Guild Study Program

January 12–15, 2018   |   Colonial Williamsburg, VA

The International Guild of Miniature Artisans conducts Study Programs at leading museums for its members. Working with the museum's curatorial staff and Guild instructors, Guild members study specific masterworks and related exhibits. Instructors research their project and design a challenging class within an 18 hour framework. Students learn to create miniature replicas of a full-sized object from the Museum's collections. It might be an historic piece of furniture, painting, household object, or an architectural detail such as a fireplace or paneled wall. Added attractions include special guided tours, which enrich the students knowledge and appreciation of beautifully crafted objects. Beginning and experienced miniaturists alike will learn and benefit from the program

About Schedule Classes Seminar Tour Register
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About the Program

Tuition fee includes:

  • Small classes
  • Discounts on lodging at the Colonial Williamsburg Lodge (you must make your own reservations and pay your own hotel bill)
  • Special arrangements for observation of your project original in the museum collections when possible.
  • Friday night dinner at the Rountree’s welcoming home
  • Museum pass for admission to the Colonial Williamsburg museums, valid for the duration of the Guild Study Program
  • Graduation luncheon


$495 for Guild members, $545 for nonmembers


Other than the Friday dinner at the Rountree’s and the Monday graduation luncheon, meals are not included in the cost of the study program.


Classes will be taught at the Williamsburg Lodge.


If you are registering before November 1, 2017, include a $100 deposit with the balance due November 1, 2017. If registering after November 1, 2017, include full payment. Instructors will contact their students with further information regarding their classes and instructions on payment of materials fees.

Students who are registered and paid in full by November 1st will be assigned to their first-choice class if at all possible. If any classes are oversubscribed, a drawing will be conducted to determine class assignments. If the first-choice class is filled, the student will be assigned to his/her second, or if that is filled, then third, or fourth choice as listed on the registration form. Any student who lists only a first choice and does not get into the class will have his/her registration fee returned. In the event of all classes being filled, your registration fee will be returned.


In the event you must cancel, a refund minus a $25 cancellation fee will be made for cancellations prior to November 1, 2017. After November 1st, a refund will be given only if another student can fill your place.

Guest (no classes):

$185 includes unlimited museum pass to the Colonial Williamsburg museums, Friday dinner and the graduation luncheon.

Behind-the-Scenes Tour:

$35 (See description here).


Colonial Williamsburg’s Conference Services has arranged a special discounted rate of $101 per night plus tax for Guild Study Program attendees and guests at the Williamsburg Lodge. This rate is for a deluxe room (two double beds) in the Williamsburg Lodge and is the same whether double or single occupancy. There are a limited number of suites available at $132 per night plus tax. There is no limit on the number of nights that can be reserved, so come early and/or stay late to see more of the local attractions.

For Room Reservations Call 1-800-261-9530, ask for Group Reservations Department, and mention the International Guild of Miniature Artisans to get the special rate. Please specify if you desire a smoking or non-smoking room or if you have other special needs.

Note: The Lodge will be full for the weekend of our program. Please make your reservations early.

Direct enquiries to:

Peter Kendall, CW GSP
P. O. Box 619
Fort Washington, PA 19034
Telephone: 215-657-0764

Tentative Schedule

Friday, January 12, 2018
9:45 AM - 11:15 AM Behind-the-Scenes Tour
5:00 PM Official Welcome and Start of Program—Williamsburg Lodge
6:30 PM Dinner at the home of Sue and Joe Rountree
Saturday, January 13, 2018
8:30 AM - 5:00 PM Classes in the Williamsburg Lodge
10:00 AM–10:30 AM Coffee Break
12:00 Noon–1:30 PM Lunch on your own
3:00 PM–3:30 PM Afternoon Break
Evening Dinner on Your Own
Sunday, January 14, 2018
8:30 AM - 5:00 PM Classes in the Williamsburg Lodge
10:00 AM–10:30 AM Coffee Break
12:00 Noon–1:30 PM Lunch on your own
3:00 PM–3:30 PM Afternoon Break
Evening Dinner on Your Own
Monday, January 15, 2018
8:00 AM - 12:00 PM Classes in the Williamsburg Lodge
10:00 AM–10:30 AM Coffee Break
12:00 Noon Graduation Luncheon in the Williamsburg Lodge
After lunch –5:00 PM Monday Afternoon Seminar



Smoking Chair

Mark Murphy, IGMA Fellow


Chairs of this form were known by several names in colonial America. New Englanders called them roundabouts, in South Carolina they were called corner chairs, and in Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina they were called smoking chairs. The name may derive from the fact that these chairs were used most exclusively by men. They were used in both private and public spaces. The rounded back of a smoking chair provided comfortable support for the sitter's arms, so theses chairs were often used for writing, reading and related activities. This is confirmed by period illustrations. Many of these smoking chairs were also fitted with supports for chamber pots which were hidden under the slip-seat frame. This chair descended through the Wrenn and Cofer families of Surry and Isle of Wight Counties, VA., to Mary Wrenn Cofer Ballard. As a learning project there are many different techniques that this chair offers. The students will learn mortise and tenon joinery, lathe turning for the three back legs, shaping a cabriole leg, cutting and shaping the back splats and arms, and upholstering the seat with leather. (For the needle-workers, the seat could also be finished with their own design.) When the chair construction is complete I will teach my finishing techniques. Because of limited time expect to be doing the finishing process at home. I expect students will have all of the construction of the chair completed by the end of class.

Power tools: Table saw, shaper, drill press and lathe

Skill level: Intermediate/Advanced

Materials fee: $80


Paintings—“Miss Huston” & “Ship with Paper Border”

Mary Grady O’Brien, IGMA Fellow

We will be replicating two diverse paintings that share a similar time frame and the fact that both artists are unidentified. The subject and framing style will be quite different. The lovely "Miss Huston" (probably Pennsylvania 1825) is a vision of delicate colors and fashionable detail, gracefully posed in a handsome blue chair. She is obviously a person of good taste and status. The framing is unique and makes for a very special addition to any period setting. Because the original is rather small, the frame and the painting will be slightly enlarged. The frame is to be designed by Mark Murphy, very appropriate because the chair pictured could have his label.

First you will sketch the image using umber paint. Color will be added with a light touch to give a look similar to watercolor. The unusual frame will make for a most charming and unique combination.

The second painting is a handsome ship framed with unusual treatment, and a plain frame covered with a border of printed wallpaper strips. This subject will be a good change of pace from the skills needed for a portrait calling for delicate application of color. This will be more bold and vibrant with application of color and sea and sky can be very relaxing, yet versatile to paint. Interestingly the frigate formed the first navy of the new republic (circa 1805-1825). Because this painting is on the large size, it will be reduced a little in size. Like Grandma Moses, I like to begin with the frame and put thought in the size!

If you have access to Treasures of American Folk Art from the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Museum, you can find these images on pages 41 and 71, plus we can look forward to seeing the originals in person when we are touring the museum. This is always a special treat.

All of your classroom needs will be covered by the class fee. I do always suggest magnification and a small lamp. If you are already painting, of course, bring any favorite brushes you like.

All skill levels

Materials fee: $25


Charleston Dressing Glass

Bill Studebaker, IGMA Artisan

Made around 1790 in South Carolina, this neoclassical dressing mirror takes its design from a British prototype.

Students will build and shape the bottom case using power tools and then ornament it with veneers: the drawers will be fitted and cross banding applied. The mirror and stand will be constructed and attached to the base: holly roundels and urn finial combined with herringbone banding decorate the unit. Ogee bracket feet and custom cast brass hardware complete the piece.

A mixture of power tools and hand work will be used: good eyesight is necessary. Patience with teeny-tiny fiddly bits will be an advantage.

Skill level: Intermediate/Advanced

Materials fee: $35


Salem, Massachusetts Sofa; c. 1805–1815

Nancy Summers, IGMA Fellow

Salem, a bustling port city in the 19th century, was the home of many wealthy merchants. Their homes were filled with fine furniture made by local artisans and with carvings by Samuel McIntire. The maker of this Salem sofa is unknown but was adapted to a popular design found in Thomas Sheraton's book.

The sofa has a rich green fabric and four pillows. Instructor will make the parts from cherry wood.

Students will assemble the sofa, stain it with two different colors of stain, apply the finish, and upholster the sofa. Students will also make the pillows for the back and make the trim for the sofa and pillows.

Skill level: Intermediate/Advanced

Materials fee: $85


Monday Afternoon Seminar

Draw-String Purse

Barbara Studebaker, IGMA Artisan

Available only to students already registered for a regular class

Small pouches and purses were used in the colonial era by both men and women. Sometimes they were plain and utilitarian, but because they were usually attached to the belt and were meant to be seen, fancy fabrics and stitches often adorned them. This 1:12-scale draw-string purse will be hand stitched on fine pre-dyed cotton with silk thread. The pattern will be pre-marked on the fabric to save time. All stitches and techniques will be taught. Students should bring fine sewing scissors if possible; all other supplies will be provided by the instructor.

Materials Fee: $15

Behind-the-Scenes Tour

Friday, January 12, 2018 at 9:45 AM


The Behind-the-Scenes tour is available for pre-registered participants only. It features a tour of the furniture, textiles and metals/ceramics conservation labs in the Bruton Heights Collections and Conservation Building. Furniture and small artifacts taught during the Study Program are displayed and discussed during the tour. Subject matter is rotated from year to year. These areas are not usually open to the public, and similar tours have been very popular with GSP participants. The tour is an exciting beginning to the weekend of study at Colonial Williamsburg. It is limited to 20 participants and will conclude at 11:15 a.m. Registration is required specifically for the tour and a drawing will be held if the tour is over-subscribed.