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heights arts Blog

Linda Mayer

Several years ago I was designing a unit for my high school students based on shadowbox assemblages. I began with Joseph Cornell and before I knew it I had discovered the centuries old tradition of miniatures. I was captivated by room boxes, dioramas, 19th century toy theaters, cabinets of curiosities, paper peep shows and Dutch perspective boxes. Somewhere between these influences my theater box assemblages emerged.  

Each theater box is custom-made from new, found and salvaged materials. I assemble most components and props from scratch using materials that would have been used for centuries, i.e. glass, wood, metal, paper, ceramic. Most materials (old barn wood, picture frame molding, vintage book pages, jewelry findings, watch parts, seashells) have had a previous life before inhabiting my little theaters. 

 If you look closely you might see an antique drawer pull serving as a window cornice. Vintage jewelry findings might now grace a tiny glass vessel sitting on a shelf. Discarded pocket watch parts corroded with age occupy pride of place as mysterious scientific instruments. Ancient stacks of tiny books, maps and folios are painstakingly assembled using pages from old books and other ephemera. Strategically place LED lights breathe life, drama and magic into each fantastic little world. As you view the work I hope it will spark a bit of fantasy. Imagine the performance that is about to take place, invent the narrative and compose the music filling each curious little theater. 

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