20 Apr 2021

The Development of our Cheshire Cat

Hello, we are Ashleigh and Laura. We are the founders of La La Arts, Devon. We formed as a result of the Global pandemic in 2020, coming together to create exciting, innovative and fun experiences in a time of loneliness and isolation.

We were thrilled to be awarded this grant and to be working in partnership with Doorstep Arts to create a new, immersive, interactive family-friendly promenade performance based at the grounds of Cockington Court and beyond!

Due to the ever changing rules and regulations of COVID 19, we have had to adapt our original proposal and thus it has been transformed into two projects. These projects go side by side both, based around being in Wonderland. The first project is Wonderland Audio Adventure and the second a live performance. The audio tour is available now, just click on the link and the live performance will take place in May half term. 

In this blog we are going to be talking all about our development of the character of the Cheshire Cat. When we first applied for the project we had hoped that we could have an actor playing the character of the Cheshire Cat, due to budgeting, we made the decision to get rid of the concept of the Cheshire Cat being a live character and instead being presented in a more artistic way. Our first artistic concept was to work with a local artist and create a puppet that would be perched on a branch of a tree, for various reasons this ended up to not be a practical solution so we went back to the drawing board; this tends to happen a lot with creative projects!

We have been looking at inspiration online and creating some mood boards when we came across a fantastic photo of a cat that had been painted on a piano. We really wanted to bring this to life in our own unique way and felt that this could definitely work with our project.

So… We found our concept! How do we make this happen?

The first thing was to find a piano, for this we used the trusty source of Facebook Marketplace where we found a free listing for this gorgeous piano that needed some TLC. With a fantastic team of muscle and a man in a van, we were able to transport our piano to a unit space that was appropriate for storage and our next stage.

Our talented artist, Emily Whittet, started the process by sanding down the piano to prepare it for the painting process. She then applied the base layer to be able to make our dream start to become a reality. 

This took a couple of days due as the paint needed to dry so we can build up the layers before the colour can be applied. Then the magic truly started to happen. 

Before we knew it, we blinked and the piano was transformed into our magnificent Cheshire Cat.

We then had the nerve wracking task of getting it back into the van without bashing our piece of art!!

We finally relaxed when we placed it in the window of the Hayloft at Cockington Court, looking mischievous, bright and colourful! We would love to see some of your photos next to our piano with the hashtag #wonderlalaland

This is just one small element in our project but we really believe that the smaller details are integral in creating a memorable experience that is not to be forgotten. 

We hope everyone loves our Cheshire Cat as much as we do!