolve; Tee fell in love with the idea of a gaggle of unique characters to inhabit this fantastical world and with the help of Jain from the Giddy Kipper and Pearl from Literature in Miniature the tales have begun to unfold! And

And having created the first of her 'Little Folk' - an Irish Elf who answers to the name of 'Seamus Quinn'; her imagination is now soaring to new heights!

And the Plans for the All Hallows Hamlet?
As there are structures in the design and creation process including a Christmas Grotto, flower shop, patisserie; barista bar and herbarium; there is plenty to keep the artist and those 'Small Folk' busy for some time to come!

And as the doors to the Crooked Hen Gift Shop have FINALLY opened; there is now the opportunity to indulge in a little retail therapy and buy a 'little something' from the All Hallows Hamlet for yourself or a loved one.

Can I Share the Information and the Images from the All Hallows Hamlet on My Website or Blog?
Of course! However, all we ask is that you will remember to fully and accurately credit the artist and her work. Thank you!

Sunday, 5 August 2018

So Final. So Over. The Death of an Icon.

Today August 5 commemorates the untimely death of Marilyn Monroe at the age of 36, an effervescent glamour puss and arguably the most famous female icon of all time.

My interest in Marilyn began as a teenager as I was waiting for a flight to Spain for having spent most of my holiday fund on the book by Fred Lawrence Guiles in an airport store and to the consternation of my family, I then spent the rest of the week with my head buried within the pages and I have been reading about her ever since!

Her mysterious death on Sunday August 5 1962 has only added to the myth and intrigue which surrounds her complex and fascinating life and with every passing year, the events of that hot and balmy August weekend in 1962 would appear to demand yet more theories and innuendo as the clamour for reasons to refute the official cause of death as 'Probable Suicide' remains undiminished.

Is it likely that we will ever know the truth of what happened to Marilyn Monroe?

And even if incontrovertible evidence were presented that she did indeed die by her own hand, would we believe it?

For is it possible to accept that a beautiful and talented woman took the conscious decision to end her life one lonely Saturday evening?

'I could see from many feet away that Marilyn was no longer living...'

 The answer is 'probably not' when one considers the demand for the books which are published in ever increasing numbers with each passing year and which all purport to tell us 'The Final Truth'.

Whether it was the tragic 1997 car accident of a Princess who perished for failing to wear a seat belt or the jealous rage of a successful and affable O.J. Simpson leading him to butcher two innocent people on a June evening in 1994; or indeed the probable suicide of the most famous film star of all time; it could be argued that the most logical explanation would appear to be the most absurd.

However; conspiracy theories, motives and explanations aside, all we can know for certain is that the nude body of Marilyn Monroe was discovered in a partially decorated bedroom of her home in Westwood in Los Angeles 56 years ago on this day.

'There she was, laying face down on the bed, bare shoulders exposed...'

For it was the idea of this 'death scene' which captured my imagination for the design of one of my more controversial pieces and as Marilyn had died in the house she had bought only months before with a tiled doorstep bearing the Latin inscription for 'My journey is completed', 'Cursum Perficio' is the recreation of the demise of this icon in 12th scale and inspired by the photographic images and published material available to me.

'And as I got closer, I could see the phone clutched fiercely in her hand..'

The 'Marilyn' figure is the creation of Jain from the Giddy Kipper and although she is internationally known for her 'whimsical' characters in miniature - several of which have now moved in with the other fantastical folk over at the All Hallows Hamlet; Jain would probably be the first to argue that a 'deceased' Marilyn Monroe was very far from the definition of a whimsical character!

‘I suppose she was trying to make a phone call before she was overwhelmed. It was just so unbelievable, so simple and final and over.’ Ralph Greenson

However, having accepted my commission with some bemusement, Jain has created a shockingly poignant figure of some grace and contention which is entirely in keeping with the maelstrom of conspiracy which continues to swirl around the death of this lady, even after all of these years.

Sources Used:
Goddess The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe Anthony Summers (UK: Indigo 1985)

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Flaming June! Where Have You Gone To?

It only seems like a week ago to the beginning of last month when I had spent the morning looking at some images of two brides who had both married on the first day of June some years apart and my memories of being surrounded by buckets of glorious sunflowers, fragrant roses and lush foliage as I grappled with scissors, silver wire and the clock!

And although June may have left us for another year, she has been kind enough to leave some glorious weather; although as I was sprinkling the lawn with water earlier today for the Girls to enjoy some grubbing around - I admit to feeling somewhat nostalgic for the occasional rainfall.

Alas, with no rain in sight let's get on with my June Mash-Up!

The Studio:

With the final final dry-build for Nicole's House finally completed - I've been moving sofas and arranging dining room chairs as I plan the logistics of the kitchen design and the creation of a sunken living room.

Having made so many mistakes in the past with rushed constructions, unsatisfactory room plans and abysmal lighting conditions - I've learnt to keep my hands off a dry-build and to simply leave it be until I can imagine myself moving from room to room knowing that every window, fireplace, door and piece of furniture is in the right place.

It was only as I looked at what I thought was the final dry-build did I see the need to lower the roof pitch and that I could also squeeze in another full length window! 

As more images of Nicole's House can been seen on the Brentwood Ghost Blog - there are further exclusives to feast over.

AND having donned my Crooked Hen apron - I have also been experimenting with wire, tape and Mod-Roc to create some trees!

As they will be eventually find themselves among the weird and wonderful in the All Hallows Hamlet - these won't be any kind of ordinary tree!

And by the time I'd finished plastering these strange little trees, I also looked very far from ordinary - with a face of fetching white freckles and those ghost-like hands.

You can catch the big 'Reveal' with a free flight over to the world of the Crooked Hen!

Ancestor Sleuthing and Grave Hunting:

As you can usually find me in the genealogy office at York Cemetery on a Friday, I've been busy ancestor sleuthing for our visitors and grave hunting all manner of interesting folk for my two guided tours in July and August.

The 'Walk on the Art Side' in July will celebrate the lives and legacies of the writers, artist, sculptors and other creatives from whom York Cemetery is their final home and in August I will be leading an evening walk of 'Foul Deeds and Suspicious Deaths' around the graves of those who met with an unusual end - and given my penchant for storytelling, there should be a surprise or two along the way!

The Other Stuff:

With the demands of my work and the responsibilities as a full-time care giver; I tend not to stray too far from home these days but with a 'day pass' and on the sweltering hot afternoon of the last day of June I took the train to Leeds for the opening party of the 5th annual exhibition of Sketch That - a collection of work by a group of West Yorkshire artists:

Elizabeth Nast, Helen Dryden, Kat Archibald, Letty McHugh, Louise GarrettPixiebiscuit and Rejectamental.

As I champion Helen on social media, it was an nice opportunity to finally meet up and I treated myself to her delightful 'Lettuce on a Chair' who will be coming home with me when the exhibition comes to an end later next month.

If you should find yourself in Leeds before August 13, why not go along to the Ridge Room of the Heart Enterprise and Art Centre in Headingley and meet 'Lettuce' for yourself?

And as I made my way home I couldn't resist popping into the Leeds Samaritans shop and came away with some fabulous steam-punk inspired necklaces perfect for the 'Small Folk' and all for the bargain price of £1.50 as grumpily modelled by Ted!

Family, Feline and Poultry...

As some of you have left me kind messages having been confused by past references to 'my boys' - you can see in this collage of images that they are now both anything but!

For despite the challenges that my life continues to delight and infuriate me with, knowing that they are both seizing life by the collar and are loved by two fabulous girls - well, that's enough for me right now.

And it never ceases to amaze me when I discover the felines enjoying a cat-nap in the most unlikeliest places but perched on top of a Papier Mâché model was a new one for me!

As we're basking in a July heatwave, it's just as well that it seems so wrong to be working on this model for the All Hallows Eve tale now that I have a problem with a squatter of the feline variety!

He certainly looks like he's 'Living in Clover' on his bed of Papier Mâché doesn't he? And if your imaginary inhabitants are in need of a little of that Leprechaun magick,with a pinch of 'Heather' and a pinch of shredded paper money suspended in resin - there is still a vial or two available for sale in the Crooked Hen Gift Shop!

My Bookshelf:

Blessed Are The Weird - Jacob Nordby (Someone who sees the world in the same crazy way as me!)
A Very Private Woman - Nina Burleigh (An interesting biography of a very intriguing artist)
Frances Burney Journals and Letters - Penguin Classics (A fabulous and authentic letter writer and novelist who actually lived through the the glorious 18th century)
The Art of Asking - Amanda Palmer (Crowdfunding pioneer, musician and inspirational!)  
The Georgetown Ladies' Social Club - C. David Heymann (An eavesdrop among the movers and shakers of the Washington elite)
Finding Sarah - Sarah Fergson (A poignant memoir from one of the most colourful members of the British Royal Family!
Domestic Management. With Instructions to Servants in General - Multiple Contributors (I can dream, can't I? Or else I can use this lovely tome for the research of my Lord B house...)

My Playlist:

My favourites for June have been: London Grammar, Tom WalkerEnigma, The Sherlocks, Ben Howard and Taylor Swift.

Must keep that last one quiet from my sons!

May YOUR July be all that you wish!