It’s a Coilhouse!

You know how, as a child, you have that one vivid dream that you remember for the rest of your life? Mine was about this snail house. This exact one. I must have been about five or six. I dreamt that I was lost alone in the woods, in a very eerie Hedgehog in the Fog kind of way. Wandering through the hazy forest, shivering as the twigs creaked underneath my feet, I came upon a little house that was shaped like a giant snail, with windows illuminated by old-fashioned kerosene lamps. There, a kindly lady with white hair and a hunched back waited for me. She was the innkeeper, and the snail house was her inn… or maybe it wasn’t an inn, maybe it was some sort of safe house for lost wanderers. I don’t remember. At any rate, she sat me down and served me buttered pierogi, tea and warm milk. She asked me to help her run the house, I gladly agreed. The longer I stayed, the more a part of me the house became; physically, and mentally. For example, I could make the house move from place to place with my mind. When I woke up in real life, I kept shutting my eyes and wishing I could go back. It was the most comfortable place I’d ever been.

I never thought I’d see that place so clearly again, so imagine my shock when I stumbled across this lovely dollhouse by Russian-born, Helsink-based artist Ilona. Ilona, who has no site, only a modest LJ, sculpted every detail of the tiny house, from the shell exterior to the tiny paper magazines on a shelf inside. She was apparently inspired by this image, which she found on a Russian LiveJournal community “for people who love snails.” (Oh, and here’s a totally inappropriate picture from this community to totally ruin the mood of this nostalgic post. Enjoy!). But I digress. This dollhouse is completely magical to me. I love the images of the snail-house by day, but I love it even more by night, because that’s when it most resembles the snail-house in my dream. But what really stopped me was the title. It’s called The Boarding House “At Snail’s.” It sounds better in Russian because the word “snail” is a very soothing, gentle word – ulitka.

14 Responses to “It’s a Coilhouse!”

  1. Patricia Says:

    Wow, that is fantastic and your story goes so well with it. You can see the love put into that project. Thank you :)

  2. Jerem Morrow Says:

    What a wonderful piece!

  3. R. Says:

    This made my morning. Thank you. ^_^

  4. tymcode Says:

    That gastropod tit-job is not that inappropriate on a symbolic level. Ever seen the 1991 re-release of Spartacus, with its extra footage discussing preferences of snails to oysters?

    Taking it a bit farther, ever seen Peter Greenaway’s ZOO: A Zed and Two Noughts? I won’t even try to describe that one, and YouTube doesn’t have anything from the progression I’m thinking of, but I’ll leave you with at least this clip of time-lapse animal carcasses rotting.

    –Mike Jennings

  5. sascha Says:

    What a satisfying feeling to find something you only dreamt about as a child. I had this this same feeling when I finally got to the gardens at Versailles. I had this one dream about a manicured garden, and running through trails in the woods, a la The Secret Garden. Words can’t describe, I’m glad you experienced this.

  6. Vivacious G Says:

    That. Is. Awesome.

  7. velveteenbright Says:

    This is very inspiring and somehow very appropriate for the season. It has such a wintery feel to it.

  8. la mome neant Says:

    That snail house is a dream! I had a plastic pumpkin house as a kid that now I remember. Don’t you feel like you want to shrink and jump inside?
    Di you tell the artist about your dream?

    I deeply hope I’ll dream of the snail house next time I sleep!!

  9. christiane Says:

    oh that really reminds me of Patrick Woodroffe’s artwork. awesome :)

  10. Heather Says:

    i had a similiar, habitual dream as a child. I’d leave my house and walk west into the wilds next to our property, go down, cross a bridge, and find myself in this lovely massive house, all dark brown wood. I never saw anyone there but beyond it was an endless green field which I could run and run in. I miss the dream. Even looking at a map of the area west of that house makes my head feel a little swimmy (I don’t live there anymore)

    sometimes I wonder if this lodging place is a sort of communal place of respite for child dreamers and that we all just see different aspects of it.

  11. Cass Says:

    You may find these terrifying or delightful :)

  12. BlueAnchorNatasha Says:

    How neat! That you found something real that you dreamed of. Your dream reminds me a bit of Howl’s Moving Castle, what with the moving house and all.

  13. Tequila Says:

    My grandmother has something kind of like that on her nightstand. It was of course much simpler but it was a series of lil houses made of assorted shells…snail shells, sea shells, some odd man made ones. They always fascinated me since as simple as they were they had wonderful lil details like windows, stairs, plants, and for some odd reason pets but no owners.

    Love the above piece though. Beautiful attention to detail on all fronts and an exquisite sense of color and texture. Why can’t houses be like that?

  14. sean (connery) Says:

    i absolutely love stuff like this. the amount of care and detail put into the work really set it apart.

    i had a bizarre recurring dream as a kid, and my twin brother remembers it as well, but we can’t remember which of us actually had the dream and which of us described it to the other. (unless we shared it, which i can’t really rule out, i suppose.)

    i had a similarly vivid dream around middle school, where i found a path through the fence behind our house that led to this magical glade cottage thing, and i actually got kind of depressed for a few days when i woke up and had to go back to school.