Its a bit of a siren song for me and the pull is very strong.
After discovering miniatures, it didn’t take long to begin coveting the truly fabulous work coming from American and international artists at shows like the Guild Show and the Chicago International. I knew, though, that there was another wonderful show in London, with dealers that rarely crossed the pond to show in America. I finally got a chance to attend the Kensington Dollshouse Festival in London a few years ago with my sister, and we had a ball. We stretched the trip into a week, taking in the show and a whole host of other activities. Two years later I had the chance to return, this time as a dealer and as a teacher at the IGMA classes now being offered in the days just prior to the show. What a terrific opportunity to combine miniatures and travel!
This year the Kensington Dollshouse Festival takes place May 13 and 14, with the IGMA classes being held Tuesday, May 10 through Thursday May 12, immediately preceding the show. The classes on offer this year will be taught by Geoff Wonnacott/furniture, Tine Krijnen/bookbinding and Jamie Carrington/costuming and will range from 1 to 3 days in length. The dates may seem like eons away now-but those able to plan this far in advance will find many hotels offering quite nice deals. Be sure to consider adding a few extra days to your stay, London is jam packed with fascinating museums, historic houses and cultural destinations enough to fill months of vacation time!
By now everyone who has pre-registered for the 2016 session should have received their copy of the catalog in the mail. If you haven’t pre-registered, or have never attended Guild School, pick a catalog up at a miniatures show, School Director Barbara Davis will be at the Philadelphia Miniaturia next weekend (November 6-8), or check out the catalog on line. This year there are 52 classes on the schedule, in varying lengths from 12 to 48 hours. If you opt for a 48 hour class, you’re done, no other choices to consider, but if you choose a class of fewer hours, you can stack them up until you reach 48 hours-just make sure they don’t overlap! Any combination of 12, 24 and 36 hours, all in one media, or mix them up-you can always sleep when you get back home.
Each class description will give you a good idea of what work will be involved. Will there be a lot of power tool usage, are you likely to finish in class-or will additional work be required, how much previous experience is necessary to navigate the class successfully? To navigate the week-no experience is necessary, but each class has its own recommendations, and for the best learning experience for you and everyone else in the class, please observe and obey the experience guidelines!
And for those who have pre-registered, remember that the School Director needs your completed registration form in her hands, not postmarked, in her hands, by November 20.
Four well-known and veteran IGMA instructors will be teaching at the 2016 Colonial Williamsburg Study Program this coming January. If you’ve had the opportunity to take one of their classes-at Guild School or in other study programs-you know you are pretty much guaranteed an excellent learning experience. I won’t say that you will leave the class with a piece that looks exactly like the instructor’s, but you will be satisfied with the time spent, and the skills practiced.
So, what is on the agenda for the 2016 program? There will be two furniture classes, a structure and an accessory class, representing a variety of skill levels and differing amounts of work involved before your project will be complete.
How much are you up for? Going alphabetically, Bonni Backe will be teaching a class on basketmaking. There were no tupperware containers or plastic shopping bags in the 18th and 19th century. If you needed to carry things around or store them in your house, you frequently made your own containers, and baskets, served that purpose quite often. Students will use black-ash splint to weave a 1/12 scale market basket on a rectangular form. When that is done, the class will move on to replicating a small basket from the Colonial Williamsburg collection that features a decorative pattern of painted splints.
Iulia Chin Lee will be teaching a class replicating a mid-18th century tea table from Virginia with ogee molded edges around its rectangular table top and gracefully shaped cabriole legs. The enjoyment of tea was a common social interaction in many communities and this table would have been a source of pride for any colonial housewife.
Peter Kendall specializes in teaching the building of structures, always thoroughly researched and meticulously planned out. This class will feature, in 1/12 scale, the construction of two walls of a small study in the Governor’s Palace, a bookcase wall and the adjoining wall with a recessed window and window seat.
Bill Studebaker has chosen a cellarette as the inspiration for his class, though in the 18th century, it was most likely called a bottle case. In those days, it was necessary to lock up smaller, and more valuable household items, anything from sugar to wine. This class will be making 2 pieces, the upper box with hinged lid, and a fitted stand with drawer.
Check out the IGMA website for more information on the classes and the program, including how to register.