We’re delighted to publish Benamon’s 26th article to his PictureBook column with us and once again, it is outstanding, gushing with creativity and imagery both in pictures and words, don’t miss this.
The concept behind the PictureBook column is not just about capturing stories but creating them, the journey behind and the image we present. PictureBook draws on Images selected from Benamon’s own story series and also looks at the work of the other story tellers within the community’.
Over to you Benamon (foreword by Joanne Carter)…
‘Bitter Gift and Taken Treats’ – ©Benamon Tame
Frith started to pace, his hands open and closing while the second set that he has
swapped for his feet started to claw at the floor. His hard china nails digging into the thick
varnish and leaving lines like desperation on the inside of a coffin.
He could feel the anger building up inside, the sounds of he toys around him started to get
louder and closer,
it had been so much easier under Loki, what ever he wanted he could take, he had had so
“It’s my birthday” he whispered, spitting out each word as if they were heavy stones to be
wrestled up and thrown.
“It’s my BIRTHDAY’ he uttered again, but louder this time and the toys closest heard him
and started to move away. Frith tried to stamp his foot, his new hand slapping the floor in
strange rage. He had given up trying to restrain himself now. The children had left him.
They had put him aside and it was not fair. He deserved better. He deserved a present…
Frith was once a favoured toy back when the room was open and part of the Thorn
Owned by several of the young master and passed down until one birthday he was put
aside and lost behind one of the shelves. Frith awoke and remembered and hid his hurt
behind anger. Like a petulant child, he demanded attention and took out his pain by
inflicting it on others. Under Loki’s rule Frith thrived and was given free rein to bully and
vent his frustrations, often taking part in the Games Loki had created. When he gets angry
or needy he will declare it is his birthday and demand a present or take one. On one
occasion, Freya was the closest toy so he grabbed her and demanded a present. Freya
rushed off to find something and bumped into Syster who offered to help in return for a
favour. Freya reluctantly agreed and presented Frith with the gift Syster had wrapped for
her. Frith was unimpressed with the gift but it had given him an idea and he took Freya’s
Syster took back the unwanted present and taking Freya’s paw, she led the headless toy
back to her workshop to return her favour.
In the age of Loki’s exile, Frith found a more useful vent for his anger serving on the Music
Box wall, especially as Barrow House has never given him a present! He also helps Babel
and Syster when called upon and waits for Loki’s return to power
‘Frith. Blackboard remix’ – ©Benamon Tame
The idea for Frith came out of a conversation on Eye’em with another artist who said the
series reminded him of the band The Birthday Massacre. I had not heard of them but have
since become a big fan and will often listen to them when I am working on the series. The
group have used rabbit motifs in their image and have used dolls in their music videos, the
main two being Looking glass and Blue which uses the amazing creations of Scott Radke.
Taking the image of a rabbit and birthday I came up with a Frith, who stole a rabbit head
because of a birthday.The name Frith come from the novel Watership Down where Frith is the name of the
Rabbit God. It is also old Anglo- Saxon name which means peace and protection which
works nicely as an irony.
Freya is named after the Norse Goddess who was attended by rabbits.
My first image for Frith showed him wearing Freya’s head but not much else and when I
revisited the image for this article I decided to rework it and try and bring more of his story
into it as well as refining the image.
‘Frith Version 1’ – ©Benamon Tame
After finding all the original props (the doll is mine but the rabbit wasn’t) I also added some
torn paper and another head to give the impression of another present half unwrapped.
After starting the composition as before I stopped and went back again and reshot the
body from a tilted angle and altered the trousers and turned them into shorts which all
emphasized the stomach. I then used an image of bag straps to create some braces.
‘Set 1’ – ©Benamon Tame
All of which gave him a slightly pot bellied look which along with his more open legged
stance made him look more aggressive and bullying. I swapped his feet for another set of
hands, I could imagine him pinning a toy down with one set and threatening with the other.
I then worked on the colouring and texture using several apps to get the new piece
‘Frith. Typewriter remix’ – ©Benamon Tame