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THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES

The Field Guide & The "Seeing Stone"
If the house is a character and the film's key set, then The Field Guide has to be its main prop. Property Master Claire Alary points out that "The Field Guide is the most important prop in the film, because it constantly informs the story and is the reason why all of the chaos in the story begins. Jared finds this book in a chest in the study and he starts looking through it and realizes that it is all about the fantastical world around him, and concurrently begins to realize that it's the source of all the family's problems in the house.” Once Jared opens the book – despite warnings from Thimbletack – the problems only multiply.

Following production designer James Bissell's overall design plan, the art department created The Field Guide, using diaries and journals from the early part of the 20th century as models. They also looked at handwriting samples, and even evolved a font that they used for Arthur Spiderwick's own handwriting.

"The Field Guide is more of a product of Arthur Spiderwick, a man who is a naturalist, who studied the unseen world over the span of about 15 to 20 years and documented the enchanted world around him. He transcribed all of his notes into a book that he had hoped would illuminate this world he knew existed to the world at large. When audiences get a glimpse of The Field Guide, hopefully they will sense the presence of Arthur Spiderwick and the almost two decades he spent working on it,” Alary says.

The enchanted realm Arthur Spiderwick uncovers is an unseen world whose creatures are only discernible to the human eye with the help of magical aids. So, the other unique prop in the film is the "seeing stone,” a magical hollow rock that, with the use of various lenses, allows the viewer to see the otherwise invisible, enchanted world. "We've all come across stones on the ground that have little holes in them. And when you look through them, you tend to see things somewhat differently. It's almost magical, and sometimes what you see through them gives you a somewhat different perception of reality,” muses Bissell. "Arthur Spiderwick, who was very mechanically inclined, built a holder for the "seeing stone” and he designed several different lenses that allowed the viewer to see various types of enchanted creatures like sprites and ogres. These special lenses were extraordinary, particularly given the period in which Arthur Spiderwick lived. Meinert Hansen, one of our art department illustrators, helped design them and local craftsmen beautifully executed his concepts.”

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