A Castle for Christmas

Tis’ the season to be creative, as people take to decorating their homes and Christmas trees in celebration of the holidays. Jill Wissing, longtime  Cary resident and creator of architectural scale models, recently completed a miniature Christmas castle that is as impressively crafted as it is beautiful.

“I’ve been making models of houses since I was in elementary school. As an adult, I saw a display of Christmas houses and castles, and I added that to my bucket list of things I would build someday,” said Wissing.

Her  masterpiece model is approximately 2 feet wide by 4 feet long by 4 feet high, and took about four years to complete.

“I started mentally planning, and collected bits and pieces over the years. About four years ago, I started drafting out my plans on paper,” said Wissing. The castle’s details are  astonishing, featuring amenities that only become more interesting as you discover them.

Describing its exterior, Wissing says, “The castle itself is made of wood, covered with molded plastic sheets for ’stonework,’ and features architectural trim along the roof and windows made from the plastic prongs that organize Christmas lights and the inner dividers that separate Bendicks Bittermints, one of my favorite candies.”

Just as intriguing, the castle’s interior features a kitchen, chapel complete with stained “glass” windows, a great hall, and a holiday themed workshop filled with toys and elves’ dormitory with a pool table and a roulette table with an actual spinning wheel — “a keychain my grandmother gave me,” said Wissing.

Other notable features include chandeliers and framed paintings decorating the walls and ceilings, and a Christmas tree decorated with lights and ornaments Wissing made from beads and earrings.

She says the biggest challenge of the entire project was constructing its two circular staircases. 

Wissing, who has built many houses, shadowboxes and scale model homes for people over the years, says it’s the storytelling that enthralls her about the miniature projects.

“I get to tell a story about a special place, or time, or life. Then that memory is frozen in time, in a way that's visual and size-efficient.”

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