I've done several versions of this theme, from outside and inside the window. This first one is based on one of my favorite places, Castle Acre Priory, in Norfolk, UK. Further down, some give a nod to Greece, Copenhagen, and New York City. The back wall is often a page from As You Like It.
Because these are essentially assemblages of individual dioramas, they can grow a lot bigger.
The Stream of Time
These are so hard to photograph. A translucent back gives each piece a different look depending on the time of day or placement of lighting.
I love the look, feel, and history of old ephemera. Geography textbooks, illustrated children's books, these are some of my favorites.
Why Duck? Naturally, in a 1930s box of puzzles, that was the only one missing a piece, which stumped me for a while.
Characteristic Forest Trees
Distribution of Rain
Aspects of Nature in Different Latitudes
The League of Health and Beauty (triptych)
The Secret House
The League of Health and Beauty (diptych)
The Homeowner’s Handbook
Vertical Distribution of Plants in Various Latitudes
The Poor Laborer
These shadowboxes within book-shaped boxes include pages from The CONDUCT of LIFE, a collection of essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson, published in 1860. Emerson's chapters, and my Travelogues, are variously entitled Fate, Power, Wealth, Beauty, Culture, Behaviour, and Religion. The background panels are made of vintage postcards.
(Wood, paper, pvc, resin birds and books)
This is a diorama I made for the Rachel Carson Homestead. The writer, scientist, and godmother of the environmental movement grew up just outside of Pittsburgh, and fans and followers make pilgrimages to see the house she grew up in. The first thing they want to see is the bedroom window Rachel looked out from, to get a glimpse of the view that helped shape her ideas about the natural world and man's effect upon it. That view has changed of course; a hillside of suburban houses, and no longer an orchard stretching down to the Allegheny River, but I've tried to imagine what it might have looked like to her.
I've made other window pieces with a similar skylight. A little toplight make these some of the best theaters, with a remarkable illusion of depth.
True Love (open)
True Love (closed)
Sway (Quien Sera)
A Pair of Bookends
I've wanted to use these birds for years, and in 2017 a penguin project for the National Aviary gave me a push.
When I was working at an invention company and learning CAD drawing, I wanted to see if I could design an Aviary entirely on computer (couldn't avoid starting, however, with my usual sketch on the back of an envelope). The inspiration for these is from 1930s bad science-fiction movie serials. A green glass skylight adds to the atmosphere.
Birds On a Wire and Orioles at the Shore always have hand-painted landscape backgrounds. Sometimes simpler is better.
This piece had the longest gestation of any of my Aviaries. I keep boxes of interesting bits in my workshop, hoping that someday inspiration will come to me. These plaster columns and lintels are the remains of a large sculpture I made circa 1984, with design details swiped from the great temple at Karnak, in Egypt. The background is a hand-made print entitled The Garden of Eden, by my late mother-in-law, surrealist artist Janet Krieger.
A commission got me started on a couple of pieces using existing boxes, which already define a space and suggest the direction they want to go.
Time Slips Away (1938)
These were some of the very first Aviaries I made; a world viewed through a keyhole being an early theme. There have been others, but here are Pear Amour and Pomme d'Amour.