How To Carry Event Themes Through the Decor

Event Design for In The Shadows

Our premier community art event for Block Paper Print combines 20th century Victorian and contemporary communication. In addition to the printmaking activities and cameo booth, we infuse Victorian style decor throughout the space to accentuate the theme. Here is how we carry the event theme through the activities to the decor:

Our festive October art event,  In the Shadows  links 20th century and contemporary communications technology through Victorian design.

Our festive October art event, In the Shadows links 20th century and contemporary communications technology through Victorian design.

Event Inspiration

Our main draw for inspiration is the work of Swiss painter and printmaker, Félix Vallotton (1865 - 1925). Vallotton's woodcut compositions are full of dualities: bold lights and darks, still characters in flowing decorative environments, melancholy and humor, and 19th Century European high-society settings with timeless themes. 

With minimal resources, we recreate stark positive and negative shapes throughout the space. 

Above: Vallotton woodcuts lyrical compositions. 


Best to start with a neutral environment, such as white walls and open floor plan. We’re lucky to have an empty space at the Cubberley Community Center in Palo Alto for such events. 

Silhouettes serve a predominate role in the event decor. We use a black, white, and red color scheme to emphasize shadows in our modern Victorian theme. 

Our Vallotton inspired cameo booth

Our Vallotton inspired cameo booth

Get art on the walls

Three print collections, each on a separate wall, guide the traffic around the space.  Placement of these portfolios is important as well. The first wall introduces the concept of the print portfolio using Block Paper Print workshop participant work. The second wall contains relief prints-excerpts from our print collection. The third wall displays Woodruff Coates relief work, additionally providing a backdrop for the print demonstrations. With this set-up, guests can view the versatile medium of relief printmaking through the works of fine-art printmakers in between artmaking activities and demonstrations.

Provide Activities

We keep guests busy through two live printmaking demonstrations, emoji calling card activities and an interactive cameo photo booth.

Guests step inside the booth and into the shadows to create a silhouette profile picture.

Guests step inside the booth and into the shadows to create a silhouette profile picture.

Devils in the Details | How-To's for Flow and Decor

  • Provide comfort for guests during the art demonstration. Place tall cocktail tables in a circular fashion around points of interest (we set ours around Charles’s etching press). 
  • Rent the tables and linens  (it's worth the minimal cost!) Decorate with simple thematic arrangements and simple centerpieces (we used felt cutouts of vintage candlesticks). Stackable white metal bar stools serve as studio-like perches for guests during the event.
  • Place floral arrangements to add visual breaks between artwork. To match the theme of In The Shadows we use leafless tree trimmings with faux skeleton bones in tall glass cylinders. Bird silhouettes cut from black cardboard nest in the branches with Spanish moss. Lush floral arrangements with seasonal berries and curly willow add height next to shorter arrangements. Blood red roses and seasonal burgundy mums were placed at varying heights amongst greenery for a wild and whimsy aesthetic. 
  • Provide a mix of sweet and savory treats, such as popcorn and chocolate lacy cookies in clear glass bowls on a black lace tablecloth. Faux skeletons specimens encased in glass ball jars (a nod to Victorian curiosities) with varying heights arrangements on milk glass pedestals. For those little thematic touches, we place sugar cameo buttons on top of Devil's food cupcakes with white cream cheese frosting.

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