Monday, July 14, 2008

The Plight of the Miniature Artist











As soon as one says "dollhouse" the first thought that comes to mind is toys, or a dollhouse for the little girl. Dollhouse Miniatures are not considered toys, nor are they appropriate for children; which you will note in some of the miniature shops. This is a hobby which many are involved in, and then again, something that many know nothing about. Although I have had a miniature shelf (originally a printer’s case for their letters) for many years, and was collecting miniature items; I came to learn about the world of miniatures through one of my oldest friends, who as an artist started out as a textile designer, then started making Persian designed carpets for dollhouses. The exact dimensions of each piece of work are so real like, that I became interested in this field, even doing shows with my friend in LasVegas and Atlantic City (yes, we did have time to gamble a little!). I then started working for quite a few years in a Dollhouse Miniature shop, where dollhouses and their accessories were geared for adults, and quite costly. Often I would find myself telling children, "please don't touch"! Of course we did have furniture for children, which were towards the back of the store, and would quickly guide the little children back there. The craftsmanship in making something 1/12" scale is quite a difficult and comprising task. When one views the items made, they are so real like, it is impossible to believe that they are only 1/12" in size.
Recently I discovered that there are quite a few shops on Etsy selling “miniature items. A few of the many shops listed are: www.Lilwitchy.etsy.com, www.bluekittyminatures.etsy.com, www.ladyartisandolls.etsy.com, www.bassombear,etsy.com. (the cutest little bearsin this shop!)www.goldenunicornminis.etsy.com, www.polkadottoadstool.etsy.com, www.bluecrawdad..etsy.com, one of my favorite shops, www.TheHauntedHollowTree.etsy.com, of which I own a few of her beautiful pictures. For those of you who have not experienced the world of miniatures, I do recommend that you take a moment to look at the real-like items in their shops. Within the Forums you will find one group of miniature artists' "MiniMakers". Another group,"DAM" , which stands for Dolls and Miniatures, are currently attempting to start their own Etsy team. Lisa of “LilWitchy” (the artist of the miniature “Quija Board” which is pictured) specializes in mostly 1:12 scale Miniatures for Witch's Haunted Dollhouses"; and “BlueKitty Miniatures” (who designed the beautiful wedding caked pictured), and "Ladyartisandolls", are a few of the members of who make up “DAM” . While like other teams here on Etsy who chat away about life, families and their craft, they are also trying to get people to understand exactly what miniatures are. As they describe themselves, they are miniature artists creating collectible objects in 1:8, or 1:12" scale for dollhouse/room box settings or even curio cabinets. Miniatures are an old and distinguished hobby, from private collections to museums including the Smithsonian, whose owners value the skill necessary to create tiny objects. They are not children's toys as much as tiny works of art.
Both groups, the "MiniMakers", and "DAM", have tried without little success to get Etsy to provide them with their own specific tag, which would make shopping for miniatures much easier for those looking for that "little" extra something. Taken from a thread posted on June 24, 2008 by “Ladyartisandolls”, "for at least two years, possibly longer, art doll artists, miniaturists, and non-toy dollmakers have been trying to get categories set up for their particular art here on Etsy. We’re consistently frustrated by the difficulty buyers and collectors encounter while trying to find our work. We regularly have customers tell us they would never find us on Etsy if we didn’t send them a direct link. Other doll artists and miniaturists who haven’t yet signed up on Etsy hesitate to do so because there is no clear category on Etsy for them to list their items." According to Lisa, of “LilWitchy”, there is a legislation in the UK which prohibits listing any dollhouse item as a toy. I invite you all to take a look at some of the shops, and view just a few of the very unique items I have listed; and I also ask that perhaps you can convo them in support of their mission in getting Etsy to provide them with their own specific tag, or sign their petition in support of the “MiniMakers.” Here’s a link to their petition: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/add-a-dolls-category-on-Etsy .
I hope you can all take a "mini" moment of your time to sign this petition to help these very creative miniature artists towards their goal of gaining their own tag on Etsy.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Magdalene: The Actress!

















When I am not busy working on my jewelry, or chatting in the Forums, one can find me busy sitting at my sewing machine. Besides making quilts, I have been the costume designer and makeup artist for our local theater group for the past 6 years. So for the past few weeks, I have been busy designing and making the costumes for our summer play, Alice in Wonderland.
Each summer our theatre group, The Fort Hill Players, puts on 10 free performances for children in different parks around our area. Our first performance is tonight! Last week was what is known in the theatre world as “hell week.” Dress Rehearsal every night. I also did most of the props for the play also. The Queen’s chair and the scroll for the White Rabbit are just a few that I did. My daughter Kelly has been performing with this theatre group for 7 years, her first performance was in one of our summer productions, she was Wilbur in “Charlotte’s Web.” This year she is the White Rabbit. I have the part of the Knave of Hearts which is wonderful; I don’t have to learn one line (because he doesn’t speak!). I must admit this play was one of the more exciting one’s that I have worked on. Besides the fact that both my daughter and I love the story of Alice in Wonderland; there are so many fun and fanciful costumes to make.
Our theatre group also does two major productions during the year, one in October and one in March, which are for adults. I have had small parts in a few of those productions. My daughter is the actress! as well as being director and at other times, Stage Manager. The profits from these shows are what fund our free theatre in the parks. As soon as we finish our summer shows, I will be starting the costumes for our October play. This local theatre group has been in existence for almost 70 years now. Coincidentally, my mother was also in this theatre group in the 50’s, and started out as their makeup artist, then went into acting. So I guess the theatre bug runs in the family.
Enjoy the pictures of the show and the costumes. And while you are probably reading this on my blog, I will be out there in one of the many parks performing. The group picture is of our crew and staff – I am the one sitting on the corner of the desk and my daughter is standing next to me.

Saturday, July 5, 2008