Borrowing the title from Roald Dahl’s collection of amusing and twisted stories may seem a liberty, but at The Unexpected Gallery we find that visitors to the gallery do tell us such wonderful tales. It may be the unusual gallery atmosphere where unexpected discoveries are made – antique teapot lamps juxtaposed with bird skulls in test tubes or 1930s polished copper fire extinguisher lamps dressed with luxurious gold vellum lampshades - that generates interesting revelations.
People bring us all manner of nostalgic mementos to bring back to life in dynamic ways. One client had tr
easured his boyhood marble trophies into retirement and presented them in a bag one day to us. The outcome was a wall-based display where marble stripes were invisibly suspended in clear resin within a protective frame. The piece now hangs proudly above the client’s front door.
Another day, a dusty box of 1950s Disney plastic Christmas tree lights appeared, the owner explaining that her father had made them in a factory and that she had fond memories of them from her childhood. She now wanted to remember them, and her father everyday, so could we design a light with them. The design needed to utilise the qualities of LEDs, so not to risk the brittle nature of the old plastic shades. The result was a giant lamp where the old shades formed a ‘fringe’ around the base of a reconstructed vintage standard lamp and shade.
And then there’s serendipity. A couple of weeks ago we were delighted to find an antique copper and brass bugle hiding in a dusty corner in an antiques centre. The next day a client visited the gallery and was admiring a table lamp we had just created from a 1880s clarinet – “we’re doing a bugle next” we said. With disbelief she exclaimed that her daughter was the bugle player for the Kings Troop and what a wonderful Christmas present that would be. Lucky girl.