I've been thinking about this subject a lot lately, and I would love to hear your take.
What is it about miniatures that drew you in the first place? And what keeps you coming back for more?
In my case, I would say a number of things influenced me and converged into this particular passion. One, I like small things and always have. There's just something about tiny objects. Two, I like to collect things. There is just something about multiples that is really appealing to me. I've said before that I collect Limoges boxes and Santons -- both small --(and Snow Village Christmas houses and other decorations, and decorations for every other holiday there is but that is another story entirely and one I will skip here). So that's the collector part.
When I was a very little girl, we had a neighbor, Mrs. Palmer, who had an amazing dollhouse in her living room. She had no children, and the dollhouse was clearly her own. It was huge and had lights and it was a treat to be allowed to look at it. It was very detailed (did it have running water? I think so, but I don't know if that's just a figment of my imagination). It had many, many rooms full of interesting things to hold my attention. Notice I didn't say I could "play" with it. I don't honestly remember being able to touch anything--but I was fascinated by it and went back to her house over and over to visit it. I wish I had photographs of that house.
Another influential dollhouse is the one made by Faith Bradford, now housed at the National Museum of American History.
When I was a girl the house was in the basement of the museum, sort of tucked away there. Apparently the curators didn't really know what to do with it. What I remember very distinctly is that there was a platform that you could stand on to see into the house. I don't remember it being covered with glass or plexy, either, although I don't think anyone dared touch anything!
This is what it looked like then.
The house was renovated recently and has a fancy new display: http://blog.americanhistory.si.edu/osaycanyousee/2010/10/the-miniature-world-of-faith-bradford.html
There's also a new book about it. http://www.papress.com/html/book.details.page.tpl?isbn=9781568989747 . When I bought the book, I was startled to see a photo of a rapt little girl in what looks to be the early 1960s looking at the house -- she reminded me so much of myself at that age.
Like the Thorne Rooms at the Art Institute, this dollhouse is one of the most popular exhibits at the Smithsonian.
Quick aside, have you seen the newest Whitledge-Burgess workshop? It's called " The Shop at Kensington Plaza." OMG--do I want to make it into a china shop! And put it right next to my silver shop.
You can see it here:
Lastly, I love doing the research that makes each miniature project unique. I also love the thrill of the hunt when I am looking for that perfect item to go in a particular spot. So for me, miniatures are not just about dollhouses or roomboxes, they are about style, history, architecture, interior design, art, craftsmanship, imagination-- and everything else that makes them magical!
So send me your stories....in the comments or by email firstname.lastname@example.org. Who knows, maybe I will write a book. Or at least a magazine article.
I'd love to hear from you!