Monday, January 31, 2011

Miniature Monday - Half Scale Chateau!

Wouldn’t I love to live in my ½” scale chateau! 

I made this structure in a 4 day workshop with Bill Lankford.  Here’s a link for more information about him:  
Bill Lankford Designs

He was an incredible instructor and had a way of using the most unusual materials to create art. I took almost every workshop he offered in the NYC area.  So glad I did because in 2008, he officially retired from teaching classes.  You can still catch him at Miniature Shows with his detailed structures and his line of landscaping items. 
Although it is ½” scale, the cliffs are made from dental plaster, and this structure is super heavy.  I needed a truck and two strong boys to carry it home.  It’s cleverly designed to open in the middle.  I finished the inside with wallpaper, flooring, curtains and furniture.  The landscaping materials are mostly from the model railroad store and Bill.

There’s a “secret” opening under the house, between the cliffs.  It goes from the water, up the stairs to the lowest level which I made into a wine cellar. The resident’s have a boat there for a quick escape.  The water is made from 2 part resin. 

A few years ago, the Daily News had a full page article featuring a picture of this mini chateau and a few of my other pieces.  They also featured the only remaining dollhouse store in Manhattan.  You can read the article in their archives here: NYC Daily News Article  The funniest thing about the experience was my oldest brother, who reads the paper every day, telling me that he saw a lady that kind of looked like me in the paper who also did miniatures. (He was serious!)   He hadn’t read the article and had not seen that it was actually me, DUH!

My friend, Anna, also took the workshop.  She finished hers as a haunted house, complete with dusty furniture and a cemetery:

I’ve had some questions about miniature scale and thought I could answer them today with this post.  Miniaturists are all about getting things “just right.”  It’s often an insane love affair with the ruler. 

Scale is the proportion that a model is to the real thing that it represents. A proportion of 1/12th scale (1:12) means that 1 inch the model equals 12 inches in the real world piece, where 12 inches is understood to be the real world size. If a person measures 5 feet 5 inches tall in the real world, their miniature version in 1/12th scale would be 5 ½ inches tall. This scale is the most popular in the miniature world and when a dollhouse is referred to in general conversation this is the scale most often and usually assumed to be the scale of the discussion.

Scales commonly used in Dollhouses, Ship, Plane and Railroad Models are:

ScaleNumber of inches to the footScale Name
1” Scale1/12th 1 inch = 1 foot1 inch scale
½” Scale1/24th ½ inch = 1 footG Scale
¼” Scale1/48th ¼ inch = 1 footO Scale
1/8” Scale1/87th 1/8 inch=1 footHO Scale
144th Scale1/144th 1 inch = 12 Feet (Trust me it’s easier this way!)Insanity

I’ve completed two 1/144th scale projects and was fortunate that I didn’t end up in the looney bin. I donated one to our club raffle fundraiser, and the other is put away because I don’t want to lose it! This scale is considered a dollhouse’s dollhouse! If you’d like to see lovely examples of this work (NOT mine - LOL) click here:

If you have any questions, please let me know and thanks for looking!


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Inkwell Studios Workshop: Iris Watercolor

Every Wednesday and Thursday at 9am EST, it's "Coffee and Art in the Morning" with Dede on Ustream!

This past week, she taught a FABULOUS watercolor class.  She drew and posted a sketch of an iris so that we, the viewers, could print it out and paint along.

I had a blast and here is the result:

I printed the image from my home inkjet printer onto 140lb hot press water color paper that I cut down to 8.5 X 11".  Dede instructed us to print it out onto plain cardstock if we didn't have anything else available.  I'm not sure what I will do with my iris, but I'm thinking of cutting it out and incorporating it into my art journal.

Besides providing us with the amazing sketch, Dede was patient and encouraging as we worked through the techniques using watercolor paints and pencils.  She is a wonderful artist!

If you would like to try your hand at watercolor painting, visit her blog:  Inkwell Studios
The recorded show is available at:   Inkwell Studios Ustream Videos

Thanks for looking!


Friday, January 28, 2011

Art and Sole: 52 Pages

My lovely and very talented friend from the UK, Darcy, started 2011 by creating weekly prompts for art journaling.  Check out her blog,  Art-and-Sole and feel free to participate.

I'm new to the art journaling world, and of course I'm giving it a go! 

My page for the Week 1 Prompt - "Regenerate"

My page for the Week 2 Prompt - "Filter"

Thanks for looking!


Monday, January 24, 2011

Miniature Monday - Artist's Lofts!

I've got TWO 1/12th scale artist's spaces to show you.  The first is a fantasy loft located on 22nd and Broadway in NYC.  (My mini artist isn't starving!)  Years ago, I worked in a huge space there, and took pictures of the view outside so that I could use it in my mini artist's loft.  I printed the image on 11x17" paper that covered the back wall.

The box is made to fit inside an 11x14 frame.  The original artist's loft was made and donated to my friend's charity for auction.  My Miniature group loved it so much; we re-did it as a yearlong project. Yes, imagine me on the porch, with my table saw, cutting 150 pieces of wood.  I was a sight to behold!  The window wall is made from foamcore and strips of wood.  I made the easel, stool, tables and the spiral staircase.  Some of the accessories were made, some were purchased.

The painting was done by my son; he was 4 at the time, and insisted on contributing a masterpiece!

The next artist's studio fits inside a basketball display case.  It depicts art class in progress.  The beautiful fairy model is made out of polymer clay.

It's amazing what you can do with bits of wood and paper!

If you have any questions, please let me know.  Thanks for looking!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Miniature Monday - Shop

I've got to give all of the bloggers I follow who post daily tons and tons of credit.  I'm trying to post twice a week and those days sneak up quickly!

I had this little store built but empty lying around in my workshop for years.  One day, I finally decided to dust it, glue whatever parts broke off, and give it some attention.  I can't say it's really "finished" because I'd like to add a sidewalk, a few more things on the shelves and walls and perhaps a doll.  Miniaturists often shop from their own tiny stores, so things may be shifted around completely.   The result so far is this pretty little store:

The 1/12th scale store measures 10" high by 12" wide by 10" deep.  This is a place where someone (really tiny) can come to purchase perfume, lotion and fancy soap.  They can also take a breather on the round couch while their purchase is being wrapped.

The miniature owner of the store has a cat, whose always getting tangled up in silk ribbon, and a pretty little dog.  The cat is made by talented artist Sue Veeder.  The dog I got at an auction.  The tiny bottles and jars I made from beads and other jewelry findings.  I printed labels on the computer and cut small pictures from magazines to finish off the look of the beads.

The tiny soaps in the case are made from polymer clay and the boxes they are in from cardstock. The beautiful flower arrangement is made by Bloomin Minis.  They exhibit and sell their work at The Lehigh Valley Miniature Show .  My friends and I make the trek from Brooklyn to Pennsylvania every year for that show.

If you have any questions on any of my projects please let me know.

Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Art Journal Every Day

Julie Balzer is encouraging everyone to spend at least 10 minutes a day making art in or for your Art Journal. You can join any time!  Click here for her website

For the past 2 weeks, I’ve been carving out those 10 minutes, and sometimes more, every day!  I painted backgrounds, cut up collage elements and photos, started a mini album during a virtual crop – kept it totally low stress and no pressure.

I love Julie’s workshops, she’s an amazing instructor.   A few months ago, I attended one at  The Ink Pad .   We created an altered book and I am hooked.  This was the first time I got to hack up an old book and it was an experience.  I can still hear Julie’s voice, “Don’t be scared, just rip those pages out!”

 I recently purchased goodies to finish my cover, but for some reason, I feel stuck!  Here are pictures of what I got, and my “in progress” altered journal:

I enjoyed the process and I’m trying to get used to the idea that I don’t have to call my book finished. I have it on my work table and do something to the inside almost every day.  In the next few weeks, I really really really want to complete the cover!

Thanks for looking!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Miniature Monday - Victorian Chocolate Shop!

For some, birthdays aren’t as exciting as when we were children.  In my family birthdays are a big deal, and we always celebrate in one way or another.    One year for my birthday, I was lucky enough to get a workshop with my favorite Miniature Artisan, Bluette Meloney (click here for her website .)

The workshop, a 1/12th scale Victorian era Chocolate Shop, was hosted by the Tee Ridder Museum on Long Island.  Five glorious days of non-stop building and technique learning.  I was exhausted, but it was sooooooo worth it!

The structure itself began life as pieces of wood, foam core, bits of plastic and cardstock.  The outside is faux-finished to look like marble.  The stones are made from air dry clay.  The removable roof was wood covered with a three step patina technique.  All of the wood trim was stained and aged.

Bluette’s projects always capture the tiniest details.  The stained glass windows took me three weeks to complete, but I wanted to take my time and get it done right!  I purchased the delicate door handles at the IGMA show.

The beautiful display windows feature parquet floors and yummy chocolate made from polymer clay.   The interior and exterior floors are mosaic tile.  Step inside the shop – the furniture is from Bespaq except for the display counter which was made by a very talented English artist whose name I can’t remember (YIKES!) 

The back of the shop has a false wall to give the illusion of an office on the left of the shelf, and the kitchen to the right of the shelf.  I created a “chocolate making in progress butcher block” that sits just inside the doorway.  Above the butcher block is a pot rack with gorgeous copper pots by J.Getzan ( click here for his website .)   I love the way it looks like the chef just stepped away!

The chocolate goodies are a combination of ones that I made, were gifted to me, or I purchased.  The coffee and tea sets on the tables are made by Carolyn Eiche from Carolyn’s Creations here in NY. 

A few of the dolls are inexpensive resin figures.  The two serving ladies are finely made hand painted and dressed porcelain dolls by English Artisan Clara Cribb (I found her on EBAY.)

Hope you enjoyed the tour!
Thanks for looking,

Monday, January 3, 2011

Miniature Monday - Sabine's Cafe

Hi Everyone!
On Monday’s, I will be posting pictures from my miniature collection.

Today's project was a special one for me.  It's a French Cafe in 1/12th scale named, "Sabine", in honor of my darling older sister.  Once completed, I donated "Sabine's Cafe" to the National Association of Miniature Enthusiasts for their National Fundraiser.

I made the box to fit an 11 X 14 picture frame that would keep the dust out.  It is electrified so that the inside and outside are illuminated.  The scene outside the cafe is from a Parisian street scene wallpaper border increased in size to fit to fit the back wall.  The inside walls are made from illustration board and the trim/molding from strips of wood stained walnut.  I printed and cut out the tiny menus and the various signs around the cafe.  The chairs were Christmas ornaments from Restoration Hardware - I cut off the hooks and sanded them down.  The tables are altered chess pieces with a round woodsy on top, spray painted black gloss.  The counter was made from illustration board, wood and thin plexi-glass.  The plexi was a chore to cut because of the angles, but the results were well worth it!  I made some of the food and purchased some in my travels.

I created flower boxes outside with red geraniums and white daisies.  I loved making those paper flowers, petal by petal, tedious and beautiful!  The floor is made from standard home floor tiles with a tiny pattern which I then scored at 1" intervals to make the equivalent of 12" square floor tiles in miniature.  The red coffee cups started out as grommets that I attached a tiny wire to then spray painted glossy.

The wine bottle is actually glass, with a cork.  The magazine rack is made of wood strips and has French newspapers and magazines scaled down to size. The posters on the wall are also French.  I left the bulletin board empty so that the person who won the box could add their own touches.

I hope you enjoyed this little tour.  If you have any questions, I would be happy to answer them.

Thanks for looking!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

New Year and my FIRST blog post ever! With the encouragement of my Internet and Ustream friends, I'm hoping to share my art; Miniatures, Mixed Media and Journals.

This is a true adventure for me, one I'm really looking forward to. I hope you'll join me!