We have exciting news Friends.
In case you missed the AGM in Boscastle last year or have not yet read the *Minutes of the AGM in December 2017, it was proposed by The Museum that we might wish to utilise some of the funds in the Friend’s account, to make a new entrance door to the Museum – as the current one is ‘past its best’.
This was proposed and seconded by the members present and carried unanimously.
The door that the Friends commissioned is now well on its way to completion.
The artist chosen to design and craft this beautiful piece is Paul Atlas-Saunders.
I have asked Paul to tell us a little bit about himself and how he has approached the making of such an important doorway for The Museum….
AY – Paul, firstly thank you for agreeing to take on the monumental task of what is not just a ‘new door’ to The Museum, but a legacy for many years to come and is ostensibly a work of art.
Can I first ask, how did you come to be a Friend of The Museum and how long have you had an association with them?
PAS – I have been a Friend of the Museum for a few years now and have been an avid visitor of the museum for least 20 years.
AY – Tell us all a little bit about the work you do generally speaking, what other types of art form do you work in other than wood, if any?
PAS – I have always worked as an artist in various mediums but now concentrate mainly on pyrography (burning the design onto wood).
I am also an illustrator for Troy Books producing realistic drawings in pointillism. I find my illustration techniques transfer very comfortably to pyrography.
AY – When you were commissioned to create this door for us, were there any special considerations which you thought you might have to think about, for example, sourcing special or specific materials etc?
PAS – Firstly, I would like to say how deeply honoured and humbled I am to have been given this amazing opportunity and all my thanks go to everyone at the Museum and all the Friends.
I think my first and main consideration was how to capture the essence of the museum in the design.
I want the door to appeal to all visitors whether they have just a curious interest or a working knowledge of witchcraft and magic. So, with my design in mind, I was then able to discuss with the carpenter, Phil Peters, the technical and practical requirements before the door was made.
AY – Paul, is this largest piece of art work you have ever completed and if so, were you daunted (initially) by the task in hand, and the length of time you would need to work on it until completion?
PAS – Although this is not my largest piece of art, it is the largest piece of pyrography I have done. The door project is a large undertaking with many challenges and I feel it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t feel somewhat daunted by it.
It is always the challenges and problem solving that I find keeps the artwork interesting and exciting.
AY – What type of wood is the door made from and where did you source such a large piece to carve?
PAS – The door is solid Beech sourced in Cornwall and is three pieces invisibly joined to produce a completely flat surface for the design.
Phil Peters is an amazing carpenter and hand worked all the joins and even used hand made wooden pegs instead of screws. The result is a very strong, solid and beautiful door which is wonderful to work on.
AY – Thank you for providing the pictures you have for us to see, just a teaser, of the surround to the door.
Can you tell us a little bit more about why you have chosen the symbols/animals that you have and what are the materials used for this part and how have they been made?
PAS –The door is framed with 24 ‘panels’ each depicting either an object from the collection, a Cornish scene or a magical talisman.
There is also a panel dedicated to Cecil Williamson which will show a hand-written note, the talisman he liked to use and also his signature in gold leaf.
All the artwork is burned into the wood using pyrography although there is some symbolic use of red acrylic ink and gold and silver leaf.
What I would like to show through the design and choice of artefacts is not only the amazing array of beautiful objects in the collection, but also the diversity of the different paths represented by the museum.
I am also hoping to maintain an overall balance in the design by depicting an equality in the use of light and dark, male and female etc…
Animals and nature are a very important aspect in all my work as it is from these I get my greatest inspiration and I have always felt the significance of the symbiotic relationship between nature and witchcraft.
All in all, I hope I have included a good variety of flora and fauna which anyone will recognise for their significance.
The door will be revealed at the next AGM so the main design will be kept secret until then, suffice to say there will be some ‘quirky’ elements along with a few hidden charms and symbols which the viewer can find out about by exploring the many wonders in our fabulous museum.
AY – Paul, thank you so much for sharing the latest updates with us all about this fantastic artwork, and yes, functioning door into the Museum, it must be a real labour of love!
We are so excited to see the ‘Grand Reveal’ at this years’ AGM on December 1st 2018 and look forward to meeting you there again.
PAS – Thank you so much, see you in December.
We do hope that as many of you as possible, will attend this years AGM and see the finished piece.
Don’t forget, you can also join Friends on this page – JOIN – if you haven’t already.
Thank you to all those who are Friends of The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic already.
You can see how each and every one of your contributions has helped to keep the Museum alive, evolving and ‘magical’.
Meanwhile, you can see more of Paul’s work on his website here: Paul Atlas-Saunders.
*To read the Minutes of the December 2017 AGM – Click Here.
Interview with Paul Atlas-Saunders by Adele Yeomans