Monday 29 February 2016

Doll Exhibition - Printer's Tray by Alison

Hello all, it's Alison here again from Words and Pictures - and though I'm far away from the UK as you read this, I've a very English Rose to share with you today.  I've used one of the Printers Tray Kits (open without any sections, though there are kits with compartments too) to create a small vignette, and since you can now add an easel support if you choose to, it will stand up beautifully on a shelf too, without having to be propped up.

It seems I was on a bit of a floral kick before I set off on my travels (so glad you liked my extravaganza of a card last time out).  But rather than all those opulent flowers, this piece has a more restrained tea-party-in-the-garden look.  It does have hidden depths though, so watch out.  I blame the Frozen Charlottes - you have to keep your wits about you when there are scary dolls around!

I started by lining my as-yet-unassembled Printers Tray Kit Style 4 with some vintage papers with additional text stamping, and then added DecoArt Crackle Paint through a stencil.

When that had crackled nicely, I glued the whole thing together and added some paint shading to give it more depth.

Then I started putting things in place.  If you look closely at this one, you can see where I discovered I could use the zigzag waste from pressing out the printer's tray as the frame around the photo.

As often happens once a photo is in play, my mind took one of its fanciful turns.  I'm afraid our young lady is on show - Exhibit A - the prize for the highest bidder so that her father can climb the slippery pole of social popularity.

Her stiffened pose echoes the frozen stillness of the broken dolls.  Her childhood will soon be lost and forgotten - she is a doll to be passed from owner to owner.

And yet the roses still bloom and the music still plays...

... though that music is trapped in the glass bubble of having to perform to perfection to impress the various suitors, and the roses are trained (that is to say, cut) to climb their trellises in precise formation.

This young lady will never have the freedom to grow and travel in any direction she chooses, as these vines are threatening to do.

(These are cuttings taken from the Ivy Leaf Corner - one of many Corner Wood Shapes designs - painted with various shades of green over a gesso base.)

Her future is already planned, pruned and perfect in the eyes of her parents.  She is governed and confined.  (Here's a closer look at that "waste" frame around the photo, given a rough touch of paint and gilding wax.)

I'm guessing there will come a time when this English Rose begins to show her thorns.  But for now she is caught in the imposing dark wood frame (simple to create on the MDF surface - some Raw Umber paint and ink-stamped woodgrain).

It may be decorative - these Deco Vine Corners are ornate and fanciful, like her dreams - but it is a frame which contains her as effectively as any prison bars.

Perhaps like those twining tendrils she will wind her way to an escape somehow, some day.

It seems wrong to us now that such a vital young girl should be trapped forever as a trophy, an ornament to her husband, with no real life of her own.

I think that's quite enough of that, don't you?!  Of course if you're creating a vignette it can be whatever you like.  It could be a wonderful display case for your own personal family photos, a great gift for special birthdays or weddings or anniversaries... an altogether more celebratory affair!

As I mentioned you can now get a stand to go with your Printer's Tray.  I've altered this one with paint and stamping to match the wooden look of the outside of my vignette tray, and I glued it at a tight angle to support the narrow upright position of the frame.

So with her splendid display stand, I hope like those flowers she will blossom and bloom, and then use those thorns to forge her own way out of the formal gardens and into the wild meadows beyond.  The fresh greens and gentle blush of the roses seem to say she has youth and energy enough for the struggles ahead.

If you're inspired to create a vignette of your own, then you can click any of the links in the text to go direct to each product, or just head over to Calico Craft Parts and browse through their fabulous range of designs and kits.  Have fun!

Alison x
Words and Pictures


  1. Wow, great demonstration of these lovely products! As always, your composition is fabulous, in design, depth, and color.... amazing! I am very taken with your backstory....and will leave more comments on your own blog about that. But here will say thank you for probing uncomfortable subjects through your art - so important.

  2. wow, what a fabulous piece - I hope the young lady isn't too trapped by her future life and does manage to enjoy life a little... have a great rest of your trip, Alison!

  3. What an extraordinary and exquisite vignette, Alison! I was captivated by the story of this young lady trapped by the conventions of her place and time. You have brought her story, which was no doubt that of so many young women, so cleverly to life with the Calico pieces. I love the symbolism and the sad beauty of the piece. The Frozen Charlottes are perfect to convey so many things - a frozen moment in time;broken dreams; loss of childhood; the role of women as adornment, plaything and possession. This young woman looks full of life, though, I believe she may well have eventually fled the Dolls' House! :) x

  4. This is beautiful! I love how you used the waste to frame her.

  5. Oh, Alison, it is just fabulous and I cannot wait to see items including my collection of bits and bob when I finally get round to sending them. It is just still too cold for me to start my clear out of the boxes in my studio, garage and shed.
    you really set the mind wandering as you weave an interesting and intriguing story around the scene within your art. It makes me realise just how lucky we are to have so much freedom in our lives.
    Jo x

  6. I love how you seamlessly interweave the description of how you create your vignette with the story behind the image. A beautiful piece. xx

  7. Let us take a delightful journey in Alison's mind. It is always a wonderful occasion when you can live in your own creation. This creation is as perfect as it can be - so beautifully created and made. Every little jot and tittle has a role to play. Fabulous!!
    sandy xx

  8. Alison! This is truly the most exquisite project! What a wonder to behold! Love every single detail. Hugs, Autumn

  9. Stunningly gorgeous,I always love those little fractured dolls too
    Donna xxx

  10. Oh such a sad story for such a beautiful young lady.... A stunning piece of work though Alison! Anne xx

  11. Stunning and gorgeous vintage project Alison, love it big time!

  12. An amazing project and a wonderful story! Chrisx

  13. Love the backstory to this. I felt the zigzag frame around the photo was a zipper, she was all zipped up into place, into perfection. Also zigzags can look nice but you can get cut on those edges.

  14. Hi Alison, what a poignant vignette! Like Julie Ann, I feel that her spirit will have enabled her to free herself from her life of restraint! Fantastic composition and textures interwoven to reveal a wonderful story! X

  15. Marvellous, Alison, in every single detail! Still ... the future husband could be a nice guy or die soon ;-)

  16. Amazing creativity Alison, love every detail and the wonderful if sad story behind your creation. Thanks so much for sharing it, Deb xo

  17. What a terrific and sadly likely tale Alison. I wish this young woman chance of escape at very first opportunity! Those charities are spooky little things alright! Beautiful project. Hope you have time outside of work duties to explore and meet and finds lots of inspiration to fuel your fantastic creative genius. Nicola x

  18. Alison,
    I just love this! You use the Calico pieces so masterfully! Truly I gain so much inspiration from you!!

  19. An amazing and very lovely artwork. Your decoration around this nice youg lady looks very romantic. You gave her a wonderful place to stay. Your making off and the little story about that little girl is very impressing. Great! I love it.
    Dear Greetings

  20. Dawesome art. Great way to use these lovely elements. It will for sure be a gorgeous piece of art to display in your home.
    Thank you so much for sharing your lovely art. ...I always feel very inspired after visiting your blog.
    Hugs from Monica... Spain

  21. So beautiful and such an enchanting tale,

    Lucy x

  22. It is a stunning project Alison, and I could never get enough of your wonderful stories, ...this one is fantastic, and I can well imagine this unloving fate, for the young child standing here, seen from outside in a beautiful place ,with nothing spared to make her attractive . You created a gorgeous tale, which many from years back, have lived, and surely many still does !!! Just Amazing is your tray !! Hugs, Dorthe

  23. Very beautiful, and I love the story as I went along - how imaginative, it brought the girl - so clever and magical! The Calico Craft pieces are delightful and I love the spring colour scheme. Just gorgeous!

  24. What a fabulous project and printer tray, I fell in love with it... wow!!!
    The Calico pieces are a delight featured like that!
    Coco x