Hello! I do hope some winter sunshine has been shining through your windows wherever you live. Earlier in January I resolved to research my father's family who settled in London from Poland in around 1891. This week researching into the little street in Mile End, Old Town where my grandfather, Judah and his wife, Annie started their family led me to create something using Calico Craft Parts: a box that contains some of the secrets of a lost street.
I took one of the MDF Victorian Round Boxes and had a play with the pieces, along with some tiny windows and doors.
Because Gardom Street, where my grandparents lodged, no longer exists, I was going to have to use my imagination to create the tiny terrace of houses that was their new world.
I started with a 'dry run', assembling the box without any glue and fixing doors and windows temporarily with glue dots.
Once the box was in pieces again, I could decorate each of the mini panels to suggest a separate dwelling. I played with different textures, applying texture paste through stencils, using crackle and ageing the edges with archival ink.
As I worked, ideas came. I decided to feature the one house that stood out for me - Number 7 - where my father was born. One of the mini block Calico house kits was perfect for this. My dream would be to have photos of my ancestors, but for now I imagined Annie looking into the future and inviting me into her present. All I have left of Gardom Street is a name on an old map of London's East End, so I used scraps of map paper as part of Annie's collage.
When we turn the box around, there is Annie's first child, my father, Samuel representing the future in England, which you can see on the tiny map. I painted the lid and surround with acrylic paint and stamped with this 'mini' stamp. The sentiment reads 'Imagination rules the World'. When we look into the past there are so many gaps to fill in with our imagination - plus there is something of a rule and tape measure theme in the piece, as my paternal grandfather, Judah was a tailor.
I covered the backs of tiny Scrabble pieces with map paper and playing card illustrations to convey the idea of travel and chance in my forebears' lives. I used the tiny MDF hinges and catches, but I replaced them in places with copper wire.
Here you can see the copper wire threaded through the hinges at the back and the map paper sides of the miniature house. I used tape with a ruler design along the tops and bottoms of the house panels.
How I wish I could step into Number 7 and meet the family! I used just a touch of gilding paste to highlight texture on the houses.
A bird's eye view: I wonder if Annie fed the little cockney sparrows that visited her window sill?
Thank You for peeping into the past with me and to Calico Craft Parts for helping me to make my dreams and imaginings into something 3D! Whatever your quests and dreams today and in the following weeks may they bring you joy and fulfilment.
Calico Craft Parts Used in this Project
MDF Victorian Round Box with plain edges
Sheet of tiny windows and doors
Mini Block Style House Kit
MDF Engraved Scrabble tiles