Monday, February 11, 2019

Learning the light

I spent the weekend mulling over how I was going to approach the tissue box challenge, while doing other things (including, you may be pleased to hear, finding my Filofax paper and passport).

Should I make it completely random: closing my eyes, grabbing a box, and making myself use it somehow in a scene?

Or should I be a bit kinder on myself, and preselect boxes that look like they might be a good jumping-off point?

I went with the latter option, and ended up a good handful of possibilities and initial thoughts to start with a box printed with small pictures of herb plants: easily framed (assuming, of course, I find my saw, mitre box, gluing jig and picture framing strips in time!) and I feel it could build into an interesting scene:
Selection of flattened tissue box covers fanned out with one with a patttern of herb plants in green at the bottom front.
(It was at this point that it dawned on me that, although the light in my new place is quite good, it's different to what I'm used to. In fact, both my studio and the room previously known at The Room of Shame (now retagged 'The Library') face in the opposite direction to my old versions. So in the interests of getting things done for now, I took photos on my bed.)

I was particularly heartened when I found this chair in one of the first boxes of miniatures I unpacked yesterday, as it seemed to fit nicely with the chosen box and suggest a rustic kitchen or dining room.
Green tissue box cover with a herb-plant print with a one-twelfth scale shabby green chair below it.
But then, as I was taking the top photo, these heart-themed designs caught my eye and seemed very fitting for this week.
Selection of four flattened tissue boxes with heart designs on them.
This one in particular...
Green tissue box cover with a blue and white heart print with a one-twelfth scale shabby white chair below it.

Monday, February 04, 2019

Blogiversary and boxes

*Blows into the mic*

Is this thing working?
Carton full of flattened tissue boxes sitting on a table in a garage. In the background is a stack of flattened packing boxes.
(And more importantly, can I remember how to use it?)

Today marks the 13th blogiversary of this blog, and I feared that if I didn't post now the whole thing might just fade away into the dusty corners of the internet. Which I thought would be a shame.

So a quick catch up: I finally moved at the beginning of December and have been unpacking boxes ever since. I have two desks set up in my studio, with one more to find room to erect (once I move the mountain of boxes that's in the way...).

Speaking of mountains of boxes, I had a mountain of boxes of dolls' houses in my bath until quite recently: I figured there would be a good spot to keep them safe from the shifters when they moved the rest of my belongings in.

I have no idea where my tools are (or my passport, or my spare Filofax paper, but that's a different subject...). These are the joys of shifting home: along with $300 grill elements (don't ask).

Back to miniatures: I toyed with the thought of trying to do Daily Dolls House December last year but realised that it was an insane idea on top of everything else that was happening. And since I've not made a scene for over a year, I figured I'd be very very rusty.

So when someone on my (newly) local Buy Nothing group offered a collection of tissue boxes for 'artistic types', I took it as a sign that perhaps a miniature challenge was in my near future: especially as the timing seemed quite serendipitous.
Screenshot from a Buy Nothing Facebook group offering a collection of tissue boxes for an artistic project
So now, to add to my collection of packing boxes both full and empty, I have a collection of tissue boxes (not, thankfully eaten by mice) to kickstart what will hopefully be a challenge to keep me going for the next year (once I find my tools, of course!).

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Just playing

Life continues to keep me out of my studio (except for when I'm packing it into boxes ready for my move).
One-twelfth scale dolls' house doll behind a table with a stack of butchers paper on it and a plate on top, Behind her is a trolley containing various items including a teddy bear, a pile of books, candlesticks and cushions.
But that doesn't mean there are no miniatures in it (my life, not the studio). Here's what I've been up to...

First up, I attended the opening of this year's ANCA Pin exhibition, Pin 8.
A group of people waiting outside a gallery in the dark. On the gallery door is a sign that reads 'closed'.
This annual exhibition is locked into my calendar as a great place to see (and sometimes buy) miniature art.
Three people look at pins arranged on a piece of netting.
This year's budget allowed me to buy this piece by Jen Fullerton (Brown Paper Cowgirl on Instagram):


A brooch with geometric shapes in shades of copper, gold, bronze and black displayed on an orange netting ribbon.
Then I returned to miniature club, after a break of around 15 years.
Flat lay of green paint, brushes, miniature platers and skewers against a black plastic background.
We made topiary to go in front of a group project of a house made of room boxes made by club members
Six one-twelfth scale topiaries skewred to a piece of styrofoam next to four planters filled with miniature soil.
 to be displayed at a local railway and model show.
Six one-twelfth scale topiaries in planters lined up on a table. In the background is a woman reading a magazine and two women with their backs turned to the camera working on something.
 More recently, I went to the opening of an exhibition at M16 Artspace of work by Clare Martin (an artist I'm familiar with) and Mike O'Kane (a new-to me artist).

I loved Clare's work Dream Home:
One-twelfth scale window in a platered wall, with a gauze curtain billowing from it.
 (perhaps because it was in 1/12th scale, and beautifully executed)
One-twelfth scale miniature room with a worktable in the foreground containing miniature metal model buildings, and a selection of tools.
One-twelfth scale stone building on display in a gallery. In the background three woman look at pictures on the wall of the gallery.
One-twelfth scale model of a two-story building on display in a gallery.
Two one-twelfth scale water tanks and a metal bucket in front of a stone wall.
One-twelfth scale model of a two-story building on display in a gallery with teo people in discussion behind it.
and was struck by Mike's works, which seamlessly photoshopped models into full-sized scenes.

Enough that I bought this work, White Fella, for my new home:
Model toy soldier riding a motorbike down a dirt road in an Australian bush setting.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Containing my excitement

The IKEA As-is corner. It's one of my favourite places in the city (along with the Typo scratch-and-dent table and the Kaisercraft discount racks: I'm easily (and cheaply) pleased...).

Also: it's just the right distance from home to please the NRMA: who tell me that Miss Daisy needs to go on dates with me regularly to keep her battery from dying.

On a recent visit I spotted these:
Two white metal storage boxes in the shape of a miniature shipping container, stacked on top of one another. The bottom one has a light shining in it. In the background is a sign saying '75% off'.
miniature shipping containers! One with a light included!

I instantly forgot all of my unfinished projects, my lack of time, or the fact I'm packing to move: and bought them both.

I'd really like to get some door and window holes cut before I start playing. It's on the (very) long list.

But since this range was limited edition, I'm happy to have bought them now and have to wait to work on them...

Monday, July 23, 2018

The art of miniature

I've been fangirling over artist Lori Nix for a number of years (in fact I'm very tempted to say "since we exhibited together at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York", even though she was in the actual exhibition and I was in the online gallery add-on, Small Realities. So not really in the same league at all, even though I made it onto the Small Realities front page).

I bought the book that goes with the exhibition back in 2011 (the year the exhibition happened) but have been after a copy of Lori Nix's book The City ever since.
Front cover of the book 'In the city' by Lori Nix showing a two-storied library space in a state of neglect, with a tree growing out of the floor and through a hole in the ceiling.
Alas it went out of print very quickly and the second-hand market soon had it into the hundreds of dollars (possibly due to a fairly constant flow of media attention), and thus well beyond my budget.

I'd pretty much resigned myself to never having a copy of the book, but still occasionally checked out Booko to see how stupidly expensive it was.

And then, one day in April this year, something amazing happened: I found a copy for under $100! And in Sydney, no less!
Graph of historical prices, with the lowest price since 2015 (in April 2018) circled.

I snapped it up as an early birthday present, fully expecting to get the 'Oh sorry, it's not actually in stock' email, but instead getting the 'We just shipped it to you' email. I was gobsmacked at my luck.

(Of course, nothing birthday present-related will beat the buying of my first home, settlement of which just happened to land on the day before my birthday this year).

As part of the preparation for my shift, I realised there were some things in my life (and my home) that I could no longer justify.

Sadly, one of these was bette Noir, which had sat in my front hall for almost two and a half years before heading to its new home.
A vintage minaiture gallery sitting on the side of a front porch, with a car in the background.On the top front edeg of the gallery is a sticker saying 'Bette Noir".
I was feeling bad about my lack of action during that time until I was reminded that it was destined for the tip before it came to me: so perhaps I was only ever supposed to be its caretaker, not its owner.

And when I discovered that its new owner (caretaker) was in the studio next to one of its creators, I was happy.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Miniatures at the museum

I visited The Parental Units over Easter, and we took the opportunity to check out Toi Art, the new art gallery at Te Papa.

As we entered the first room I spotted this in the corner of a large, blank wall and had to investigate further.
Large and empty room with a miniature lit storefront embedded into one corner of it.
Large and empty room with a miniature lit storefront embedded into one corner of it.
Inside the storefront was a piece of moon rock, a New Zealand flag and a sign explaining how a piece of moon rock came to be in New Zealand (if not inside a miniature storefront in an art gallery in New Zealand)...
Piece of rock on a wall plaque. Underneath it is a sign saying'This fragment is a portion of a rock from the Tourus Littrow Valley of th eMoon. It is given as a symbol of the unity of human endeavor and carries with it the hope of the American people for a world of peace. Under the sign is a New Zealand flag.
 And to confuse matters further, across the gallery there was a technical drawing of the store front, by Christo.
Technical drawing of a storefront window, the same one as is seen in the photographs above.
There was a booklet explaining the artworks, but alas this wasn't allowed to leave the gallery (which I suppose made sense, but I was surprised that there weren't copies available for purchase at the gallery shop: I know I would have bought two...). And I've just discovered that there's also a mobile app that we could have accessed on our phones at the time (although perhaps it wasn't available in April?)

So it wasn't until I got home that I was able to research the artworks and discover that the model in the wall was The shortcut gallery by Michael Parekowhai, informed by Christo's Storefront series (created in the 1960s). And the Christo drawing was Pink Store Front (project). The whole thing is described nicely in Article magazine.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Tiny treasures at the tip (shop)

I've previously sung the praises of Canberra's city-based tip shops, especially for discovering unexpected miniature finds.

What I neglected to mention is that there are two more tip shops in Canberra: one at each of the resource management centres (the new term for tip, dump, or whatever you call it where you live). And those ones are massive.

Canberra is in the fortunate position to have a fairly high level of education (and pay) and also a rather transient population. Which means the resource management centres have a regular supply of items too good to end up in landfill (see example A (or is that A sharp?)).

I don't visit the tip shops very often, as I have that whole 'trying to save money/ have enough stuff already' thing going on. But the day after this year's Canberra Miniature Fair and Dollshouse show I popped in because I needed bigger plants pots for my work plants (even though I'd replanted them already at the beginning of the year), and figured it was the right place to start.

While searching for the gardening department, I stumbled across an entire end of the shed that looked like a craft shop: except it was at the tip. Wandering inside, I spotted a dolls' house on display:
Child's wooden dolls' house filled with home-made furnishings.
It wasn't until I got closer that I was able to read the sign on the top of it:
A variety of dolls' house decorating ideas displayed with signs explaining what they are made of. Next to them is a larger sign that says 'Miss Polly's Dolls House. Take a peek inside and see how easy it is to make things for Miss Polly's Dolls House using everyday items.
and got very excited.
Child's wooden dolls' house filled with home-made furnishings, on display next to a shelving unti displaying baskets of craft items. A woman is looking through one of the baskets.
Because what they've done is taken a fairly standard kid's dolls' house and used it as the centre of an area dedicated to showing how everyday discarded items can be used to make minis, and offering a selection of items that you might want to use:
A colse-up view of shelves of baskets holding various craft supplies, with various-coloured stickers on each bag.
An example: 
Bag of plastic pieces in a basket, with a sticker on it saying 'Miss Polly light fittings'.
I eventually found my plant pots (50 cents each), but also came home with these:
A selection of fabric samples. On top is displayed a miniature guitar, a plaster mask scrapbooking decal and four large silver beads.
(which were $5 total).

Little by little

I feel like I've opened a Pandora's box of photos and stories that I meant to blog, but...

As the panic started to rise around the fact I was blogging X, which happened after Y, I stopped, took a deep breath and decided I'd blog things as they came to the top of the list, whether or not they made chronological sense (to me, at least).

First up, I'd like to dedicate a whole blog post to the pictures I took of Div William's 1/48 scale model of Rose Seidler house:

1/48-scale mid-century modern house in white with accents of bright colour.
I left the edge of the lazy susan it sat on in the image below, so you can see just how small and perfectly-formed the model is...
External view of a 1/48th scale model of a mid-century modern house. with a yellow car parked underneath, and a ramp up the right-hand side. The model is on a turntable, with a black cloth behind.
or, if you prefer, here's my hand for scale:
Interior of a 1/48-scale mid-century modern house lounge with a hand about to pick up a brown chair.
Interior of a 1/48-scale mid-century modern house lounge with brown chairs and sofa, and a black credenza.
Once again, she's got the details just right.
Interior of a 1/48-scale mid-century modern house dining room and lounge with a stone fireplace between.
Interior of a 1/48-scale mid-century modern house dining room and lounge with a stone fireplace between and stone-edged stairs leading downwards.
Interior of a 1/48-scale mid-century modern house playroom and study corner, with stone-edged stairs leading downwards.
(Although it seems I neglected to take a photo of the mural on the patio wall).
Exterior of a 1/48-scale mid-century modern house, with a patio and a ramp leading downwards.View through the window of a 1/48-scale mid-century modern house, showing a bedroom in white with accents of bright colour. Underneath are patches of concrete, gravel and grass and to the right is a ramp leading upwards from the garden.
View through the window of a 1/48-scale mid-century modern house, showing a bedroom in white with accents of bright colour.
View through the window of a 1/48-scale mid-century modern house, showing a studio in white with accents of orange and brown.