GUEST BLOG: The Other Cast Members by Ron Hoess

Set up day for the Flower Show keeps getting closer so it’s time to introduce the other characters (by that I mean structures) that will be in our exhibit.  We’ve already talked about our cathedral wall on the left side. Turning to the right side of the box is a Cotswold cottage.  I based the structure on some pictures we took in England last summer of Arlington Row, a series of Cotswold cottages linked together much like Philadelphia rowhouses, just a few hundred years older. Not surprisingly they are made of Cotswold stone.  Again I found the Sculptamold the best product for achieving the look I wanted.  Much like the stone wall I talked about in my last entry, the carving was a bit tedious but I thought turned out well.  As always, I used acrylics for painting the stonework.  The Cotswold stone used for houses has a slight yellow-orange cast to it which tried to capture.  Unlike the example I gave of the stone wall,  here I want the mortar lines white or slightly off white since that is what is holding the house together.  Strip wood was cut to size and used to frame the windows and door. I’ll mention making the roof later after introducing the other structures.


Adjacent to the Cotswold cottage is our tea room.  We’re still struggling with a name for this shop.  It’s a fairly straightforward construction using gator foam for the walls.  We wanted this structure and the pub that will be next to it to be what is often referred to as “Tudor style” with exposed timbers forming panels around the building.  During the Victorian era the timbers were painted black and thus today these buildings are most often referred to as black and whites.  I simply used varying sizes of strip wood to form the timbers and glued them directly to the gator foam.  Before I even glued them down I painted them with black paint which saves one from doing a lot of detailed painting later on where one wants to avoid getting black paint anywhere else on the wall.  Once I had the timbers glued down, I spread joint compound in all the areas enclosed by the timbers.  One could use paperclay for this as well; I just happened to like the look I got with the joint compound.  Once the joint compound is dry any serious defects can simply be sanded to smooth the wall surface. All the window frames and the door were made from strip wood.  Perhaps not so obvious in the picture is a window box below the second floor window.  This will be a nice place to showcase some plants.


Since Katy likes to get those plants started  in a timely fashion, I constructed from styrene two boxes (one is a back up) that will easily slip into the window box of our tearoom. Katy just planted these boxes and we are hoping with grow lights and perhaps some sunshine that we will have some flourishing plants in the window box by the Flower Show.


The final character in our English village is the pub.  While pubs are rapidly disappearing today, they were at one time an important part of the English way of life. The construction was basically the same as the tea room.  On the second floor I added two half timbered decorative panels, which many early builders in England used to enhance the decorative look of their building and to stamp a bit of their identity on the building.  There is a large window box below the second floor that extends the length of the building.  That to will have little plants.  We also used it to affix the name of our pub, “The Green Dragon”.


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