Welcome to my blog, featuring various pieces from my collection of Oz books, artwork and memorabilia!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Off to the Brandywine

This week an art transport company stopped by, and picked up a piece of artwork by John R. Neill to take to the Brandywine Museum in Chadds Ford, PA. An exhibition is opening on September 8th called Picturing Poe, and it will feature works by various illustrators for the writings of Edgar Allen Poe. The show will run until November 15. My piece is from the Reilly Britton edition of The Raven and Other Poems, published in 1910.

The Brandywine is always worth a visit, and it's encouraging to see Neill included in a museum show featuring a number of his contemporaries, as well as more recent artists. I'm afraid his talents tend to be overlooked!

Other artists mentioned in the exhibit include Arthur Rackham, Harry Clarke, Aubrey Beardsley and Barry Moser. Further information can be found on the museum exhibitions page (here).

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Convention Centerpieces

Late last year I agreed to take on a project for this year's National Convention. This consisted of making a dozen table centerpieces for the Friday night dinner. The idea began when co-chairperson Jane Albright ran across a large styrofoam ear of corn last fall. After she mentioned the idea that it could be a good start for a centerpiece, based on the corncob mansion of the Scarecrow, I was inspired and offered to take on the project.

My inspiration was the color plate by John R. Neill, found in The Emerald City of Oz. I did make some changes in the arrangement of the windows and the top of the house, but otherwise attempted to stay true to Neill's concept.
I had the idea of creating something along the lines of an old fashioned German candy container - a paper mache piece that would open to reveal a surprise inside. Starting with the styrofoam corn, I carved windows and doors then added window frames and shutters. This was then used to create a rubber mold, as I needed to make a dozen finished pieces.

The base, bottom of the corn and topper were also cast in paper. Stairs were created from balsa, and all parts were painted and glittered to add sparkle. I discovered metallic crepe paper online, which made excellent husks, and a couple garlands of artificial flowers were pulled apart, painted and glittered to add more color and interest to the base.

The final touch was to add Oz characters, taken from the Oz Toy Book, reduced in size and glittered. Add a bag of candy to the interior of each one and voila! A centerpiece!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


I've finally attended an Oz convention - This past weekend was the National Convention for the International Wizard of Oz Club, held in Holland, Michigan. It was a fun weekend of presentations, food, and entertainment. There were tributes to both Judy Garland and Ray Bolger, as well as an appearance by Margaret Pellegrini - one of only three Munchkins from the MGM film who is still with us. There was the traditional auction, presenting opportunities to add to collections, and a dramatization of Tamawaca Folks, a lesser known work by L.Frank Baum
L. Frank Baum's summer home, The Sign of the Goose, was located nearby on Lake Macatawa. The Baum family spent several summers there, until Baum's bankruptcy forced the sale of the house. Unfortunately the home is long gone, but early conventioneers had a chance to visit the site where the house once stood.

Additional presentations covered a trip through various castles of Oz, Baum's time in Macatawa, and a biography of Matilda Gage - Baum's mother-in-law, and one of the leading lights for women's suffrage. Robert Baum shared anecdotes relating to the various homes where his great-grandfather lived, and there were tributes to both Sky Island (Baum's book for 1912) and Denslow Island (W. W. Denslow's Bermuda retreat).

There was a sing-along, a show & tell, and several vendors had tables offering Oz wares. Craft tables offered convention-goers the opportunity to create their own souvenirs of the weekend - like this decoupage ornament featuring the Hammerheads from The Wizard of Oz! All in all, everyone appeared to thoroughly enjoy themselves. Next year the National Convention is merging with the Winkie Convention - it should be quite a time!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

S2 Atelier Poster

This is an interesting idea - a reconstruction of one of the original posters for the 1903 Broadway production of The Wizard of Oz. This was done in 1998 by the S2 Atelier, based in New York at that time and now in Las Vegas.

The process consisted of an artist re-drawing the original image on lithographic plates - so the end result is a true lithograph print, as the original poster would have been. This means a much sharper, crisper image than is seen in a digital print.

The poster is an impressive 27 x 43, and quite striking - I have a feeling the chances of my finding an original one are slim, so this makes a nice substitute!