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.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Popping in to collect my Bad Blogger award...

It's over half way through 2018, and I've blogged a total of five times. And I don't even remember the last time I made a scene...

Life's got in the way (thankfully, in a good way). Since the beginning of this year, I've
I'm excited about my new home (I think), but I've been dealing with the fact that it's tenanted until the end of 2018: and there's been some issues with the notice they've been given (now all sorted, thankfully). But that meant that for a few months I was living in a situation where I was packing in case they gave a couple of weeks' notice to move (not fun when you're packing a place you've lived in for almost 20 years...).

I realise that during this time I completely forgot to blog my trip to this year's Sydney Miniatures & Dollhouse Fair (although I did post in Instagram). So finally (and belatedly), here's what caught my eye...
One-twelfth scale miniature doll with steam-punk hat and goggles.
This chap was on Kim Murdoch's stall and I thought encapsulated our feelings just before the door to the show opened (I was fortunate enough to gain early access this year, even without having a stall or an official position on The tiny Times).
One-twelfth scale miniature door in a garden wall, slightly ajar and showing the garden behind.
A peek into a secret garden made by members of the Miniature Makers and Collectors club.

Long-time readers may remember Div Williams made and displayed a 3/4" scale model of Rose Seidler House back in 2008/ 2009. This year at the show she displayed another model of it: this one in quarter-inch scale:
1/48-scale mid-century modern house in white with accents of bright colour.
Interior of a 1/48-scale mid-century modern house lounge with a hand about to pick up a brown chair.
View through the window of a 1/48-scale mid-century modern house, showing a bedroom in white with accents of bright colour.
There were a few gardens in the Miniature Makers and Collectors club display that caught the attention of my camera. This Japanese one:
One-twelfth scale miniature japanese garden
this one, which felt to me like it was in Bali:
One-twelfth scale tropical garden with waterfall and buddha statue
and this poor chap:
One-twelfth scale miniature garden maze with a skeleton inside
Lidi Stroud was displaying Willunga Cottage, based on a real-life cottage in South Australia (I believe she's planning a class on how to build one...),
One-twelfth scale miniature Australian cottage porch with a bird cage and a woven chair
She was also displaying her completed Venetian building: which I thought I'd blogged as a work in progress previously, but can't find: so suspect it was in The tiny Times instead...
One-twelfth scale miniature venetian house facade
(I have photos of the interior but for the sake of actually getting a post published, I'll find and publish them later).

And then there's her other build, Flourish & Blotts:
One-twelfth scale bookshop facade
I don't know who made this workshop scene, which I had to take a photo of because I'm a sucker for well-used workspaces.
One-twelfth scale workshop interior
Another Kim Murdoch doll, in a build by Cassandra Stevens. Another one I know I photographed previously, but obviously for The tiny Times, not here...
One-twelfth scale doll with black and grey hair in front of a cabinet full of skulls
And this chap on the roof felt just like I think most of us felt by the end of the day!
Sad-looking dragon on top of the roof ridge of a one-twelth scale building
So,what came home with me?

First up, I was delighted that Minis by Twinmum had remembered a conversation we'd had at the 2016 show, where I'd said one of my holy grails still unrealised in miniature was a Philippe Starck Bubu stool, which perhaps her 3D printer could magic up for me


One-twelfth scale modern miniature Philippe Starck Bubu stool, held in front of a business card rack for Minis by Twinmum.
She gave it* to me for free, because she said she wasn't able to get a 'decent print'. I didn't really care as it was at least the right scale.

(*Yes, there was more: keep reading to see just how generous she was to me, and how happy that made me feel).


Speaking of free, this chap was one of my first acquisitions, from a freebie box:I was delighted by my discovery and decided there and then that there was quite a story attached to the chap: I just had to find out what it was and build a scene around it.

Painted portrait of a man in a red military uniform
Later in the weekend I weakened and bought this lass from the same stall: as I was sure that they belonged together (and for $2 for both, who was I to quibble?)

One-twelfth scale framed painting of a girl holding a doll
And here's the full recap of what I brought home with me. And which I am looking forward to playing with once life settles down...

1. The black and white edit

Including two Philippe Starck Prince Aha stools from Minis by Twinmum...


Flat lay of black and white items including fabric pieces, a one-twelfth scale modern miniature toaster, white platters, black Philippe Starck Prince Aha stools, a cameo and a black wine goblet
2. The yellow and orange collection
More Prince Aha stools (gifted) and retro kitchen cannisters (bought) from Minis by Twinmum. Our lass, a piece of modern art (which by now I can't remember where I got it but it was either cheap or free), a French feve and a bottle and glasses of red wine (because I always need glasses of wine!)


Flat lay of one-twelfth scale modern miniature items in colours of red, orange and yellow including paintings, Philippe Starck Prince Aha and Bubu stools, retro kitchen canisters and a bottle and glasses of red wine.
3. Got the blues
Art, Sebel chairs, and retro kitchen cannisters bought from from Minis by Twinmum.


Flat lay of one-twelfth modern miniature items in blue and white, including a painted portrait, a wall piece, a Sebel plastic chair, and retro kitchen containers
4. Black and gold
Because you know how I like these colours combined...


Flat lay of one-twelfth miniature items in black, brown and gold including picture frames, wall art, a sewing kit, wooden fruit and bottles of wine
5. Kits
Yes, I bought another tray kit, plus the latest from JWT Dollshouses and Miniatures. When I'll get to them, I don't know.


Selection of one-twelfth scale modern miniature kits including trays, chests of drawers and a bookcase with cross ends
6. Treasures
I prevaricated about both of these for almost the whole weekend, but am glad I decided to buy them.

The box is by Alan Waters. The metronome was (I thought) Petite Princess but now I'm not so sure.


Full-sized paper clip with a one-twelfth scale miniature wooden box and a metronome next to it
Nevertheless, I am in need of a metronome, so this will do.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

March means miniatures

The ACT Miniature Enthusiasts Miniature Fair and Dollshouse Show, to be precise: which happened yesterday.

Here were the highlights for me:


This garden courtyard scene, which was displayed in front of a canvas from (I assume) a bargain shop. The workmanship and detail in the scene was wonderful, but I thought the sense that the scene continued back and up to the top of the hill was a magic touch.

One-twelfth scale miniature garden courtyard with a greenhouse,a selection of plants and flowers and two men standing at the back. Behind the garden, vineyards stretch into the distance, towards the low sun.
(Speaking of 'touch' I may have warmed up the colour on the photo a touch to give it a feeling of being taken during the gloaming hour, rather than under fluorescent lights in a suburban hall...)
A woman photographing one of the one-twelfth scale buildings on display at a miniatures show. Behind the display hangs a fabric wallhanging that spells out 'ACT Miniature and Dollshouse show'.
I was interested to see Rhonda and Scott Coleman's menswear shop, as I'd photographed the contents last year (when they were displayed in an IKEA light box) but didn't blog about it. And I was lucky enough to persuade Scott to pose behind it for a photo:
One-twelfth scale miniature gentlemen's outfitters shop, with 'Coleman & Sons' written above the door. Behind the model is a man and a fabric wallhanging that says 'ACT Miniature Dollshouse'.
 It's looking very smart!
Detail of the front of a one-twelfth scale men's clothing shop with two display windows full of various men's clothing.
I'm always a sucker for a dolls' house dolls house shop, and this one seems to carry everything you might need.
One-twelfth scale miniature dolls' house shop interior, with various people browsing the tiny dolls houses and books.
Detail of a one-twelfth scale miniature dolls' house shop with four males having a conversation around the counter, and a woman looking at a display of boxed kits at the back of the shop.
The Main Street Gallery caught my attention. So much so, that I forgot to find out who created it, but past me reliably informs me that it's by Jenny Balderson. (She does beautiful work, which I photograph quite regularly...)
One-twelfth scale modern miniature two-storied art gallery and art supplies shop, taken from the outside at dusk. The lights are on and there is a woman in the gallery and a man standing outside on the street.
(So I also magiced this photo to make it dusk...)

Upstairs is a gallery space, with some beautifully-made pieces on display, ranging across many media,

One-twelfth scale modern miniature art gallery, with a woman standing behind a counter in the corner with a display of jewellery in it. On the wall behind her is a tapestry and a painting and in front and to the side of the counter are a selection of colourful glass vases.
Corner of an art gallery with a variety of colourful tapestry, painted and glass art works on display.
while downstairs is the art store we first visited in 2009, which is much expanded in its new home.
One-twelfth scale modern miniature art store displaying various paints, mark-making material, books and supports.
One-twelfth scale modern miniature art store displaying various paints, mark-making material, books and supports.
Business must be good.
One-twelfth scale modern miniature art store displaying various paints, mark-making material and supports.
Another highlight of the show for me was meeting Jill Fraser, owner of the new New-Zealand miniature magazine The Miniature Time Traveller.
Woman standing in front of a display of one-twelfth scale miniature buildings. She is holding four copies of the Miniature Time Traveller magazine, fanned out.
And, finally, the food provided for traders by thBlack Mountain School P&C was amazing, as usual. They fed us scones with jam and cream for morning tea, a selection of hot and cold dishes for lunch and this is what turned up on the trolley for afternoon tea:
Plate of cupcakes next to a plate holding half a dark chocolate cake with fresh raspberries on the top of it. Next to the cake is a stack of plates, and in front is a stack of paper napkins.
(Stall holders at the Canberra show are very spoiled!)