“Canopy bed” was the first thing to pop into my head when The National Building Museum invited me to create a Dream Room – that is, a tree canopy bed. The Dream Rooms, created by two dozen American artists and architects, accompanied the “Small Stories” exhibition of historic dollhouses from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
Perhaps not surprising, as trees are my favorite subject, whether a forest landscape art quilt, or a teapot set of birch trees constructed entirely of thread. As a fiber artist, I had plenty of materials right at hand in my stash, and experience in making three-dimensional objects. My signature style of “thread sculpture” worked well for the tree-stump chair and potted plants.
The room evolved into a combination bedroom/playroom of a preteen who likes to draw. The world starts to open up at that age, and children begin to dream about their future – anything is possible. But awareness of bad events comes too. In addition to childhood fears of scary things in the closet and under the bed, there are fledgeling fears of real dangers, represented by the tornado, flying saucer, and mushroom cloud. No wonder she has the covers pulled over her head.
Though this is intended to be the bedroom of any child, it became somewhat autobiographical. Astronomy has been a hobby since grade school (ceiling); The Lord of the Rings books remain favorites since 7th grade (on the dresser and nightstand); I worked professionally as a cartographer and married another cartographer (globe on the dresser); my son’s drawings are included (reduced versions on desk and closet door); some of my daughter’s artwork publications are also on the desk (she is a professional artist, and she and her boyfriend have a page in the Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream book, cover courtesy Locust Moon Press). If you don’t know why Little Nemo is so fitting for this Dream Room, please look him up. The frightened rocking horse was made by her boyfriend, Jonathan Tune, a graphic novel/comics/animation artist.
This room honors my grandfather George Duprey, who was a paper mill worker, and an inventive carpenter in retirement. He made two wonderful dollhouses for my sisters and myself. I never cared much for dolls, but the miniature worlds of those dollhouses was endlessly fascinating.