The fall window is special because there are a lot of events in a two month span that will bring extra people downtown, and we want them to remember us. There is the Liberty Antiques Festival, the Fall Festival, the downtown Trick or Treat in the Park (which brought thousands of people out last year), and we usually get some extra shoppers during the High Point International Home Furnishings Market. This display has to be amazing, memorable, and able to transition us from the end of summer to the Christmas window (which usually goes up in November).
This window was supposed to be country primitive, because we haven't done that in a while. We made props at home, and started scouting for furniture, and...changed our minds. New idea, new scouting, new discussion, and...we changed our minds again. We got to the very day that the window was to be redone, and...changed our minds. Sometimes, an idea fades because a necessary piece sells at the last minute and there isn't enough support for our theme. This time, we just weren't in the mood.
If you read Friday's blog post, all about Edward Gorey, things will start to look familiar. Near the end of our shift at the store, a stray comment was made along the lines of "Wouldn't it be awesome to do a Gorey window," which transitioned into "How can we pull it off?" The last half hour of our on-the-clock time was a power brainstorming session, and then we were on our way to the store for supplies-- twenty dollars worth of foam core, black markers, and paper for the walls.
Back at the store, a significant amount of time was spent on the figures. We used actual Gorey illustrations, modified slightly, as our characters. We outlined them with pencil, filled in with black marker, and then cut the pieces with a utility knife (very tedious work). We assembled the pieces with packing tape and yardsticks for support, and, most importantly, gave them names: Zelda, Mona, and Edgar.
We had to turn the paper sideways so that the pattern would be correct, which meant that papering the pegboard was a two-person job...which meant that it took longer than usual. The black and white floor is leftover from the Alice window, but some of the tiles had fallen off and we had to reattach them. The curtain is just a piece of vintage black fabric, which by some miracle, is the exact dimension that we needed. All that was left was to bring down the blue sofa, chandelier, column, and a ton of gold mirrors.
This is when it's important to stop and think about the practicalities of installation. Nothing is worse than having to pull something out because you didn't think it through, especially since this was such a spontaneous idea in the first place. You measure the furniture to make sure it will fit. You think about tall things, heavy things, and delicate things. You think about placement. And so, we determined that the events absolutely had to happen in a particular order. We even wrote it down, as silly as that sounds, so that we wouldn't create extra problems for ourselves. First, the wallpaper. Second, the column and the figure in hiding. Third, hang the chandelier (which is lower than the column). Fourth, hang the mirrors. Fifth, lay the floor (so the ladder didn't gouge it). Then, the sofa and tea cart. Last, the figure of the man and the lady on the couch. It went off without a hitch. In fact, the prep work took 90% of our total window time, and the installation was pretty fast (except for the wallpaper).
We now have a scene that tells a story. Edgar has returned home to find Mona very upset. She has found his letters from his mistress, along with some ominous life insurance papers. Mona has no idea that Zelda is slipping into the shadows with a bottle of poison. (Zelda knows how to fix her problems, and Mona may not be long for this world.) A quick glance at the rug under the sofa hints that Mona has some secrets of her own....
We have never done a window this spontaneously before, and I'm not sure that we'll do it again, but we. love. this. window. It is so Gorey, and so us. But the prep work was tedious. We worked all night, a total of 10.5 hours making the props and installing the pieces. I still need a nap.