LESLI Sharples (pictured) used to travel all over the globe... but when health problems restricted her horizons, she started creating miniature worlds of her own.
And now a big talking point for visitors to The World of Glass are the amazing little peep-show style boxes into which Lesli has crammed extraordinary landscapes created from her own imagination.
Lesli is one of a group of artists exhibiting in Trial and Retrieval, the St Helens museum’s latest free exhibition.
But she admits she was shocked when she first walked into the foyer of The World of Glass and saw the space.
“When I was asked ‘Can you fill all this?’, my knees went all wobbly and I tried not to show my shock. But as it turned out the response to my work has been amazing.”
Her work may appear small in scale but when visitors peer into each little box through its special lens, they are often overwhelmed by the size and scope of the visions she creates.
The remarkable effects are achieved by means of clever lighting, mirrors, optical lenses and little electric motors.
Some scenes come purely from her imagination while others start from real life locations and events.
Lesli’s life changed when she was diagnosed with osteo-arthritis three years ago and had to give up her job as a property valuer and her hobbies of travelling and exercising.
She took up painting, sculpture and photography and started on a fine art degree but found travelling or even standing for any time beyond her physical scope.
Then her course leader, Robert Williams, suggested she could try going small and she never looked back.
Lesli has since had a major exhibition in London and been awarded a life membership of the Royal British Society of Sculptors.
Robert Williams, who works with his son Jack Aylward-Williams, also features in Trial and Retrieval along with fellow international artists Caroline Dalton and Kevin Philips.
The exhibition runs at The World of Glass until July 10.