Watch “The Ballad of Holland Island House,” The Story of a House Falling into the Sea Told Through Clay-on-Glass Animation and Song

by Owen James Burke

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Screenshot from Lynn Tomlinson’s “The Ballad of Holland Island House

Low-lying Holland Island was one of many Victorian-era fishing settlements along the Chesapeake Bay that have tumbled into the sea. Life was all well and good when fish stocks were high and the water was still low. Then as the seas rose, many families disassembled their houses and made sail for higher ground. This one did not.

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Screenshot from Lynn Tomlinson’s “The Ballad of Holland Island House

Through mediums of song and and oil-based clay paint, artist Lynn Tomlinson tells the story of the Holland Island House, which stood lone and proud as Holland Island teetered above the Chesapeake until 2010.

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Screenshot from Lynn Tomlinson’s “The Ballad of Holland Island House

Now home to blue crabs and sea perch, the house rests fully submerged in the shallow, murky mudflats of the bay.

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Tomlinson looked to paintings from the late 1800s for inspiration, including those of Winslow Homer and Vincent Van Gogh. Screenshot from Lynn Tomlinson’s “The Ballad of Holland Island House

Watch the short animation accompanied by a haunting eastern shore folk ballad, with lyrics also by Tomlinson (music by Anna & Elizabeth).

And here’s the behind the scenes–Tomlinson painted every frame by hand and then photographed them.

See more of Tomlinson’s work on her website. — OJB

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