I was invited to participate in a diorama project called The Yonder Cabinet by Kelley Bell and Melissa Penley Cormier, where “a card catalog reimagined as a collection of artists’ interpretations of their favorite literary places.” I received a box which can fit inside a retired library card catalog.
I had a hard time choosing what illustrate. Wandering through my favorite books, I came up with several great diorama scene candidates.
- Jack Audrey and Stephen Maturin playing music in Jack’s cabin of the HMS Surprise, from one of Patrick O’Brian’s novels
- The five horsemen in Terry Pratchett’s The Thief of Time, riding out against the auditors.
- Miniature War on his horse in his back yard, surveying a battle of ants, while Death looks on. Also from The Thief of Time
- Martin Chatwin as the Beast in Lev Grossman’s The Magicians
- Fat Charlie talking to the Bird Woman in Anansi Boys
- A scene from The Sandman
Hopefully you get the idea.
I chose a passage from Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. I love this book, and Clarke’s approach to magic.
In this part of the story, Mr. Strange walks into a mirror, and travels on the King’s Road to a woman’s sitting room. This road belonged to John Uskglass, also known as the Black King, the King of the North, and most commonly, the Raven King. He was the ruler of Northern England for over 300 years and is accredited with bringing magic to England.
I made this diorama from memory, as I couldn’t place my hands on my old copy of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. I mistakenly remembered the Mirror being over the fireplace. I only realized the error after it wad complete.
I enjoyed making this very much. I believe the final catalog will be on view at Maryland Art Place.