Hey Diddle Diddle

Text by Mother Goose & Elizabeth McKee

In December 2006, while living in Moscow, Russia, I bought some raffle tickets at the International Women's Club Annual Christmas Bazaar. Rather than the hoped for airline tickets to someplace warm I won a set of six stained glass enamel spoons from the workshop of Yevgeny Butenko




valued at $700 and a question—what does one do with a set of six stained glass enamel spoons?


In the first opening of this book one of the teaspoons is transformed into Spoon, the heroine of the poem Hey Diddle Diddle, dressed in her traveling cloak and waiting for the dish, Wally, to come spirit her away. On the wall to her left is a poster advertising Cat’s concert. Beyond that, outside the window, Bessie the cow is jumping over the moon and a small hyena that Wally kidnapped to create a diversion, is laughing plaintively. On the small table is a note from Wally confirming the time of his arrival and in the drawer we find a tiny copy of the poem which celebrates this night. In the window behind Spoon a small light helps to illuminate her stained glass features. Turning the book around we find the epilogue of the tale. The actors have been given histories beyond the nursery rhyme and Spoon is transformed from a young, romantic eloper into a tragic heroine trapped in the memory of her great adventure. Around the corner to the left of the epilogue is a small door behind which is the colophon.


Closed, the book is H 8.75″ x W 13″ x D 4⅛ ″. Opened it is H 9″ x W 26⅛″ x 10″.

It is housed in a beautiful clamshell box

H 9″ x W 14¾ ″ x D 5″ that includes a small drawer for spare batteries in the foredge of the top tray. Mostly hidden magnets are used for closures throughout the book. The text and titles were printed on a Vandercook press on Rives BFK paper. The titles and poem were later embellished with watercolor painted on by hand. Along with green and brown Italian book cloth and oriental papers the book is covered with assorted cloth that I made into book cloth. This is book # 4 of an edition of 6.


Here is a 1 min & 17 second video showing how it opens.

Yevgeny Butenko YouTube video 1 YouTube video 2

And here is a 40 second  closer version with it all set up.