Old Friends

A rather neat miniature chest with a unique opening mechanism by James Hastrich.

A rather neat miniature chest with a unique opening mechanism by James Hastrich.

Even though I’ve been making and selling miniatures for 10 or more years, and collecting for a bit longer, I still feel I am relatively new to the world of miniatures. Yet, even in that decade and a half, I see that the dealers on the show circuit are in constant flux. Many incredibly talented people, who’s work I adore, have stopped attending shows. Last week, I happened to be in the neighborhood of one such couple and was fortunate enough to be able to arrange a studio visit.

LInda LaRoche and James Hastrich in Linda's studio in their house in Kennebunk, Maine.

LInda LaRoche and James Hastrich in Linda’s studio in their house in Kennebunk, Maine.

Linda LaRoche and James Hastrich, IGMA Fellow and Artisan members, respectively, are two of the top talents in miniatures. Over the years they found that doing shows became counter productive to the creative processes they so enjoyed. They decided to stop trying to figure out what would sell at a show and focus instead on projects that interested them, and luckily enough, it has worked out to their satisfaction. Occasionally the project will originate from a collector’s request, at other times, from something they have seen and decided they’d like to replicate in miniature. These days they don’t necessarily work in standard dollhouse scale, having discovered that many collectors appreciate the pieces for their amazing construction and history and are not intent on fitting them into a larger scene.

A series of band boxes in graduated sizes by James Hastrich.

A series of band boxes in graduated sizes by James Hastrich.

James specializes in early American pieces with painted finishes, while Linda prefers the carving process, showing us a recently completed commission of a pair of Federal period chairs with intricately carved details. James is currently working on a Shaker tailor’s cupboard with unusual folding doors. As with many of the pieces he replicates, he sought and received special permission from the museum which owns the original to photograph and take accurate measurements from it. Even his working drafts qualify as art, and the museum has requested a set of the drawings in return for granting him access.

Work in progress, James' detailed drawing of the Shaker cupboard.

Work in progress, James’ detailed drawing of the Shaker cupboard.

It was such a pleasant and inspiring visit, I couldn’t resist wrapping it up without leaving a request of my own. Maybe a holiday gift to myself?

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The Party’s Over…and its Just Beginning

Sue Krzysko doing a little shopping at the Guild Show.

Sue Krzysko doing a little shopping at the Guild Show.

The end of something is almost always the beginning of something else, and the end of the Guild Show 2014 last weekend meant the start of the Guild Show 2015, but maybe more importantly, it meant a bit of a vacation and time to be creative in different ways. And after such an intense period of concentration, the creativity burst out in several different directions. Its all good and will all infuse and reinvigorate the soul for the next experience.

New IGMA Fellow member Teresa Layman and her daughter at the 35th Anniversary Celebration.

New IGMA Fellow member Teresa Layman and her daughter at the 35th Anniversary Celebration.

The 35th Anniversary Guild Show was a tremendous amount of fun. There are so many miniature shows one can attend these days, that you might wonder what is so special about the Guild Show. For that very reason, the International Guild of Miniature Artisans has moved in a unique direction to make their show a weekend long experience. It helps that it is held just the other side of the river from New York City and attendees can pop into town to take advantage of the many cultural attractions; on their own or on one of the show committee’s organized trips-to take in a Broadway show, or to shop the many and varied stores in the garment district for trims and materials that you may not be able to find at your local craft shops back home.

Enjoying the free make and take on Sunday at the Guild Show.

Enjoying the free make and take on Sunday at the Guild Show.

The Guild is also well known for their educational offerings and the show is another venue for learning. Classes are, and were, offered in lengths ranging from a few hours, to a full day and sometimes longer. Free learning opportunities were available as well, the Desserts and Demonstrations Friday evening before the show was a chance to sit down with artists and learn a little about how they make their pieces. On Sunday, there was free crafting enjoyed by all-from those of elementary school age, to-ahem, the well past elementary school age attendees.

All told, many excellent reasons to attend the Guild Show, and as a bonus, for Guild members, its free! And now, to begin work on the Guild Show 2015.

 

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Have You Ever?

Learn how to punch 1/12 scale tin panels for a pie safe or other project with Bill Hurd.

Learn how to punch 1/12 scale tin panels for a pie safe or other project with Bill Hurd.

Have you ever wondered how to work with some of those polymer clays? How about how to make authentic looking finger joints on some of those miniature boxes you’ve seen on Pam and Pete Boorum’s table? Maybe you’ve wondered if you should switch to LED lights for your next project. Well, you might find the answers to some of your questions at the 35th Anniversary Guild Show’s Gathering of the Guild Friday night August

Barbara Studebaker will be demonstrating how to work crazy quilting in 1/12 scale.

Barbara Studebaker will be demonstrating how to work crazy quilting in 1/12 scale.

8th. Now, that doesn’t really sound like a great place to find answers, but you might not know that the Gathering is also known as Desserts and Demonstrations and 12 artists are getting ready to let you in on a few of their secrets.

Betsey Baker and Sue Veeder will be demonstrating how to work with Super Sculpey. Betsey uses it to sculpt the wonderful dolls’ heads that give her creations such personality and

See how Jane Graber adds the decoration to her hand thrown pots and plates prior to firing.

See how Jane Graber adds the decoration to her hand thrown pots and plates prior to firing.

Sue will demonstrate how her cats come to life with that polymer clay.

Tim Kraft, lighting master extraordinaire, will demonstrate LED lighting techniques, warm versus cool lighting and what effects that can have on a miniature scene.

Jane Graber will be demonstrating how she decorates the fine

Patricia Richards will demonstrate how to braid a rag rug in 1/12 scale.

Patricia Richards will demonstrate how to braid a rag rug in 1/12 scale.

stone and redware she makes preparatory to firing. Slip-trailing, painting and sgraffito are all used at various times and for various effects.

Jim Pounder’s exquisite sculptures are done with the lost wax casting process; stop by his table to see exactly how that process works.

In total, there will be 12 different topics being discussed and demonstrated at the Gathering of the Guild that Friday evening prior to the Guild Show. Stop by, find out what you don’t know and enjoy reconnecting with your mini friends over a tasty bite from the free and bountiful dessert bar-or the more healthful selections, if that’s your preference!

 

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