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Art Show: Alice in Wonderland

Alice's Misadentures in the Wrong Wonderland - a peekaboo Shadow Box

by Shawn Marie Hardy

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Art: Alice's Misadentures in the Wrong Wonderland - a peekaboo Shadow Box by Artist Shawn Marie Hardy
The official title of this piece is "Alice's Misadventure's in the Wrong Wonderland Thanks to Her Faulty Looking Glass." Alice took a wrong turn. Her Looking glass has gone a bit wonky and she ended up here, at this awesome surreal winter wonderland, but she's freaking out because it isn't where she wants to be. Alice knows how to handle herself in some pretty tight situations, and Lord knows she's been through a lot, but a girl can only take so much. The worst part is, she drank from a green Coca Cola bottle and the caffeine only made things worse.

There are plenty of Alice in Wonderland references here. There's a rabbit with a ball and chain on his foot. There is a clock attached to the ball and chain - we all know how compulsive he is about keeping time. Well now, time keeps him. Then there's the Queen of Hearts, only this isn't just ANY Queen of Hearts. This is the Queen of Hearts recorded by Juice Newton in 1981. Wow, Alice isn't just in the wrong place, she's in the wrong time. There's also an egg on the back wall that hasn't quite been Humpty Dumpyfied. It's still waiting to grow arms and legs.

The mushrooms were made from poly clay and painted in Alice in Wonderland fashion. The caterpillar smoked all his hooka and turned into a beautiful butterfly. The Cheshire cat has been replaced by a black panther. My, how things change.

One of the things I really love about this piece is that I got to incorporate the vintage sign from the now demolished Wonderland Mall. I was in Livonia Michigan a couple years ago and knew it would be coming down so I took a picture of it. I loved that mall as a kid, and now it will always be a part of this assemblage.

Now, a bit about how this came to be. I haven't worked in almost two years and have lacked in inspiration lately. But when I saw there was an Alice in Wonderland exhibition I jumped for joy. Who better to stimulate the imagination than Alice?

I set out on a little adventure through all my saved found objects and began to build immediately. The ideas just spewed forth like I was possessed by Alice herself. And the final result is what I call a Peekaboo Shadow Box. The box part has a square window on top that contains a piece of blue cellophane. Under a light source, you can open the door of this little dwelling and peek in. The blue cellophane makes the scene look very surreal, and even a bit scary. Now you can understand why Alice is having a rough time here.

I started with this hideous attempt at a Kleenex box that I picked up at a thrift store. It was dark green and I made it a bit more festive with turquoise paint and vintage flowery trim. I made the door from the book cover of a vintage book that I trimmed nicely and hinged with flowers. There is a rusty key hanging from the door and a vintage pearly earring. I made the closure using a toggle clasp and more trim. There is also a metal lock on one part of the clasp. I used a gold tone Christmas ornament as the foliage on the door and a vintage butterfly brooch to adorn it. I decoupaged a rainforest scene from an old book on the front of the dwelling.

Inside, the looking glass is in the doorway. The snow was made using Golden sculpting gel, which was allowed to dry, then finished with Golden acrylic paint. I used vintage glitter (the kind that was made from real glass) to make it shimmery. I also used other shiny bits to look like stones.

The skiers came from a board game and the Christmas tree was a pewter wine topper that I adorned with sparkly things. The wonderland sign, Juice Newton record, rabbit, and Alice are all made from card stock. The Coca Cola bottle was a doll toy and I used gold glitter glue as the stuff pouring out. The egg is just a little plastic bird egg.

The box was a gift box containing a teapot that I got for Christmas. I couldn't believe how it fit perfectly in width and after a little trimming and gluing, I made it fit perfectly in length too. Everything seemed to go together perfectly.

I made Alice as a paper doll so she can be placed all around the piece, inside or outside.

My daughter says this is the best piece I have ever done. I'm quite happy with it myself.

Unfortunately, there just isn't enough room here to show a lot of the little details that really make this piece what it is. I took dozens of great shots but had to choose the ones where the most detail could be seen. I chose not to include a picture with the cover on because it doesn't show up well from the front and I needed the space to show more detail inside. The cover is on in one of the detail images though.

If you want to see more images of this piece, please go to http://www.flickr.com/photos/92124679@N00/


Detail Images


Detail Image for art Alice's Misadentures in the Wrong Wonderland - a peekaboo Shadow Box

Inside The Wrong Wonderland

Detail Image for art Alice's Misadentures in the Wrong Wonderland - a peekaboo Shadow Box

Another view inside the Wrong Wonderland

Detail Image for art Alice's Misadentures in the Wrong Wonderland - a peekaboo Shadow Box

Inside the box with the top on and light showing through the cellophane

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