“The North Wind Doth Blow And We Shall Have Snow”
Hidden in an old cave tree
under a cold lake
is the last snowflake
Photo by Brad Cheek
This wonderful sensory adventure was the brain child of our very own Jules Abraham (the tall guy, green jumper, with the hair, for those who do not know him). Since the idea was conceived, so many things have happened that have put this project on hold, but finally the decision was made to carry out this on our annual 2nd Saturday.
It began with the group of volunteers hearing the proposal and finding out what this would entail. In true Exchange style, many hands came forward with the varity of skills and abilities offering to take charge of each area of the adventure, while still offering help and advice for the whole experience.
With concepts solidified and discussed, our group of volunteers set out into the world to ensure that their artistic visions could be realized, all within just over three weeks with threepence, half penny and a button for a budget.
Though our journey short, our spirits were high and could not be tamed. We charged forward and called upon our allies.
Materials were sourced, supplies donated, creativity unleashed, and we were on our way to transforming the building into the Winter Wonderland of the West End. Many an hour were spent frantically running around trying one idea, then thinking of another, changing it, then changing it again, until finally what we saw in our heads became a physical thing.
Laughs and hilarity ensued in the making of found and acquired objects into something they could never have dreamed of being, and living their new life in our imagined world. Carpet tubes became trees, polystyrene became snow and fabric became, well, all sorts.
We were all in full swing, intent on making this the most magical experience we could conceive. Everyone was so determined that no detail would go undone and that no matter where you looked there would be something of interest.
As the environment was en route to transformation, the lights and sounds and those thing that would make the complete experience came into fruition. All of a sudden, it had gone from works in progress with activity wherever you turned, the senses were all being drawn into mystique of the storybook realm we had created and it felt like less of a building and more of a transportation through a new dimension. In itself the walk through was all but complete, with naught but the finishing touches to be added.
So at last, we had our expedition into the world of the Last Snowflake. The scenes were set, the narrative written and perfected, and the Snowflake was ready to lead Clara Mae along her mystical path!
The day had come for the first groups to see the finished project. Nerves were high, all were running around doing last checks on the set up and making sure there was going be no last minute surprises or issues. Never too late to be cautious, but it was conceded that there was nothing more to do than welcome our first intrepid adventurers to follow in the little girls footsteps through the portal of reality into the sparkling kingdom of the Snow Queen.
Through the bedroom of our Clara Mae into the wardrobe entering a snowy pass, to the wolf infested woods where the sounds of howls echoed through the trees. Carefully the way weaved onwards into the crashes and flashes of a thunder snowstorm, into the enticing warmth of the banquet hall. Here the Snow Queen waits to unveil the clues to the final destination of our little Snowflake among the mirrored pools and serenity to slumber.
The volunteers, although having seen all the elements in progress and being involved in the creation under the sage advice and direction from Jules, also had their first immersive experience of the adventure. We skipped around like giddy school children on a school trip, giggling and whispering to one another in amazement. The atmosphere was bewitching, The audience captivated, taken from the everyday to the fantastical in naught but words and sensation.
Upon the emergence from the journey, smiles, excitement and comments along the lines of ‘ooooo’ and ‘did you see that? wasn’t it wonderful!’ resonated through the air.
Although the creative process held much positivity, there had been times of frustration, panic and doubt. In remedy of this, nothing could be more satisfying to those involved than hearing sounds of appreciation and wonder in awe of what they had put so much time, and energy into creating.
Although originated from the idea of one mortal mind, this project had involved so many creative minds and capabilities to bring the story to life, and transcend it into the otherworldly and fantastical quest to find the Last Snowflake.
‘And now our journey is done, I hope you have all had wonderful fun’
Photo by Brad Cheek
Rosie Tacon Glass
Chris Hargreaves - Artist
The Snow Queens:
Christopher Hargreaves - Artist