Nativity Scene

So we have a small 8x10cm hole in a brick wall, how do we make a feature of it? The answer is to create Birmingham’s smallest nativity scene.

This time of year can be symbolised by a single recognisable image, that of the nativity. It is a warm, welcoming image bringing people together.

When one thinks of the nativity, we instantly see a picture of Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, wise men, a star and so on. There was a lot of imagery to consider when choosing what to include in the 8x10cm hole in the wall. This small canvas combined with the number of things I wanted to include, ultimately affected the overall design.

I created this scene by painting onto watercolour paper, cutting out each piece, and fixing them to mount board. They were then layered onto one another and secured to an outer frame. By layering each piece, I was able to include as many recognisable images as possible.   This technique also gives the impression of depth; you can clearly see people standing in front of each other.



The stars were the hardest feature to create, in that I did not want them to look static. In the end the frame of the piece was extended back, forming a small box. The back of the box was painted with cobalt-powdered dye to give a more natural night sky look. The small distant stars were fixed to the dark blue sky but their bright colour lifts them up. The main star was suspended from a thin thread, as you look closely in you can see the star gently turning, giving it a look of movement.

A small LED was fixed inside the box, behind the figures. The stars reflect the light making the box glow with warmth that creates a greater sense of life to the scene.

It is hoped that this is Birmingham’s smallest nativity, and even if it is the second smallest, it was still certainly a great joy to make and the biggest small design challenge I’ve faced so far.


If you are interested in viewing the Nativity Scene, and other work by MadeOnTheCanal, it is on show at 1000Trades, 16 Frederick St, Jewellery Quarter until the New Year.

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