Tuesday, November 28, 2017

These are a few of my favourite (miniature-related) things over the past couple of weeks...

(You might like to get a cup of tea, or your beverage of choice before you start reading: it's going to be a long post...)

OK: first up, the candelabra painting was a success. I'm feeling most chuffed.
One-twelfth scale wrought-iron candelabra with candles.
Now, on to what I've been up to over the past few weeks (when I've not been at work, or making scenes...)

There was Canberra Modern, a new sub-festival of the Design Canberra festival (and very similar to the now-famous Palm Springs Modern week).

I'm really excited that such an event has started in Canberra as I believe we could be 'The Napier of modernism' (but without the earthquake).
Person holding a flier for the Canberra Modern festival while seated behind a row of chairs designed by Fred Ward.
My budgetary constraints meant I had to chose carefully, especially as several of the events included book signings of books that were firmly on my collection-development wish list.

First up was Modernist Love, a talk by Tim Ross who created the most excellent series Streets of Your Town (trailer here, watch the series here).
Tim 'Rosso' Ross and his latest book in front of an audience.
 Next was a talk by Geoff Isaac, the author of the first book on Australian mid-century modern furniture designer Grant Featherston (via a Kickstarter campaign I didn't quite get to in time).

This is one of the dining chairs that started his obsession:
Geoff Isaac giving a talk in front of a slide of a Scape dining chair by Grant Featherston.
and a photo of how he stores his collection now (and I thought I had storage problems as a miniaturist!)
Geoff Isaac giving a talk in front of a slide showing how he stores his Featherston chair collection.
This is the very rare E51 chair which has eluded him so far (it sold at auction for $17,500):
Slide of a battered Grant Featherston E51 chair.
And here he talks about the famous Talking Chair (during which I was plotting if a paper cup would make a good beginning of miniature version...)
Geoff Isaac giving a talk in front of a slide of a Talking Chair by Grant Featherston and one of them in use at the 1967 World Expo.
Finally he shared the story of the failure of the Stem Chair, with base and chair of differing materials:
Slide of a Grant Featherston stem chair, with the base and the top created from different materials.
Afterwards there was a book signing. I bought a copy of course, calling it one of my not-Christmas presents for this year...
Geoff Isaac signs a copy of the book he wrote on Grant Featherston.

The next talk on my agenda was The Other Moderns and I was delighted to see an unexpected mention of my old friend The Dixon Street Flats* in Wellington in a slide show about Australian √©migr√© designers.
Rebecca Hawcroft giving a talk in front of a slide of the modernist Dixon Street Flats in Wellington.
Once again there was a book that I needed in my collection...
Display of copies of the book The Other Moderns on a table.
and a signing. (The author convinced me that I needed to make the trip to Sydney to see the exhibition that went with the book).
Rebecca Hawcroft signs a copy of her book The Other Moderns.

To round things off beautifully, Mary Featherston (wife of Grant Featherston) gave a talk about her and her husband's work, and his work with Robin Boyd,
Mary Featherston giving a talk in front of a slide showing a flier of the Modern Home Exhibition.
(including the house Boyd designed for them, and in which she still lives).
Slide of the interior of the house designed by Robin Boyd for Mary and Grant Featherston.
I was very pleased to see that she included pictures of maquettes and trial versions of the Talking Chair, which confirmed my thoughts on how to make a miniature version...
Mary Featherston giving a talk in front of a slide showing maquettes and tests of the Grant Featherston Talking Chair.
And then I went to Sydney to see this:
Entry to The Moderns exhibition, with a modernist chair in a display cabinet.
Man reading the introductory display on European modernism: the spirit of the age at The Moderns exhibition.
Photo of a mid-century modern lounge on display at The Moderns exhibition.
Photo of a mid-century modern lounge on display at The Moderns exhibition.
(Hey, I have one of those chairs in miniature!)
Modernist lounge on display at The Moderns exhibition.
Mid-century modern scarf fabric design on display at The Moderns exhibition.
Modernist lounge on display at The Moderns exhibition.
Modernist lounge on display at The Moderns exhibition.
Photo of a mid-century modern house on display at The Moderns exhibition.
and then stumbled across miniatures while I was there: a ghost-train winding box 
Model skeleton pushing a trolley of baggage at a miniature ghost train.
Model skeleton pushing a trolley of baggage at a miniature ghost train.
and Luna-Park chess set, both by Peter Kingston. (I'm now slightly obsessed with finding out what the winding box did when it was being wound...)
Chess set made up of pieces representing parts of Luna Park in Sydney,
Back home, the next stop was the opening of an exhibition at The Embassy of Finland in Australia, where Daniel Soma's model of the Futuro House had landed after his Sydney exhibition (which I missed, so was very pleased to learn had come to Canberra in a new iteration):
Model of a Futuro House in front of a wall of sketches of its design.
Model of a Futuro House in front of a wall of sketches of its design.
Interior of a model of a Futuro House set up as a lecture theatre.
Model of a Futuro House in front of a wall of sketches of its design and behind a window covered with replicas of original correspondence about the company.
(I was ever so good and wasn't even tempted to stuff the model up my top and head to the exit...)

(*In a weird twist of...something, one of the very first miniature club meetings, in the early eighties, was in the common room on the roof of the Dixon Street flats, where we made a chair out of a paper cup).

Monday, November 27, 2017

Where do I start?

Design Canberra festival.
Canberra Modern festival.
Book signings (and book buyings).
A trip to Sydney to see The Moderns exhibition at the Museum of Sydney.
Visits to four different branches of Daiso.
And an exhibition opening which included a scale model Futuro house.

I'd planned to spend this evening blogging about it all. And then a thunderstorm rolled in, so I'll (and you'll) have to wait until tomorrow...

Monday, November 20, 2017

Saturday screen test

Last week's miniature inspiration happened early on Wednesday morning, as I lolled in bed with my morning mug of tea and a copy of Wallpaper* magazine, enjoying the down-time before I needed to get ready for work, and spotted this advertisement (with a screen in a design that looked rather familiar):
Magazine advertisement for furniture including a black and white striped screen, with three pieces of black and white striped bunting laid on top, and a utility knife.
And I was out of bed and rummaging in workroom for supplies before I knew it.

On Saturday, feeling all smug-like, I started on cutting out the pieces (stopping, as one does, to Instagram the process)...
Flat lay of a pencil, utility knife, metal ruler and a one-twelfth scale modern miniature tulip chair along with a rectangle of black and white striped wood, plus some offcuts.
(Wheee! Look at me! This is so eas... Oops).

As I finished cutting the second piece I realised that the way the bunting had been printed meant that, no matter which way up I turned the pieces of the screen, the stripes all faced the same way. (The only solution would be to cut across the bunting, but that would make the screen very (very) short).
Two rectangular and one bunting-shaped pieces of plywood printed with black and white stripes,laid out on a cutting mat, along with a metal ruler and a utility knife.
Luckily I'd bought some much-more-expensive-but-still-deeply-discounted rectangular bunting on the same shopping trip. With black (but no white) stripes. 
Rectangular piece of plywood bunting, printed with black stripes, laid out on a cutting mat along with a metal ruler and a utility knife.
So I tried again. The wood on this bunting was thinner, so easier to cut. And this time the concept worked (although, in retrospect the anal-retentive in me would have preferred it if I'd moved the pieces so the stripes matched).
Three rectangular pieces of plywood, printed with black stripes, laid out on a cutting mat along with a roll of black duct tape, a metal ruler and a utility knife.
And then I went downstairs to wash some dishes. Which was when the old subconscious tapped me on the shoulder and reminded me that I had some printed hessian in stash that might just work rather well with this new version of the screen, if I just made the time to add the bias binding I'd planned to the edges of it...
One-twelfth scale modern miniature scene including a plywood screen with black stripes, a hessian rug with a black chevron pattern, a white tulip chair with a black seat and a bronze side table with a potted fern sitting on it.
And so it was that the end result of my miniature crafting adventures turned out quite differently than I'd expected. Again.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

The co-working space

It's been a busy week, so I didn't manage to share my photos of the finished You Are Here: the co-working space you saw being created on Monday.

So welcome (finally!)
One-twelfth scale modern miniature co-working space, showing the lounge, kitchen and entrance spaces.
You Are Here is a new subscription-only co-working space located in the hip neighbourhood of Braddon. With space for twelve of our subscribers to use it at a time, it gives you the opportunity to meet like-minded people without having to deal with a large, noisy overwhelming space.

We encourage collaborations and a sense of community: just inside the entrance is a whiteboard to let you know what's going on,
Entrance to a one-twelfth scale modern miniature co-working space, showing a whiteboard on the wall above a row of drawers. Displayed on the drawers is a yellow typewriter.
and a noticeboard where you can add you business card or details of events the other members might be interested in. There's also storage for your bags while you're using the space.
Entrance to a one-twelfth scale modern miniature co-working space, showing one wall covered in corkboard with cube shelves next to it.
With a choice of spots to work, you'll find something that will suit your work-style. On one side of the space there are tables and seating at various heights for quiet work individually or in groups.
One-twelfth scale modern miniature co-working space, showing two tables (one high, one normal height) lined up and surrounded by seating.
And, as you can see from the top photo, there's a kitchen area and a more relaxed break-out space for for holding meetings, chatting to fellow members, or for when you just need time out.

We offer a range of subscription options, so contact us today for more information, or drop into our launch this Friday from 4 pm.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Space to think creatively

Talk about famous last words...

Saturday morning started as most weekend mornings do around here: with a mug of tea and some reading material to accompany it.

Curiously, the colour-coordinated state of my weekend reading was quite coincidental.
Two magazines (Uppercase and Wallpaper) and a book (Barbara Hanrahan: printmaker) arranged on a bed with white bedding.
But it obviously stuck in my head, because as the usual postcards that come with Uppercase magazine fell out when I opened it, I thought of a Formica table top. (I've used these postcards before and have a stash waiting for the right scenes...)

And suddenly there I was on Saturday morning (even before I'd made brunch), pulling together the germ of a new scene (flat-lay style): a co-working space, something I've not thought of before.

I used a number of bits and pieces I had banging round in stash, plus some new pieces picked up from here and there:
Flat lay of various items in yellow, black and white, mainly in one-twelfth scale miniature.
I knew I had a couple of dining table kits picked up from JWT, and figured one would be the perfect base for what I'd planned. Except while pulling together the flat lay, I included the stools that came with my Lori Loft to Love. Which meant there had to be some kit-bashing in my future if the table was going to fit the stools.
Pieces for a one-twelfth scale dining table kit, including glue, toothpick and patterned paper for the tabletop, all laid out on a cutting mat.
In the end, I only used five of the pieces included in the kit: and re-cut the legs using the balsa dowel I bought to make the extra tea tins to turn into planters. In retrospect, I'm not actually sure why I used the kit: except perhaps to get it off the list of unused kits. And as a springboard.

While waiting for the glue to dry on my new table, I played with the items from my flat lay: in the build you've seen many times before:
One-twelfth scale modern miniature co-working space with tables, chairs, storage drawers and a divider made of breeze blocks.
(with the added challenge of not turning it into Buzz Bar Cafe mark II...)
One-twelfth scale modern miniature office break-out space in bright colours with a kitchen in the background and seating and coffee tables in the foreground.
 It was about this time that I realised that the scene was actually turning into some sort of poster child for making miniatures from everyday items: the ottoman is from a stash gifted to me by Taph many many moons ago. The rug is an upholstery sample courtesy of Catherine. And the coffee table? A spray paint can lid (Hah! Anyone remember this?)
Aerial view of a one-twelfth scale modern miniature ottoman and coffee table with a laptop and a coffee on it.
But that's not all: in the kitchen area are hexagonal tiles made from reflective safety tape I picked up at Pete's Emporium, and the bowl is from an alarm clock courtesy of Typo's scratch and dent table
One-twelfth scale modern miniature still life with a water jug, bowl and pepper grinder against a wall of hexagonal tiles.
The good news is that the table is complete*:
One-twelfth scale modern miniature high work table with white wooden legs and a yellow printed top. Around it are yellow high stools.
The bad news is that I think I need to add some struts to the bottom. And I've run out of the undercoat I used to paint it with...

(*aka blog ready: you may have noticed that the paper is not actually attached to the top yet!)