The Marlow family are very close friends of ours. Pam and Phil are the same age as my parents, and they all knew each other before I was born. Their children are a little younger than my sister and me, and our families used to camp in the sandhills together every Easter when I was young. These days, Pam helps me with my fortnightly shopping.
Pam has several creative pursuits, for example she writes haiku and couples it with photographs. She is hopeful of publication, and I hope to have more to say about her haiku in the future.
She has also occasionally built models, particularly of old buildings and towns. In the year 2000, for a university topic then called Advanced Professional English and later re-named Creative Non-Fiction, I interviewed Pam and wrote an article about her model-making adventures.
The article I wrote is reproduced below for your pleasure.
The Thousand Pictures of Pam Marlow
If an old building has gone forever, explains Pam Marlow, then whether it’s represented in words, paper, or even with a photograph, none of these media can truly capture the reality that was. “The best way to represent the busyness, the activity, the processes that were going on,” says Pam, “is to build a model.” When she talks about her craft, it’s clear that her enthusiasm goes far beyond the raw creative process – a recurring theme is her passion for accuracy. “Nothing’s worse than a model that kinda looks okay on the outside,” she says, “but when you look into it you see that it’s just a facade.” The walls of a stone building must be precisely the right thickness “otherwise the building doesn’t look like a building; it doesn’t look as though it should stand up.” To get the colour right, Pam likes to make her own paints by grinding local rocks into a powder. “I really enjoy when people look at my models and almost get a thrill of recognition that this looks real but tiny. They sometimes express the feeling that they could just imagine walking into the building if they were small enough, and that gives me enormous satisfaction.”
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