Colonial Williamsburg in the Winter

Bright sunshine streams in through the wigmaker's bow-fronted window.

Bright sunshine streams in through the wigmaker’s bow-fronted window.

There are many places you might not be eager to visit in the cold dark days of winter, but Colonial Williamsburg should not be on that list; geographically its on that north/south cusp; yes, they do have the occasional flurry-who hasn’t had one of those this week, but more often than not, its winter ‘lite’. And, more importantly for miniatures lovers, IGMA holds its annual winter study program in Colonial Williamsburg over the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend each January. The study program in January 2015 offers you the choice of 3 classes, two in furniture making and one in accessories, and the location offers you a chance to see life, as it might have been lived in this country, two centuries earlier.

Snug as a bug under their bell jars, these herbs are flourishing in the January garden.

Snug as a bug under their bell jars, these herbs are flourishing in the January garden.

Very little is completely dormant in the winter time here, even the colonial garden still shows signs of life, especially those plants snug and warm under their protective bell jars. If you are interested in textiles, the winter brings out a whole new set of materials for clothing the humans and their surroundings, thick wools and cozy quilts; knitting needles are busy making warm hats and mitts as seen on the living history cast bustling about town. Various crafts people are still at work in their workshops and the tavern keeper is still serving food and pouring libations. Activities may be fewer than during the high season, but there are still many and varied experiences to take in and plenty of time to talk to the residents and get a real feel for the way life was then. Yes, January is a wonderful time to visit this charming settlement.

The graceful ladderback chair that Pete and Pam Boorum have selected as their class project for the Williamsburg Study Program.

The graceful ladderback chair that Pete and Pam Boorum have selected as their class project for the Williamsburg Study Program.

The Guild has negotiated special hotel pricing for the weekend of the Study Program, come early and stay late if you wish, for the same, really reasonable, rates. We stay right on the grounds and the price of the program includes admission to everything there!

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IGMA at the Philadelphia Miniaturia

A lovely japanned chest in 1/12 scale by Mark Murphy and painted by Mary Grady O'Brien will be for sale at the Gallery of the Guild.

A lovely japanned chest in 1/12 scale by Mark Murphy and painted by Mary Grady O’Brien will be for sale at the Gallery of the Guild.

Many miniatures aficionados are gearing up for the Philadelphia Miniaturia this coming weekend. For many reasons, the Philly show looms large on the calendar for the International Guild of Miniature Artisans, too. The Guild staffs a general information table at most of the larger miniature shows in order to acquaint the public with  the organization itself, and we are always on the lookout for members to help staff the table and spread the story of the Guild’s mission and the many programs it provides for miniature makers and collectors alike.

Walter Schutter crafted this 1/12 scale drop front desk which will be available at the Gallery of the Guild.

Walter Schutter crafted this 1/12 scale drop front desk which will be available at the Gallery of the Guild.

One of the more popular programs is Guild School and the Guild School Director, Barbara Davis will be there with 2015 School Catalogs and applications and many of the class projects for next June’s classes.

Another program that makes its appearance at many of the larger shows across the country is the Gallery of the Guild. A perk for Artisan and Fellow members, the Gallery provides a selling opportunity for those who cannot be there in person. The Guild takes a small commission on each sale in order to continue to provide this opportunity, but most of the work in coordinating the program and getting everything to and from the shows is done wholly by volunteers.

A charming 1/24 scale dining set made by Mark Murphy and Mary Grady O'Brien, also available at the Gallery of the Guild this coming weekend.

A charming 1/24 scale dining set made by Mark Murphy and Mary Grady O’Brien, also available at the Gallery of the Guild this coming weekend.

Lastly, the International Guild of Miniature Artisans will be the beneficiary of the annual fundraising auction held at the Philadelphia Miniaturia this year. The Auction Committee has been busily gathering wonderful pieces for silent and live auctions to be held during the show weekend. There will be silent auctions taking place during the show on Saturday and Sunday, and the live auction will take place Sunday morning at 9 a.m. Bagels and coffee will be served and the bidding will be lively. Auction items will be on display during show hours, stop by the IGMA table to see them, and stop by the auction Sunday morning to enjoy a bagel and place a bid maybe one or more of these exquisite items will go home with you!

Be sure to visit the IGMA Facebook page to see more items that will be at the Gallery of the Guild table at the Philadelphia show and at other shows around the country.

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Guild School Lotto

Guild School 2015 theme, The Ripple Effect.

Guild School 2015 theme, The Ripple Effect.

The 2015 Guild School catalogs are in our eager little hands and around the world, decisions are being debated before pen is put to paper and those final choices are written on the forms. For those that have pre-registered, those choices have to be submitted to Barbara Davis, Guild School Director, by November 10 to be eligible for the annual lottery. This year the lottery takes place in mid-November and class assignments will be in our hands mid-January.

Jon Almeda will be teaching the construction of a 1/12 scale teapot to anyone who has previously taken one of his classes and would like to further develop their skills.

Jon Almeda will be teaching the construction of a 1/12 scale teapot to anyone who has previously taken one of his classes and would like to further develop their skills.

Now, there is nothing truly mysterious about the lottery, but for some reason,  Carol Hardy has to bring her own chair to the event! Enormous charts get posted on the wall, and each name that is drawn gets entered on the charts with their first choices of classes and so it goes until the classes start to fill up. When your name gets drawn, if your first choice class has already reached its limit, they move onto your second choice and then to third choices, if necessary. It is rarely necessary, but if by some strange quirk of fate, all of your choices have filled before your name was drawn, you get a PHONE CALL. You don’t really want to be on the receiving end of one of those calls, but, remember back to the first paragraph, how hard it was to decide which options to make first, second and third? Most likely you had fourth and fifth choices that didn’t make it onto the list…who knew? Bottom line is that there are so many great options, you will be happy wherever you land.

And hey, keep coming and after 20 years, you get a certificate entitling you to an automatic ‘in’ to your first choice class. One time use, only! That’s one of the great things about the lottery….everyone goes through it, and way more often than not, you do end up in your first choice class.

See all the class photos (in color!) on the IGMA website (click on Guild School) and don’t forget to visit the Guild School Facebook page for updates throughout the year. Only 240 days until Guild School 2015 begins. Keep your fingers crossed!

 

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