The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

June 9, 2014

Former Ottumwan creates new wonderland for Alice

OTTUMWA — Jo Moore Stewart, formerly of Ottumwa, has spent the past two years building an 11-room custom palace. The palace has three floors, a grand foyer entrance yet only measures 36 1/2 inches high.

The palace is home to Alice, the protagonist of Lewis Carroll's "Alice's Adventure in Wonderland." Sixty custom doll versions of Alice depict scenes from the childhood classic.

"We are trying to form a museum of childhood, and my collection is through literature," said Stewart as she explained the origins of the idea.

Stewart was first inspired by a hologram depiction of Caroll's "Alice Through the Looking Glass." Stewart then chose to make the dollhouse centered around Alice because of her extensive Alice collection, which included 60 dolls that were each created by a different artist.

Alice's Palace is largely based on classic literature but also contains a handful of modern references, such as America's Got Talent star Jackie Evancho singing in the music room and Disney's Mickey Mouse visiting Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum in their bedroom.

Stewart also included pieces of her past in the house, including a piece from her own tea set. "The blue and white teacup is from my childhood tea set from Christmas in Ottumwa," explained Stewart. "I still have some of those pieces in tact." Stewart and her sister, Marie, can even be seen opening Christmas presents in a 1940s scene inside of the palace.

Stewart's work has landed her an extensive 11-page spread in the July issue of Miniature Collector, the world's premier dollhouse magazine.

— To see Danielle Lunsford's Twitter feed, follow @CourierDanielle.


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