mixed bag studio


The Island of Mixed Bag (see Great Button Bridge on left)

A number of years ago, I stumbled across the Great Button Bridge. Having crossed it, I found myself on the island of Mixed Bag. The Baggles (a small friendly group that inhabit the island) showed me around their world, and invited me to stay for a while.


My Mixed Bag studio

If you look at the map above, you can see an ‘X’ mark on the southern strait of Mixed Bag — that’s where my husband built my studio. It’s the ideal spot for a studio because I can see the craggy Bootlace Cliffs in front of me, and the white flats of the Marshmallow Fields to my left. The Baggles live in between the First and Second Marshmallow Fields, so are close enough to call in and give me story ideas fairly regularly.

The studio has a beautiful red door, and a large skylight that allows natural light to flood my red desk. A crazy collection of wooden cubes fill the back wall, and are stuffed solid with picture books, novels, reference books on monsters and spells, magazines, atlases and much more. Boxes of colouring pencils, paint brushes, markers, plus reams of paper and bundles of drawing, tracing, and painting pads litter the surface of my desk and the floor. In between the chaos I have managed to fit a very comfortable faux leather chair and my trusty mac laptop, as well as an over-sized light box and a scanner/printer.

When I first came to Mixed Bag, the Baggles warned me not to venture too far north of my studio. Of course, being a naturally curious (nosy) human I had to investigate. On my third or fourth visit, I found a vast Rubbertree Forest just beyond the Baggles’ village, populated by what I later learned was Mixed Bag’s one and only ferocious Bearbat. Once I’d stopped screaming and running from the ferocious Bearbat, I realised that I had managed to skirt around the edge of the forest, and was standing in front of the Zipper Valley — home to a very extraordinary witch called Witchomena [that’s Witchomena there on the left, with her six-legged dachshund familiar Lettuce]. 


Witchomena and her familiar, Lettuce

 At first she was like that witch from Hansel and Gretel…you know, all sweet and nice, but it didn’t take long for her to show her true self. Since meeting her, she has cast many mean spells on me — none have worked of course, because she’s not a very good witch. 

I regularly visit the island to write and draw, and hang out with one of my best friends, Asparagus (Lettuce’s twin brother), and the Baggles.


All images & text © Julianna O’Callaghan