Dreams-Haunted by Father's Murder

   by JoAnn Chrzastek for Build A Dream (2014)

Note: Numbers refer to pictures included with submittal. (I.E. Hamlet-01-JoChrzastek)

Bed #1
I used the box for the base and hardboard for the bed platform.

Bed #2-3-4
Canvas board was stripped of its fabric and together with the additional canvas sheet , they were used for the hand sewn, pleated bed skirt. Fabric stiffener was then applied.

Bed # 4-5-6-7-8
Over a sponge base, I used plaster cloth on the pillows, blanket and bed top surface. Thin layers of gesso were used to fill in the poresť of the cloth. Base paint followed.

Headboard #9-10-11-28
Cardboard was used for the headboard. Additional cut cardboard strips formed the wood panels. Cut circular discs of styrofoam rod and wooden discs were glued to headboard along with wood dowels for bedposts. Painting followed.

Body #12-13-14
After positioning the mannequin in place on the bed, its' joints were glued in place. Once dried, I formed clay over the body and applied fabric stiffener, hoping to add a modicum of firmness over the non-hardening clay. Painted sponge was glued for hair.

Clothing #15-16-17-18-19
Wire mesh formed the base for clothing, which then supported the plaster cloth wrap. Gesso and paint were last applied.

Accessories #17-18-19-20-29
Shoes, hosiery straps, belt, collar, sack and swords were made from canvas strips or hammered aluminum wire. Along with the bed and clothing, all were given a final paint coat.

Ghost #21-22-23-24-25
A sponge head over aluminum wire along with a wooden dowel made up the ghost form. Wrapped thread held the wire and sponge in position so I could layer clay then plaster cloth. After drying, gesso and paint were used.

Ghost banner # 26-27
I tea stained the card stock for a more parchment appearance on the book and banner. The ends of the banner were curled over a paint brush handle last.

Decorations #28-30-31
An abbreviated version of the royal crest of Denmark was painted on cardboard. Strips of canvas, coiled around aluminum wire were infused with stiffener. They were then painted for the crest frame and headboard deco. The crown, name flag and streamers were made from canvas, paper, cardboard or wire. After the crown was dried over the egg, paint was applied then all were hung over the bedpost.

Bedpost presentation banner #32-33

I used wire strung between bedposts to hold the fabric banner made from plaster cloth. First the cloth was draped over cardboard, then dabbed with water rather than soaking it, to maintain a flat surface and the see through integrity of the fiber. That made it possible to paint, then hand print the message in modern Old English type. I felt the wire distracted from the banner so my last strip of canvas was stiffened and curled around it. After, the final bedpost was painted and glued to bed.

The entire project took approximately 150 hours aside from Internet and library investigation for realistic symbols, clothing and bedroom attire, etc. I used all or a portion of 17 out of 20 items in the kit as well as most of the box. Jo C.

Inspiration piece: HAMLET written by William Shakespeare

"To sleep, perchance to dream" is the phrase from Hamlet that inspired me.

As the story goes, Hamlet's Father, the King of Denmark, was assassinated by Hamlet's Uncle. The Uncle assumed the throne and married Hamlet's Mother two weeks later. Talk about a dysfunctional family! The ghost of the murdered King sought revenge through his son using nightmarish dreams to goad him on. I won't spoil the end in case you want to read it.