The Blog of the LCSNA

Far-Flung Knight

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The Blog of the LCSNA

Christian Birmingham’s Wonderland

Christian Birmingham is a British artist who has illustrated some of the finest authors in children’s and adult literature. He has won the Whitbread (now Costa) Children’s Book of the Year, the Smarties Book Prize and the Red House Children’s Book Award, among many other honors. His lovely Wonderland has just been published through Books Illustrated, Ltd. You can view many of the illustrations here. The edition comes in four flavors:

(Note that postage to the U.S.A. starts at £80 [$98].)

Books Illustrated also carries a line of limited-edition painted bronze Wonderland statues by Rachel Talbot, and original art (both b&w and full color) from the book. Click here.

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Beyond the Fringe

Permafrost Theatre Collective, in partnership with The Chameleon Fools Theatre Troupe and in association with C venues, will be presenting a new Wonderland tale at the 2019 Edinburgh Fringe Festival August 14th – 26th. “In this bold reimagining, every actor in the all female/non-cis cast plays Alice at one point or other in the story. Built around repurposed passages from Lewis Carroll’s classic stories, Are You Alice: A New Wonderland Tale asks questions of identity, womanhood, and self-acceptance in a world which constantly redraws the lines and rewrites the rules.

“Iconic images such as The Jabberwock, The Mad Hatter’s Tea-Party, and The Queen of Hearts are brought to life using original music, dance, puppetry, and more in this multidisciplinary production [whose aim is] to create a universal ‘Alice’ for the 21st Century.” The trailer can be seen here.

If you’d like to help them get to the Fringe, they have a GoFundMe campaign.

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Gargantuan Alice Show at the V&A Next Year!

The show is happening in collaboration with The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) in Melbourne, which held an acclaimed exhibition called Wonderland last year. You can see a video about that one here. (And don’t forget their phenomenal catalog.)

The UK show, titled Alice in Wonderland, will run June 27, 2020 to January 10, 2021 at the Victoria & Albert Museum.

You may wish to start planning your trip now!

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Chasing Amy

Ohio artist Amy Kollar Anderson has produced a delightful series of paintings she calls “Wasp in a Wig.”

“Since I was young, I have loved the imagery found in fairy tales and enjoyed making up my own stories. Now I narrate with paint, creating character interactions combined with symbols and metaphors, and then adorned with layers of patterns, bold colors, and sometimes glitter. My stories are inspired by the surreal world of dreams, but embrace science and nature to create visions that refer to our world, but defy our known restraints. This is something Lewis Carroll and I have in common, our love of imaginative, and often absurd, storytelling. For this series, I combined elements from both of Lewis Carroll’s Alice books with new characters, and other personal references, to envision scenarios that explore environmental issues, social structures and identity.

“The title for this series is referring to the chapter written by Carroll called, ‘A Wasp in a Wig,’ which was omitted after the illustrator, John Tenniel, explained he could not see his way to a picture and it was an opportunity to condense the story. That wasp, as well as the other iconic Wonderland characters, symbols and metaphors, became the starting point for curious images that expand on the stories found in Wonderland, yet did not make it into the final manuscript.

“In this series, Alice is no longer an innocent child, but rather several grown women. In these multiple forms, Alice plays the role of female archetype, bringing with her the attributes imbued by Carroll, but modernized to represent various facets of the contemporary woman. Her form is a tribute to Tenniel, who drew her proportions with a larger head and smaller legs.

“The Cheshire Cat is the observer, the scientist, and the only character that truly spoke to Alice and explained how Wonderland works. He educates while battling against superstition and nonsense.”

You can visit the paintings here.

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A West African Wonderland

Mia Araujo (b. 1986) is a phenomenally talented artist and writer currently working on an illustrated YA/Adult novel adaptation of Alice in Wonderland. “My retelling of this classic story takes place in a fantastical West African setting, and is the story of two sisters who both see the White Rabbit. One chooses to follow, and the other stays behind.”

Graduated as valedictorian from Otis College of Art and Design, with a BFA in Illustration and a minor in Creative Writing, she has shown her work in prominent galleries across the U.S. and around the world, and has been published in such magazines as Hi-Fructose, Juxtapoz, and Spectrum. (The fact that she came to our attention through Iain McCaig should speak to the depth of her talent.)

Some of her Alice drawings and paintings can be seen here. As with many young artists, she is looking to crowd-sourcing to help her on her journey to a West African Wonderland, and is using Patreon to do so.

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Savile Clarke Productions

Mark and Catherine Richards’ excellent Lewis Carroll Resources website has a new section on the productions of the Savile Clarke Alice. The first was in 1886; 34 others are documented here, running through 1931. This comprehensive database includes a mass of information including production dates, cast lists, reviews, actor images, ephemera, etc., compiled by Catherine over the past few years. New material is constantly being added, but what is there already goes way beyond any previously available resource. Click here.

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Seeking It with Thimbles: Fine Press and Artist’s Books

This seems to be a banner year for hunting particularly elegant Snarks. The Cheshire Cat Press of Toronto last year published a fine-press Snark illustrated by Byron Sewell (42 copies, $350, KL 101:58), and will soon publish an identically formatted edition with illustrations by George Walker based on Donald Trump’s cabinet as the crew. Another being planned features cartes de visite selected by Andy Malcolm. Contact cheshirecatpress@gmail.com.

Marie Christine Bourven of Reims, France, has produced a charming bilingual (French and English) accordion-fold artist’s book Snark ($100). Contact aimecbaime@aol.com (de préférence en français).

A most elegant artist’s book from the Chevington Press (UK)—distributed in the U.S. by Two Ponds Press of Rockford, Maine—is “illustrated by the lauded color-etching printer D. R. Wakefield, using contemporary characters to depict the members of the hunting party and even a portrait of the elusive Snark/Boojum. Wakefield’s etched portraits, ranging from Ted Hughes as the Broker to Morgan Freeman as the Butcher and the artist as the Bellman, bring a modern feel to this work.” Deluxe copies (#s 1 – 5) are bound in quarter leather, housed in a clamshell box, and contain an extra suite of the etchings ($4,700); “ordinary” editions #s 6 – 32 are $3,200. Contact KenShure@twopondspress.com.

Two spectacular oversize artist’s books by Gwen Harrison and Sue Anderson of the Impediment Press in Australia consist of sugarlift and aquatint etchings with handset letterpress printing. Howl for a Black Cockatoo (photo above) and Phantomwise Flew the Black Cockatoo “tell the cruel and absurd history of a government institution set up in Australia in 1869, which continued up until 1975. Lewis Carroll’s remarkable texts were interwoven and layered with other text throughout both books, which allowed us to tell this previously hidden history, as without Alice’s help, reading such a dark history would have been unbearable.

“It tells of devastating and relentless cruelties inflicted on young girls, orphans, and neglected children while they were confined in the old penal prison known as ‘Biloela,’ on Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbour. It is difficult to express the nature of the overwhelming wrongs these girls endured. Eventually their story was recontexualised into another world called ‘Wonderland.’

“The original sugarlift etchings, many inspired by John Tenniel, are all printed from the copper and steel plates on Magnani ‘Revere’ 100% cotton rag paper. Letterpress printing on a Potter Proof press, handset in Caslon lead type, various wood types. Abstract leather binding in black kangaroo, with sugarlift etching on Magnani ‘Revere’ paper.”

Howl is in an edition of 25 (au$7,000; us$5,000); Phantomwise is au$8,000; us$5,700. Contact wandringbarkstudio@gmail.com.

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We’re No. 2!

OCLC (Online Computer Library Center), a nonprofit cooperative organization “dedicated to the public purposes of furthering access to the world’s information and reducing information costs,” and its member libraries cooperatively produce and maintain WorldCat, the largest online public access catalog in the world, as well as the Dewey Decimal Classification system.
On March 5, they published The Library 100: Top Novels of All Time, a list of the novels most widely available in libraries today. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland came in at No. 2 overall, behind No. 1, Don Quixote, and ahead of Huckleberry Finn.
Thanks to Jon Lindseth for finding this.

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