I love antique dollhouses; they seem to carry with them the spirit of those who have loved and cared for them over generations. When I bought a copy of the book ‘The Vivien Greene Dolls’ House Collection, I found myself returning to the photos of one in particular; she’d named it the Mahogany House and it dates from the mid 1700’s. This house, and at least one other from Mrs. Greene’s collection now form part of an exhibit at the Concord Museum in Concord, Massachusetts. The exhibit is called The Art and Mystery of the Dollhouse and runs through January 15, 2017.
The exhibit includes a number of room boxes, as well as several dollhouses, one dating from about 1695. The earliest European dollhouses were elaborate replicas of idealized or actual homes, and were furnished with exceptionally well-made and very expensive furnishings. In some cases they may have been instructional, examples for young women in how to run a household, but more likely, they were displays of the owner’s economic status.
One of the special events the museum has scheduled to coordinate with this exhibit will feature some well known Guild members. Stop by the Concord Museum on November 19th between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to meet and observe artists, including IGMA Artisan and Fellow members Pete and Pam Boorum, Elizabeth Gazmuri, Bonnie Backe and Teresa Layman, who will demonstrate their work in 1/12 scale.
How do you find out what’s going on in your world? The time has long since passed when you waited for a notice to show up in your mailbox, or in the newspaper, almost everything is available on line now, including newspapers! The Guild, staying abreast of this shift, has begun sending out regular newsletters to keep members apprised of the events on the IGMA calendar, and you can always find the whole story on Guild events at their website.
The Guild has not given up any of its print programs, but they have begun, this year, to ask the membership if they wish to switch over to digital instead of receiving the print mailings. The switch is an economical, and a green (environmentally conscious) alternative and it is hoped that many will take advantage of.
Digitally, the Guild has many avenues of outreach to its membership, and to the world at large. Most people are probably aware of the Guild’s Facebook presence. The first IGMA Facebook page, where miniaturists from around the world have been sharing their work and events for many years now, was recently retitled IGMA: Miniature Community, to make room, and to differentiate it from the official page titled simply, International Guild of Miniature Artisans. On this official page you will find information on current Guild events, along with features on Guild members and other items of interest to miniaturists.
There are three Guild affiliated Instagram accounts where you may go to enjoy photos of miniatures and the programs built around making, sharing and selling them. Go to Instagram and search for guildshow, guild_of_miniature_artisans and igmaguildschool. Instagram is a great place for photos and videos that will link to websites and tutorials where you can find much more inspiration.
Have a question? The IGMA Fine Miniatures Forum, reached via the link at the top of the IGMA website, is the place for answers. You may find an answer already posted, or submit yours on the appropriate page and the site’s many visitors will turn their attentions to helping you out. It’s also another great place to see inspirational work, find sources for materials, and share tips and tricks.
There are not many places where you really get the feeling that if you just slipped through the right door, you might find yourself emerging into the 18th century; well, Colonial Williamsburg feels that way to me. As an adult, I’ve been visiting Colonial Williamsburg in January for a Guild Study Program or three, and crowds of tourists at that time of year, are non-existent.
The limited tourism schedule is one of the reasons IGMA can continue to hold study programs in Williamsburg each year. The reduced number of visitors means that lodging rates and classroom rentals are relatively inexpensive, and also that the curators and other staff are happy to assist us with research and planning while there are fewer demands on their time and skills.
This year we are pleased to offer four classes-two in woodworking, one in metal, and one in needlework, along with an optional Monday seminar on painting floor cloths with Williamsburg’s own, Sue Rountree.
Sue and her husband, Joe, are kind enough to welcome attendees, students and guests, to their home for the program’s Friday night dinner-the ceremonial opening to the weekend. Of course we’ve already had the chance to take in a tour or two-this year a special viewing of the exhibit Architectural Clues to 18th Century Williamsburg at the DeWitt Wallace Museum, and a private viewing of several of Colonial Williamsburg’s historic buildings.
More information is available on the IGMA website, and brochures are in the mail to all IGMA members.