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Alice in the Palace Experience at Blenheim Palace

Tadley artist Katy Stevens plays a part in this special Christmas extravaganza. From canvases to cards, her Falling into Wonderland paintings series will be on sale for all to see. She tells arts editor Trish Lee how it all came about

THE magic of Alice in Wonderland has been conjured up this Christmas at Blenheim Palace in a whimsical topsy-turvy wonderland – the Alice in the Palace experience – where visitors can step between the pages of a larger than life book, down the rabbit hole and along corridors filled with hidden surprises. From mirrored hallways, illusions and the Mad Hatter’s tea party to a world of make-believe, this festive indoor trail will leave you grinning like the Cheshire cat.

“In September this year, I was at a crossroads in my life and a stroke of luck took me to Blenheim," says artist Katy Stevens.

"I closed the door for the last time on Doodles, the arts and crafts retail shop in Tadley that I have been running for the last 11 years. It was an amazing experience for me overall and enabled me to progress with my painting as well as teaching adult art classes to aspiring artists over the years.

"But with the end of my lease looming, I decided to take Doodles online and take the plunge to pursue new opportunities with my art that I simply couldn’t do when I was tied to a shop.

"Two weeks before closing the shop, I discovered through an artist friend of mine that Blenheim Palace was
planning an Alice in the Palace event scheduled for this winter.

"It was an amazing stroke of luck that I heard about it as I’ve been painting a series of Wonderland paintings over the last two years consisting of three large scale paintings that depict Alice, The White Rabbit and The Mad Hatter and so I decided to approach them to see if they might be interested in including my work within their event.

"I was delighted to receive a response very quickly and was invited to meet with the team so that they could see my work for themselves. Within no time at all I was fulfilling an order to sell not only my large canvas prints, but also my whole range of merchandised products from mugs and tea towels, to coasters, smaller limited edition prints and placemats in their beautiful visitors centre.

"I am now selling my work at the most prestigious place imaginable and am busy fulfilling orders as every canvas print is worked on by hand and embellished with gold leaf, resins and sparkling elements that you will find in the original paintings. I still make time to continue with my art classes but now have much more time to focus on my work and am excited for the opportunities that lie ahead.

"If you’re a fan of Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice’, you’ll love Blenheim Palace this winter. The event is a magical one, a Wonderland like no other... there are Christmas markets and an illuminated lightshow to add to the experience all ending in the beautiful visitors centre where my paintings and merchandise are available to buy alongside a whole host of exquisite gifts, souvenirs and local artisans produce.”

Doodles is an online community presence for artists and artisans to showcase their work. Although the Tadley shop has closed, the website still has all the magic that made Doodles the Aladdin’s Cave it was. Visit www.doodlesonline.co.uk

Alice at the Palace closes at 5pm on December 2, 3, 9, 10, 31 and January 1-5, closed on December 25. The experience lasts approximately an hour. Combined tickets are available for the Illuminated Light Trail, Alice in the Palace and Christmas Market Timed entrance to Alice in the Palace and Illuminated Light Trail includes access to the Christmas Market. www.blenheimpalace.com/whats-on/events/alice-in-the-palace

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