The most beautiful book – ‘Wonderland’ Photography Book by Kirsty Mitchell

by ChinaBambi

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Earlier this week I had a notification about the eagerly anticipated ‘Wonderland’ book by the incredible photographer Kirsty Mitchell. Her Kickstarter campaign began Thursday and I pledged my £79 for the first edition signed book (with my name as a supporter), I was lucky to be one of the 2000 to get this.. (probably one of the first 200 – woo!) she was nearly at her target of 70k by the evening and then within 10hours of it being live hit her target and the campaign was funded!

24hrs later on and she has doubled this goal.. so what will she have by the end 30days??!! It is the 2nd most funded book of Kickstarter, I’m sure it will beat that! 😀

I am so happy for her, what an incredible project and to have this beautiful book funded by so many fans must be a huge accomplishment. I wish I had enough money to buy the Limited Edition box set or the Collectors edition with the Wonderland Key! What beautiful books!!

About this project

Kirsty Mitchell is an award-winning fine art photographer from Surrey, UK. For the past six and a half years she has been working on a deeply personal photographic series dedicated to her mother Maureen, who passed away from a brain tumour in 2008. Kirsty began the project with hair and make-up artist Elbie Van Eeden, as an escape from reality and a way of coming to terms with her grief. Within months of the series inception it quickly gained a worldwide following as more and more people became connected to the works, and the strong emotions behind them. What started as a small summer project in Kirsty’s kitchen, suddenly grew into a life-changing journey spanning over half a decade, filled with extraordinary theatrical characters and bursting with all the colours of the passing English seasons.

Kirsty in her studio
Kirsty in her studio
The Wonderland Series consists of 74 elaborate photographs created over the period of 5 years. All real life staged scenes, with the costumes and sets handmade by Kirsty.
The Wonderland Series consists of 74 elaborate photographs created over the period of 5 years. All real life staged scenes, with the costumes and sets handmade by Kirsty.

The Wonderland series began in the summer of 2009, seven months after Kirsty’s mother passed away.

“She was an English teacher, and her life’s great passion was literature and storytelling. After I lost her I struggled greatly, I was unable to remember her without being haunted by the memories of the hospital. So I found myself regressing to the happier times of us sharing the unusual books she constantly collected for myself, and the generations of children who passed through her classroom doors. In the months that followed, I decided to track down some of those original editions, completely unprepared for the emotional impact they would have as I held them in my hands once again. Slowly the concept of creating an unexplained storybook without words dedicated to her, began to form. It felt like the perfect way to celebrate who she was as a person and the legacy she left behind. It was the faded fragments of the book’s illustrations, mixed up with dreams and my experiences through grief that eventually formed the narrative of the series. Ultimately it became a strange and beautiful place to remember and forget, both in the same bittersweet moment.”    Kirsty Mitchell

'Dryad' 'The Distant Pull of Remembrance' 'Gammelyn's Daughter a Waking Dream' 'The Storyteller'
‘Dryad’ ‘The Distant Pull of Remembrance’ ‘Gammelyn’s Daughter a Waking Dream’ ‘The Storyteller’

All 74 of the pictures In the series are entirely real, assembled in front of the camera like small film sets, shot out in the landscapes that surround Kirsty’s home. They are incredibly labour intensive as Kirsty designs and creates all the costumes and props by hand, in some cases taking up to 5 months to prepare everything for one single scene. It is this approach, combined with her need to wait for various wild flowers to bloom and seasons to change for her character’s stories, that explains why the series has taken such a long period of time and enormous effort to produce.

'Wonderland' London Solo Show at Mead Carney Gallery June 2015
‘Wonderland’ London Solo Show at Mead Carney Gallery June 2015

The Wonderland series was completed in November 2014, immediately winning 2 international awards, with over 300,000 followers on its social media. It has been extensively featured throughout the world achieving a viral status online, and has been published by prestigious names such as Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue Italia, The Guardian, The Telegraph, BBC news, Germany’s Spiegel Online and Stern magazine to name but a few.

'Spirited Away'
‘Spirited Away’

From the very beginning The Wonderland Series has always been intended as a book in memory of Kirsty’s mother Maureen. In the years it has taken to produce the project, the book has been regarded as the final and most important aspect, one that has taken a great deal of consideration. For this reason, despite being offered publishing contracts, Kirsty has chosen to self-publish the Wonderland book in a manner that will fully reflect the attention to detail that is so key in her work. Her close relationship with her international fan base has fuelled a sense of responsibility in producing something truly special, which has led to an exciting collaboration with esteemed British book designer Stuart Smith.

The book will be a huge 480 page, hard back coffee table book, printed to the highest quality in Italy. Designed by esteemed British book designer Stuart Smith.
The book will be a huge 480 page, hard back coffee table book, printed to the highest quality in Italy. Designed by esteemed British book designer Stuart Smith.

Smith Design is highly regarded in the cultural world for the innovation, clarity and exceptional production quality of its work. Their clients include a staggering portfolio of leading names and world famous galleries including Magnum Agency, The Tate Modern, Whitechapel Art Gallery, The New York Gagosian Gallery, Aperture and the Prince Charles Trust to name just a few.

'Once Upon a Time' "The Briar Rose' "The Last Door of Autumn'
‘Once Upon a Time’ “The Briar Rose’ “The Last Door of Autumn’
'The Queen's Armada'
‘The Queen’s Armada’
The Wonderland book will be available in 3 different editions (design mock-ups)
The Wonderland book will be available in 3 different editions (design mock-ups)

The Wonderland Book will be presented in three options, ranging from the Standard First Edition book, to the very special Collector’s Edition box set. The production will take place in Italy, and will be overseen personally by both Stuart and Kirsty. The pre-orders generated by this Kickstarter campaign will be the only way for the public to own a first edition copy, and have it delivered in time for Christmas 2015. It will not be available in any stores or online, and can only be produced with your help by reaching its target goal.

The Wonderland book will cover all aspects of the series. The finished photographs + large close up detail spreads. Costume pages and behind the scenes photographs. As well as extracts from Kirsty's six year personal diary of the creation of the project
The Wonderland book will cover all aspects of the series. The finished photographs + large close up detail spreads. Costume pages and behind the scenes photographs. As well as extracts from Kirsty’s six year personal diary of the creation of the project
Design mock-up
Design mock-up

THE STANDARD FIRST EDITION BOOK  £79 (RRP £99)

  • 360 x 270mm (paper size) Portrait format.
  • 480 pages, including 8 large gatefold spreads (fold out sections, equal to 3 single pages).
  • Photographs to be printed on high quality paper, finished with a spot varnish.
  • Real cloth covered hardback, embossed cover + foil stamping.
  • Round sewn spine with foil stamping + ribbon marker.
  • This will be the first edition run.
  • The first 2000 copies will be signed by Kirsty, with your name listed as a supporter in the book’s acknowledgements (please make sure you select the top/ first reward)
Limited Edition Box Set - Clamshell presentation box containing book + Portfolio slip case containing 2 x Limited Edition signed prints (design mock-ups)
Limited Edition Box Set – Clamshell presentation box containing book + Portfolio slip case containing 2 x Limited Edition signed prints (design mock-ups)
LImited Edition prints can be chosen from the selection above (clockwise from top-left: 'The Ghost Swift', 'The Queen's Armada', 'She'll Wait For You in the Shadows of Summer', 'The Journey Home', 'Gammelyn's Daughter')
LImited Edition prints can be chosen from the selection above (clockwise from top-left: ‘The Ghost Swift’, ‘The Queen’s Armada’, ‘She’ll Wait For You in the Shadows of Summer’, ‘The Journey Home’, ‘Gammelyn’s Daughter’)
Design mock up
Design mock up

LIMITED EDITION BOX SET  £750

  • Limited edition run of only 250
  • Book – Same spec as standard book, with different coloured cover for this Limited Edition. Each book will be signed and numbered by Kirsty, and accompanied with a certificate of authenticity. Your name will also be listed as a supporter in the book’s acknowledgements.
  • Clamshell Box – The book will come presented in a beautiful fabric covered clamshell box, sized to scale of book 37cm (close fitting)
  • Portfolio Slip Case + 2 x Limited Edition prints – Matching fabric covered portfolio slip case (fitted to size of box). Contains 2 x signed Limited Edition prints (see choice below). Print paper size 36cm. (Image size approx 30cm depending on image)
  • Prints can be chosen from selection below (only 2 can be selected);
    ‘The Ghost Swift’
    ‘The Queen’s Armada’
    ‘Gammelyn’s Daughter’
    ‘The Journey Home’
    ‘She’ll Wait For You in the Shadows of Summer’
    (We will contact you immediately after the Kickstarter campaign closes to confirm your choice of two artworks.)
Collector's Edition Box Set - Oversized clamshell presentation box, containing solid bronze key in display tray, stacked above book, sunk into deep surround + Portfolio slip case with 3 Limited Edition signed prints (design mock-ups)
Collector’s Edition Box Set – Oversized clamshell presentation box, containing solid bronze key in display tray, stacked above book, sunk into deep surround + Portfolio slip case with 3 Limited Edition signed prints (design mock-ups)
Collector's Edition includes a bespoke solid bronze cast of The White Queen's Key + 3 large signed prints of 'The White Queen', 'The Queen's Armada' & 'The Faraway Tree'
Collector’s Edition includes a bespoke solid bronze cast of The White Queen’s Key + 3 large signed prints of ‘The White Queen’, ‘The Queen’s Armada’ & ‘The Faraway Tree’
Design mock up
Design mock up

COLLECTOR’S EDITION BOX SET £3,000 (introductory price) 

  • Limited edition run of only 25
  • Introductory price – applies to first 10 editions only
  • Book – Same spec as standard book, with different coloured cover for this Collector’s edition. Each book will be signed and numbered by Kirsty, and accompanied with a certificate of authenticity. Your name will also be listed as a supporter in the book’s acknowledgements.
  • Oversized Clamshell Box – The book will come presented in a beautiful fabric covered clamshell box. The box is deep set, and measures 52cm in height (book is 36cm). The book and bronze key presentation tray will stack above each other, and be sunk into a deep surround (image above, right)
  • Solid Bronze Key – The star of this set is the very special bespoke solid bronze sculpture of The White Queen’s key. This piece is a work of art in its own right, and will never be recreated after all 25 editions have been cast (the mould will be destroyed). For further information please read the section below about it’s creation.
  • Portfolio Slip Case + 3 Limited Edition Prints –  Matching fabric covered portfolio slip case (fitted to size of box). Contains 3 signed Limited Edition prints of The White Queen Trilogy (‘The Queen’s Armada’, ‘The White Queen’, ‘The Faraway Tree’). Prints are fitted to size of box – Paper size 51cm (equivalent to a 20 x 16 inch print).

The jewel in the crown of the Collector’s Edition Box Set is undoubtedly the solid bronze key. The concept had at first seemed impossible, but in 2012 Kirsty’s idea became a reality when bronze artist Derek Bayley offered to cast the key in all its glory.

“Long ago when the Wonderland book was nothing but a glimmer of an idea, I had always dreamt of making something truly extraordinary. I wanted to create more than just a book, something that felt like an heirloom that would be treasured and passed down within families – to be loved by both adults and children. The book that had inspired these feelings was the 1979 edition of Masquerade – a magical collection of paintings, containing hidden clues that led the world into a frenzied search to find the solid gold hare the illustrator had buried deep in the English countryside. This idea of creating a physical treasure from the series, led me to the eventual idea of casting the bone key I had made for Wonderland’s White Queen. I never imagined the result would be so detailed and beautiful, and I am thrilled to finally present this very special tier to the Wonderland Book options.”    Kirsty Mitchell

Bronze Sculptor Derek Bayley in his London studio
Bronze Sculptor Derek Bayley in his London studio

The Wonderland bronze key is not simply a cast, the process of it’s production takes up to 8 weeks, with each individual piece having to go through a great many hand finishing processes. Each one will be stamped with a coordinating edition number that will correspond with the signed, numbered book. Once the 25 keys have been cast, the mould will be destroyed.

Derek Bayley’s foundry London Bronze Casting creates bespoke private commissions for clients all over world, as well as working closely with acclaimed British artists realising their ideas with beautiful attention to detail. They are currently working on a project for the V&A museum which will be unveiled this October.

The solid bronze key takes 8 weeks to create through many painstaking processes. Only 25 will be ever be made.
The solid bronze key takes 8 weeks to create through many painstaking processes. Only 25 will be ever be made.
'The White Queen'
‘The White Queen’

Delivery Dates: The first edition run will be shipped in December, planned to be delivered to UK addresses before Christmas. We will also ship worldwide, but this will take longer to arrive depending on the location, although we endeavour to deliver to Europe and the US before Christmas.
International Shipping costs:  these will be added to your pledge, and will vary depending on destination. Prices will be shown when you choose your reward.   Please note that this is a very large book weighing over 4kg but we have tried to keep our shipping costs as low as possible. 
-Please note that if the delivery destination of your order is outside of the European Community, your order may be subject to import duties and taxes which are applied when your order reaches that destination. We have no control over these charges and you will be responsible for payment if they occur.

So fund her project here and have a piece of photography meets art history with a beautiful book!

First edition standard books signed by Kirsty with your name listed as a supporter in the acknowledgements will run you ~$125 (£79) USD (2000 only), Limited Edition books (250 only) will cost you ~$1,160 USD (£750), and one of 10 Collectors Edition box sets complete with signed prints, a bespoke solid bronze sculpture of The White Queen’s Key from the series, and much more costs ~$4,635 (£3000).

I hope one day I can buy some of her prints to fill my Wonderland inspired home 😀

VB
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