Playing marbles

If you give an artist a paintbrush…


She’ll paint things–

Like pillars made out of pine. She’ll paint them to look like marble.

And if she paints the top-


She’ll want to paint the bottom.

Before the brushes are cleaned, she may as well paint other things–

Here’s a panel with an Elizabethan-inspired sign of the zodiac.

photo 1

I’m a Pisces and I like a short walk to the pub–Pen Austin

And another…

photo 2

And more still, until all 12 signs are ready to be put in the heavens above.

photo 1

To fix them in the heavens above, they’ll need to fashion a frame for the panels.


And the panels will need those painted pillars to bear the weight of the heavens.





photo 4

If you make the over and above, you’ll need a stage below on which humans may do their business on this mortal coil.

So, with a little help, the New Napkin Stage is raised by the players.


Their leader will need a proper vantage from which to view the proceedings.

He’ll gain a balcony.

But a balcony wants railings and railings want support.

So they’ll call upon a bearded joiner to turn 45 balusters on a spring pole lathe.


These are made from green oak, in the style of the sort turned by a German woman for Shakespeare’s Globe in London.

These, in turn, were made in the style of those wrought 400 years past.

She turned 500 or so.

Once the bearded guy takes his foot off the lathe and the balcony is set up, the other bearded guy can take it all in.

photo 3 (2)

Things began to make sense.

photo 4 (2)

Once the pillars are painted, the heavens secured, and the stage fashioned, the players and their leader will want to perform plays.

And if they perform, they’ll want people to come see them.

So they’ll plug their play and make room for everyone to come see it in a special place against a river in an old mill town.

On the Piazza

Photo by John Riedell–

And some of the people will see the marble pillars and wonder how they were made…


If you give an artist a paintbrush…



The Worcester Shakesepeare Company’s production of Shakespeare’s, The Merry Wives of Windsor continues Thursdays-Sundays now through August 24th:

Pen Austin is a plasterer/artist from Leicester, UK and Nantucket, MA. Her work is the best. Never challenge her to an arm wrestle, however. 

This year’s work on the stage builds on last year’s— for further info, contact MLB Restorations at 1 508 277-4468

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7 thoughts on “Playing marbles

  1. Richard Law says:

    Mind you lad, all the world’s a stage, tha knows.

  2. graemeu says:

    Nice job all round, hopefully the ‘other bearded guy’ will need a new set of oak and art for 12 months hence and blue oak can mark the revolutions of the globe around the sun with a digital play on the evolutions of The Globe

  3. pfollansbee says:

    Her paint work is astounding. thanks for posting it. Great to see the stage coming together. In theory I resume turning on Tues/Wed…

  4. Matt Sinclair says:

    “The Bearded jointer.” I Think that should be the name of Peters next web site.

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