Last month I shared a series of six pieces that depict a visual narrative focussed on a fictitious Yugoslavian girl named Natasa. You can read about that here. At that point I questioned whether this series could continue past these original works. Well, here’s the story about how it did in fact continue, and in a big way…

At first, I thought of making another piece that was a similar scale. As the picture below will demonstrate, it was going to be a wee bit larger:

bighouse progress shot 1
Mitzi oversees the assembly

About 3 times taller in fact. About the time of that picture, my main thought was, “What am I getting myself into?” But with the support of the my canine assistant as well as the internet community, I plodded on. In fact, I posted the above picture on my facebook page, and got some great feedback. One poster suggested replacing the flower thing, and I agreed.

So the flower was the first thing to go. It was replaced with a decorative wooden semi-circle piece. It started having the feel of an old jumbled Victorian house, so decided to go with that. Eventually another clock face would go into the space at the top.

bighouse progress shot 2

Much like the smaller pieces, this piece contains photos and letters from Yugoslavia. The two photos are of winter scenes, so started picturing this as the house of Natasa on a cold winter day. At first I had the photos without the mailbox glass window, but they felt too stark, so put the windows back in. In one case I had to scrub it so the photo could be scene at all, and the second had to dirty it up because it was too pristine. The third window was completely dingy, with only the number 647 showing through. Was quite pleased with that, so left it as is!

The hard part about such a complex piece is that I really had to know what was going on in the background before cutting things to size and nailing it down. For that reason, at least a week must have been spent just arranging and rearranging the many diverse parts until it took shape. But finally the moment of truth…

bighouse progress shot boxes

This was when it became a 3d jigsaw, except a jigsaw that involve power tools. The boxes were cut, recut, shaved and persuaded to all fit together in jumbled harmony.

By the time the photo below was taken, the piece had attained the basic look and feel I wanted.

bighouse progress shot 4

There were still several issues to resolve, a big one being attaching the very heavy mailboxes, and having them look like they fit into the overall piece. That would basically involve some framing, a side panel for the two in the foreground, and very long screws.

The very last issue was what to put in the long side panel on the far left. I tried several things, but finally decided upon forks, spoons and a big bottle. You can see these in some of the final images.

The name of this work is “The Winter House.”  It contains such things as post office mailbox doors, photos and handwritten letters from the 30’s and 40’s Yugoslavia, clock faces, candle holders, a kerosene lamp, and many many boxes. It is approximately 18 x 30 x 8 inches and hangs on the wall.

This was the last piece I finished in 2014 and is my favorite. And while it is already several weeks in, have a very happy 2015!

The Winter House - Left
The Winter House – Left View
The Winter House - Center
The Winter House – Center View
The Winter House - Right
The Winter House – Right View
The Winter House - Detail Top
The Winter House – Top Detail
The Winter House – Bottom Detail
The Winter House – Middle Detail



This Old Cold House
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10 thoughts on “This Old Cold House

  • January 20, 2015 at 10:40 am

    Scott, this is just magnificent.
    There is nothing about that is not balanced or breaking the flow from area to area.
    It is a symphony of beauty.

    • January 20, 2015 at 10:44 am

      Thanks so much Kathleen! Yes one of my biggest concerns was that the many different elements in this piece wouldn’t come together to form a whole, and spent a lot of time trying to make sure that didn’t happen!

  • January 20, 2015 at 11:02 am

    Are there items in the boxes? Just curious if these are interactive pieces. I love the spoons and forks on the side shelves.

    • January 20, 2015 at 1:13 pm

      Hi Rebecca – There are only photos inside the mailboxes. I had briefly thought about having them open up, but it seemed to take away from the mystery, versus seeing them through the dirty windows.

  • January 20, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    This is great, Scott. I love hearing about and seeing your process! It’s a beautiful piece!

    • January 20, 2015 at 1:14 pm

      Thanks so much Jen, appreciate your kind words!

  • January 21, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    What a way to end a year of creativity on this timeless high note! I too always enjoy your telling of the process. What you finished with, is a little masterpiece in a long line of excellent pieces. Congratulations on this balanced and mysterious beauty Scott!

    • January 21, 2015 at 8:56 pm

      Thanks so much Karima, so glad that you enjoy both the process and the final product! And yes, it was very nice to end the year like this.

  • June 23, 2016 at 9:52 am

    Wow! With the Natasa Tales, you’ve reached a whole new level of aesthetic balance. For me, anyway. Just gorgeous!

    • June 23, 2016 at 10:21 am

      Thanks so much Laura! This series has meant a lot to me, so appreciate the good words!


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