Small wonders: how Laura carves out stories
TINY plastic figures playing out scenes in the guts of carved-out antique books may sound cosy but Laura Beaumont’s fantastical, often twisted, creations – on show at Burgh House this week – are sure to make you do a double take.
By day Hampstead resident Laura is an Emmy-award winning children’s writer and has written for the likes of Bob the Builder and Thomas the Tank Engine.
By night, she takes her scalpel “ruthlessly” (her word) to books she has bought from secondhand bookshops and charity shops and begins her dissection. She hollows the books out on a specific page that informs the scene that she is about to create and then lets her imagination run riot.
Funny, sometimes raunchy, but always surprising, Laura’s work is a delight to behold.
Like mini vignettes taking place within what is a kind of proscenium arch, the plastic figures often cheekily subvert their often quaint titles and turn them on their head.
Take The New Mistress at the Chalet School: this new mistress is more inclined to crack the whip than a cane and has a definite penchant for leather. You get the picture.
Or how about the book, Insects? A rather professorial bug sits at its desk typing away presumably on the subject of insects while the floor is strewn with discarded drafts. Is the insect writing the book we are looking at? Are we staring at a work in progress? Is the insect having the last laugh? It is all up to you to read between the lines.
• Laura Beaumont: Bleed Between the Lines runs until Sunday, January 15, at Burgh House, New End Square, NW3 1LT. Open 12-5pm (closed Saturday), 020 7431 0144, www.burghhouse.org.uk, www.laurabeaumontartistcom