I was the first member of my family to become enamored of miniatures, but my younger sister was my most frequent traveling companion to the shows, and so it wasn’t long before she had fallen under their spell as well. We’ve enjoyed sharing finds, holding a show and tell each evening in our hotel room, and, with far more room at home to display them than I do, she’s built up quite a nice collection.
I recently had the opportunity to visit her home and got to see all those wonderful pieces again. And, as the head librarian in her town, she’s often shared her collection with her staff and community, displaying some favorite pieces, along with a selection of topic appropriate reading material, in her library.
While photographing her collection at the library, I also found two other miniature scenes by artist Patz Fowle on display, a special piece commissioned to commemorate a new addition to the library and a street scene of a snazzy turquoise full of colorful characters passing in front of a row of brownstones.
I was thrilled to see miniatures in an
unexpected setting. With the Christmas holidays rapidly approaching, I expect to see more miniatures in store windows and elsewhere. Have you spotted any miniatures in your travels recently?
Clocks were turned back again last weekend and all of a sudden, its dark before dinner, soon it will be dark before most of us even get home from work. Daylight savings time, the practice of shifting the clocks ahead an hour during the summer months, has been around for about 100 years now. It was first proposed to give people more daylight for their leisure hours and theorized that it would lower power usage, but there has been very little proof of that. What it does do, when we set the clocks back again, is suddenly plunge a lot of us into a long dark winter. Of course, if you happen to live closer to the equator, you will not be as affected by the shortening or lengthening of daylight hours, but, if you live further north, I hope you like the dark, because you may only have an hour or two of light, if that much, by the time the winter solstice arrives.
Mostly I miss the light when working on miniatures. I particularly enjoy needlework, and the lack of daylight is really noticeable when it comes to choosing colors. Several years ago I invested in a standing OttLite full spectrum lamp and it made all the difference in the world. It still can’t beat full on daylight, but it does show colors much more truly than any other lamp in my house, and it produces enough light to illuminate the finest details in my work.
There are many brands of full spectrum lights on the market, as well as light bulbs if you’d like to switch one out in a lamp you already own.
I frequently wonder, especially when I look at historic needlework, however they managed such fine stitching in a time when supplemental lighting meant an extra candle, if you had the means to afford one. Today, we have many affordable options for lighting, for magnification-and even for lights to help when the darkness brings the blues on. Do you suppose they had seasonal affective disorder back then, too?
One giant leap for mankind? No, I don’t think its quite that momentous, but it is a pretty big deal for us, its the first time we’ve offered one of our education programs outside the United States!
The International Guild of Miniature Artisans, has been working with the Kensington Dollshouse Festival, to offer 5 classes just prior to their May 2014 show. The classes will be held at the Kensington Close Hotel, just a short distance from the show location at Kensington Town Hall, and range in length from one to three days in various media including woodworking, doll sculpting and needlework. Classes will be taught by a group of British and American teachers, all experienced teachers and Artisan or Fellow members of the Guild, so you know its going to be a quality learning experience.
Visit the IGMA website for specific details and dust off your passport, its time to hit the road!