Studio Babette, Dundurn Castle, and me

Got my first little bite of the Hamilton art scene this week, as I stumbled joyously into making some props for a local puppet theatre company, Studio Babette. Just a quick volunteer gig for now, but what a lot of fun! The show, Young Sophia, is based on the diary of Sophia MacNab, who was the daughter of Sir Allan Napier MacNab. MacNab was one of Canada’s first premiers and the original owner of Dundurn Castle, which is now a National Historic site. Young Sophia is being presented on September 26th at Dundurn Castle as part of their Straight from the Garden event.

The props I made — scenes, really, I’m not sure what the proper word for them would be — are two panels that will hang behind the table top stage where the puppeteers perform. They’re decorated on both sides; one side representing the garden fence outside the castle, and the other side representing scenes inside the castle.

the actual garden fence

my garden fence

inside the castle

my 'inside' scenes, a painting and window

The painting is of Lady MacNab, Sophia’s mother. Here is the original that I tried to replicate:

The original painting of Lady MacNab

my Lady MacNab

Oh, I had so much fun! I love constructing props; it feels like such a synergistic and harmonious way for all my various skills to come together (and just what my burgeoning stash of strange, interesting, and beautiful materials and findings was meant for). It’s so freeing to mix media so indiscriminately, to just use whatever works to achieve the right look. They’re flat pieces, built up on and of cardboard – one of our moving boxes, actually!

I used construction paper, pastels, pencil crayons, felt pen, watercolour paint, acrylic paint, water-soluble oil paint, hot glue, glue stick, tape and I’m sure other things I’ve forgotten. What a blast. What a mess, ha!

Anyway, I think they turned out pretty great – fingers crossed that the puppet folks like them too, and that this might lead to some more (paid) work with Studio Babette or their friends.

Ta ta for now!

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6 Responses

  1. Amazing Anna! You sure do work quickly too! So amazing to see you, and really cool to see the finished product of your work. I hope the show goes great, and I know they’ll love your stuff.

    Much Love!

  2. wow your lady maclab is awesome! sounds like you’re getting settled 🙂

  3. Oh my god. This is so beautiful, I actually teared up a bit. The replica of the painting is especially amazing – the intersection between the old style and your own style is just gorgeous. I can’t wait to see this show!!!

  4. you’re lady maclab is way awesome-er than the original! it looks more alive to me. what a cool project for you…

  5. I am one of the puppeteers from Studio Babette, Marie( playing MacNAb and Kitty) and let me tell you, we came to the rehearsal and we were all stunned by the beauty of your work, Anna!! We were squeeling with joy and the set came alive, it looked like a real room witht he painting and the window, and the the fence. What needs to be said that when you look at all the details of your artistic work, there is so much to see, and it looks realistic and yet it is artistic, and the lightness of your hand, the choice of colours, the shading, the details of woodwork, the frame, all flowing toghether….we were so blessed to have found an artist like you, Anna! Very grateful and humbled by your work!!!

  6. There is one painting at Dundern castle that I really Really Love. it is on the walls of the rooms in the 1st floor I think.
    it was a pencil drawing of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation. it looked awesome!

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