A Ganglion Gone Awry
A confession is a statement – made by a person acknowledging some personal fact that the person would ostensibly prefer to keep hidden. The term presumes that the speaker is providing information that he believes the other party is not already aware of, and is frequently associated with an admission of a moral or legal wrong.
Note: There is a part two that belongs to this scene. I will be finished making it by December 2020.
When visiting Leuven, Belgium, in 2019, I was guided around a little village by my friends Bart, Sofie and Frederic. We made a stop at this very old church, in which there was the most beautiful Confessional. I got the idea for a miniature Confessional scene.
I was able to take good reference photos of it, using my friends as models, posing the way I’d want the mice to pose, and used those images as a guideline when starting to create the scene.
I looked at a lot of beautiful old paintings to study clothes, poses and expressions. There is a lot of intensity and emotions in these artworks, something that inspired me a lot when making the characters. In particular the sinner.
I have used vintage wooden boxes for my dioramas up until now.
This time I wanted something special. Something that could add a sacral touch to the finished piece, something that would bring your mind to a church.
It took me quite a while to find something perfect.
When an old relative died, I inherited this lovely little chest, in which she used to keep designs and pattern for clothes. Turned out it was exactly what I needed.
The chest even has an option for a second part (because of the big lid).
This part 2 is in progress, and it will be ready by the end of 2020.
Building the inside
I started out with builing the wooden plateu, then I arranged the stones (leftovers from the stones I collected for the basement diorama), in a suiting pattern around it, attaching them with a small-grained acrylic paste. I wanted a floor for this church that looked very old, very used, but clean and serene, so I polished the stones to give them a nice shine.
The walls are actually wood, painted and stained to look like marble stones.
I usually make a rough sketch before staring to work.
I use some building-blocks to get an idea of measurements and construction.
This time used some stand ins in the prep-work.
I borrowed two characters (The maid from “I Think Everything Is Gonna Be Ok”, and the house-servant from “If You Could See Me Now”, to give me a more clear idea of the scene.
I always sculpt the mice using Supersculpey, a very fine polymer clay which allows you to make very detailed sculptures. The whiskers for both characters in A Ganglion Gone Awry, are all from my cat. He looses the every now and then.
I use various kind of acrylic paint, many many layers, to get a fur-like finish.
The fabric for her skirt was very important. I knew exactly what kind of colour and silky yet faded look I wanted, and after testing many different ones I found the perfect one among the fabric sample catalogues I got from Owing Møbeltapetserer in Oslo.
I owe a big thanks to Anne Owing, an upholsterer who has been very helpful, throwing large amount of unique fabric samples at me.
I decided to use bordeaux coloured eyes for the Priest. Give him a little touch of evil…
One of the images I used as inspiration for the priest.
Since I am a costume designer by profession, this is one of my favorite things. Researching historical clothes, and selecting the perfect fabrics for a miniature version..
The construction and building of the Confessional was by far the hardest and most time consuming part of this diorama.
To carve the decoration on the wood, I used a corded Dremel, combined with sculpting tiny rats heads that I painted and attached.
The secret in the attic
I built an almost invisible door at the top of The Confessional.
The idea was to have an empty space, a little room where a future owner of this diorama could hide something special.
However, I couldn’t resisit the idea of adding a sad, dark twist to the scene.
So I sculpted this little one, that someone, for some reason, hid up there a long time ago.
The teeth used to belong to my friends’ cat, she needed to have a few removed, and generously donated them to me. Thank you, Dyveke!
After painting and staining the tiny body, I put her on a little cushion, made from my grandmas’ pillowcase, washed so many times it was almost transparent, having the same kind of look as I tried to give the mouse.
To demonstrate how all things may be useful when making miniatures… I have saved this keychain for maybe 20-30 years. Some time, on a trip somewhere, I have stayed in cabin #100 and run off with the key.
Now it has been turned into a stool for the priest.
Behind the scenes