Saturday, August 20

A Year in Miniature

Today is the beginning of a year long project to make a 1:12 scale miniature town. Only the more I think about it, the word "town" is not appropriate for the world I'm about to create, it would be more proper to call it "the land of____?" like L. Frank Baum did with his 14 book series on the Land of Oz.

This plan has been growing, evolving, and changing direction almost as fast as I can think or fantasize about it. It just became "the land of_____?" this morning. This time the plan will stick, because I have made the commitment with a deadline of a year from today, and including all of the various ideas into one "Land of____" is perfect for me.

I was very late to find out about dollhouse miniatures. If it weren't for eBay, it may never have happened, and I would have missed so much! Many good friends I've met along the way, a growing imagination, and new skills of my own with learning to work in 1:12 scale.

While I have always loved anything tiny, growing up, we all played with Barbie and similar 1:6 scale dolls. As an adult, I did still enjoy playing with Barbie in the way of making wardrobes of clothing for her/similar fashion dolls, and once made myself a project of altering the dolls themselves for the adult women in my family. I made each sister and my mom a doll that resembled them, then a wardrobe to go with it. This is how I found my way to the "Dolls and Miniatures" category on eBay in the beginning.... I was interested in making altered 1:6 dolls as artwork to sell.

That idea passed when I found the life-like fairy and artdoll sculpture made from polymer clays. Especially the work of Julie Mansgergh/faerielady on eBay. Her dolls/sculpts are so life-like, you might even convince yourself you saw them breathing! After I saw these artdolls, I just had to learn how to make them myself. I took a year to learn how, the requisite "make 100 dolls before you try and sell one", but still, it was not to be. My dolls didn't ever get a following, and I still have a few that will now live in my "Land of____?" too :)

While hanging out in the "Dolls and Miniatures" category on eBay so much in my fairy/doll making days, I discovered the 1:12 scale miniatures. It was like a heaven-on-earth time of finding so many perfect replicas of anything you could think of in one inch scale! My first project was going to be a display piece, a miniature version of the real life shop of Mostly Art, down to the last detail.

I purchased a lot that had two basic dollhouse kits still in the boxes. I thought I could combine elements of the two small houses into an empty structure resembling the store when it had been empty, then go from there. After trying to figure out the basic floor plan for a while, (why are 1:12 dollhouses not really to scale, but so much smaller than they should be?), I could see this wouldn't work. I would have had to compromise too much on the design. If it couldn't be a true replica, I didn't want to do it.

Time went on, I still wanted to make some kind of house or roombox, and tried with one of the kits later. I blogged about it here , where you can see it didn't work out either. That was when I realized what I really want to do is PLAY! I don't want my dollhouses or roomboxes to be a display-only piece, I want the whole thing... "it's a lifestyle" to quote a very good friend of mine. I want my dolls to be characters, with personalities that will let me know what kind of dwelling they will live in, what kind of job they might have, what kind of place they may hang out in...

So this year's project, making the "Land of_____" will start with the dolls. I have an assortment of dolls of different kinds/types that are in 1:12 scale. Some are from Heidi Ott, a few proper Porcelain dolls, miniature Barbies, the sculpts I made, two sculpts from another artist (they already have their own dwelling/structure), and a lion/man who I believe will be someone like Harvey, the rabbit/pooka.

Most of these dolls and characters are in need of clothing and/or alteration. So that's where I'm deciding to start this journey... pictures to follow

1 comment:

hannajaleijona said...

Oh Joyce, this is so inspiring!
This week I've been a bit frustrated by the slow pace of miniature making, but then again, it's also part of the thrill. When the making takes time, the thoughts and ideas have time to intertwine into the making and it's suddenly so much more than just small stuff. Best of luck with the wonderful adventure!