A Story of Spring
Children’s book illustrator and author Anna Walker recreated one of the Wheeler Centre’s conversations in miniature for Spring Fling: A Short Series of Big Ideas.
Anna Walker’s Story Houses were born during Melbourne’s first lockdown.
Confined to her neighbourhood, Anna installed a small wooden box in her front garden, easily visible to passersby. At the front was a window and inside was a simple scene of a bear reading in bed.
Anna created a new scene almost every month throughout 2020 and 2021, constructing them painstakingly out of felt, recycled cardboard and paint. They were christened ‘Story Houses’ because they invited people to step into a world away from lockdown and enter the story of the creature inside the box.
‘It was a place in which I could escape the news of the day and lose myself in a world of the imagination,’ says Anna. ‘Sometimes I would hear children discovering the house among the leaves, exclaiming with delight. And that made me smile too.’
Future scenes included a grasshopper painting in its studio, a crocodile with its cat on the couch, and a tribute to Anna’s favourite local café.
In early 2022 she held an exhibition of her Story Houses with fellow children’s book author Zana Fraillon in partnership with the Wheeler Centre at Melbourne CBD gallery, No Vacancy.
For Spring Fling, Anna was invited to create a bespoke Story House to display at the Wheeler Centre during the series.
The scene re-imagines the Wheeler Centre’s performance space in an Australian bush setting. A cicada interviewer sits in conversation with a butterfly author who has written a story of spring. The pair are surrounded by plants, the colours of which were chosen from a palette of pink flowering gums, silver dollar gums, native grasses and Yam Daisy (Murnong), a motif found throughout the Spring Fling design.
‘I hope when people see the Spring Story House that they will get a sense of the joy the creatures bring to me,’ Anna says.
Watch the making of the Spring Fling Story House above.
Anna Walker’s Spring Fling Story House will be on display in the foyer of the Wheeler Centre at 176 Little Lonsdale Street from 2 November 2022.
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