That place is a town with high walls where people are split from their shadows and where unicorns roam freely. Without their shadows the people gradually lose their ego and mind, never to leave the town again. Whatever leftover bits of ego that float around are picked up by the unicorns and evaporated outside the town walls at night.
Where is such a strange land you might ask? In the pages of Haruki Murakami’s book Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, and now also inside this vintage clock box from Bulgaria, as a paper diorama.
You might have seen my previous dioramas, which were all commissioned, but this one is the first of a personal series to be available for sale directly (preferably local to LA for now as I’m not sure yet how well they would survive the postal service! If you’re in area, I’ll have it in person at BookArtsLA on Saturday the 28th).
The book has two stories, one about the unicorn world and another about a programmer whose brain was used for data encryption and has him running for his life in the underground train tunnels of Tokyo.
At the beginning the two storylines seem completely unrelated but as the book progresses they converge and with that the speed at which I turned the pages!
It’s the kind of novel that leaves you with lots of questions and haunting images. One of these images for me was the unicorns roaming at night, with the town and its apple orchard in the background.
In my research for unicorn references I came across the famous medieval tapestries of the Hunt of the Unicorn and it had me looked at the Millefleur style of tapestry for inspiration. I figured all those little plants and flowers would suit the style of my Bulgarian box pretty well.
The vintage clock boxes the store had given me for the commissions were all from India and bought several years ago. Not so easy to locate nowadays!
I was lucky to discover this little Bulgarian box on Etsy, and that it was in pretty good shape. Valentin, the Etsy shop owner of The Things That Were, was able to find me another one -which I just received today!
Here are two more I got on Ebay, also from Bulgaria, but they are kind of a fixer-uppers! New backing, new hinges and glass pieces, a bit of paint, and they’ll be ready for more paper stories