author. Elliot Simpson


I had a vague idea of what dioramas were when I entered the workshop tent. But it wasn’t a very accurate idea. Dioramas are tiny worlds constructed with paper, scissors, glue and a few well placed folds... Tiny papery worlds. 

As I entered I was greeted by a ‘here’s some we did earlier’ section. They were stunning – perhaps the best use of cutting and sticking I’d seen. One featured a woman dancing in a ballroom, another a large, looming elephant. I was asked which one I wanted to make; I chose the dog. It stood on a grassy hill with a huge stone structure in the background. Port Eliot house.

At first the process reminded me of primary school art lessons: cut, cut, cut and then do a bit of sticking. Diorama making wasn't exactly like that, it was just the first time I'd really crossed paths with a glue stick since primary school. I sat next to a woman merrily cutting out her elephant; we chatted a little, trying to work out how we were going to stop our works of art getting crushed during our train journeys home. Though I still wasn't sure whether I would be able to make the diorama in the first place.

The two ladies running the workshop hovered around, dealing words of encouragement to their diorama-making elves. And though I was told I was doing a great job, I wasn't too convinced myself. I'd been working for almost an hour and it still looked like a floppy, papery mess. My dog had a wonky face and the whole thing looked a bit crooked. I pushed on though, waving off my neighbour as she left with her newly formed elephant.

Though the end result wasn't perfect, I was still proud of it. It had a certain charm to it (I say had as the train journey home wasn't too kind to it). And hey – I made a diorama. I did something I never thought I would.