Sunday 8 September 2019

To the Lighthouse - by Julie Ann

Hello Everyone! It's lovely to be back as we move into Autumn! My post might not at first strike you as Autumn themed and yet I think it has something of the mood of the season about it.

Looking back to the memories of spring and summer and thinking about the coming winter reminds me of Virginia's Woolf novel 'To the Lighthouse' where the restless sea; the unattainable lighthouse and the passage of time are all significant. I first read this novel when I was a teenager and I've always loved its haunting poetic prose and beautiful word pictures. When I saw the Calico plain lighthouse, I just knew I had to create an 'homage' to one of my favourite twentieth century novels.

Calico have a beautiful large lighthouse with some fabulous detail, but I went for the smaller, plainer model, so that I could adapt it to my particular theme. You can discover detailed instructions for constructing the Calico Lighthouses here.

You might prefer to paint your lighthouse pieces before assembling them and sticking with wood glue, but I assembled mine first. As you can see, I applied black gesso to begin with, as I wanted it to show through the top paint layer, creating a distressed, aged look to my project.

The idea that was forming in my mind was of the cycle of time. As we turn the lighthouse around and see its different facets we see the older Virginia Woolf looking back at her younger self. I reduced scans of portraits I had done of Virginia Woolf at different ages and then placed one of these on an acrylic painted background.

The younger Virginia sits on a little piece of driftwood with a seagull fascinated by her contemplation.

I used a Crackle Glaze,spreading it over my black gesso base and allowing it to dry before applying thick, single strokes of blue acrylic paint.

It was fun selecting details from my supply of Calico Craft Parts to make this lighthouse unique. I tried to evoke the decorative style of Charleston, Virginia's sister, Vanessa Bell's country home on the weathered door. The lighthouse keeper's improbably sized catch hangs above the door - the ocean around these parts has an incredibly rich harvest!

Scraps of moss and muslin blend with Calico Craft Parts to create the feel of Nature lapping in tides against the lighthouse.

This script stamp in the frame of the window reminded me of Virginia Woolf's manuscript that would,of course, have originally been hand written. Rusting powder and glass bead gell created the impression of the salt encrusted and rusting structure of the lighthouse, battered by time and tides.

Thank you so much for stopping off at the lighthouse today. I wonder if Calico has a 3D kit that reminds you of a much loved novel or short story? There are so many kits just waiting for you to add a sprinkle of imagination. Have a lovely, creative time until we meet again.

Calico Craft Parts used in this Project
Small plain Lighthouse kit
Arched door with window pane
Word Elements Blank
Cladhyhymenia Iyallii Seaweed Shape
Wood Dace Fish Shape
Sheet of Mini Nautical Motifs
Sheet of Mini MDF Seagulls
Sheet of Mini Hinges
Sheet of Mini Windows
Framed Window


  1. Another lovely lighthouse project! Love the melancholy feel, Julie Ann!

    Claudia x

  2. Oh me too, me too! To the Lighthouse was formative reading as an A'level text for me. I love your "Virginian" lighthouse creation - beautiful portraits of one of my favourite writers, and a beautifully melancholy weathered lighthouse. I'm definitely going to have to get a lighthouse to play with after seeing this and Kerstin's project recently...
    Alison x

    1. Oh, I do hope you get a lighthouse and enjoy playing with it, Alison. They are really fun to make your own! xx

  3. Gorgeous Julie, love your connection between the written word and your design, I don't know the book, but you captured this melancholic autumn mood very well. Kerstin xx

    1. Many thanks, Kerstin, for your lovely comment. xx

  4. Replies
    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comment. Xx

  5. Oh yes, I loved that novel too and you have captured Virginia so beautifully in your portraiture. As for your lighthouse, it is stunning Julie, the rusty elements are incredible and so is the rustic paintwork. Love this! Anne xx