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Archive for the ‘Craftsmen & Women’ Category

book cover - the dolls' house book - pauline flick - 1973

The Dolls’ House Book – 126 pages
Author: Pauline Flick
Published by Collins – 1973
ISBN – 0001921568

Having been (possibly) unfair to the 1970s in the previous post, I thought I had better try to redress the balance and mention something that I do like from the 1970s.

Having said that: I didn’t know about this book in the 1970s; I bought it in a library sale in the early 1990s.

[And if you ever wonder why there are so many ex-library copies of books on eBay – the libraries in the UK started selling their books and downsizing quite a while ago now. Our small local library is about to close soon and then it will be goodbye to real books and we will only be able to get digital editions. People without computers, or no internet connection at all, (and there are still quite a few of these) are going to suffer.]

But back to the book: it is a modestly sized and I bought it because I liked the various illustrations of the window pelmets that are used above the section headings.

the dolls' house book - pauline flick - 1973 - pelmet illustration

I very nearly didn’t buy it because there is a section devoted to building a dolls’ house from a cardboard box.

the dolls' house book - pauline flick - 1973 - make your own dolls' house

But when I started reading it I was pleased that I had succumbed to the lure of the pelmets and the suggestion that you could build an Australian dolls’ house.

the dolls' house book - pauline flick - 1973 - australian house illustration

The book is clearly written with a juvenile audience in mind:

Grown-up collectors are always on the look out for old dolls’ house furniture…

but it is far from childish in its approach and, in a quiet sort of way, contains a great deal of historical information.

the dolls' house book - pauline flick - 1973 - cardboard chairs from the 1930s

It is divided into three main sections:

The History of Dolls’ Houses – I find this part fascinating as it is full of details that interest me and it is where I first learned of ‘The Girls’ Own Toymaker and Book of Recreation’ (published 1860 and now available on Google Books)

Making Your Own Dolls’ House – this contains a (sensible, if you ask me) description of making a robust dolls’ house from a cardboard box and suggestions of different types of styles of house that you might like to make, with pictures of the differing architectural styles of houses to be found in various British regions.

the dolls' house book - pauline flick - 1973 - timber framed suffolk house

Furnishing Your Dolls’ House – this is a very short section, but it ends with the wise words: “If you’re like me, once you begin collecting you’ll go on and on.”

*** *** ***

Re-reading the final section just now, in particular where the author describes cutting the head off a plastic deer in order to make a stuffed head to hang in her dolls’ house, I was reminded of something that I think might be of interest to someone reading this.

Jane Harrop (her website is here) provided instructions for making a hobby horse, using the head of a plastic toy horse for The DollsHouse and Miniature Scene Magazine (the article is here)

jane harrop - hobby horse

This is part of a series of ‘How To’ published by the magazine and made freely available by them on-line.

Not all the projects mentioned in the ‘How To’ section have detailed instructions, but there are lots of ideas, even when the instructions are non-existent or a bit sketchy.

*** *** ***

Finally, I have had a look and there is next to no information available on-line about Pauline Flick. This is a great shame as I am certain that she influenced the development of dolls’ house books and collecting in the UK.

The best I can do to redress this lack of recognition is to reproduce the biographic details from the back flap of the jacket ‘The Dolls’ House Book’ here.

the dolls' house book - pauline flick - 1973 - biographic details

While I was searching for information on-line I did come across a scanned copy of this book here.

I am not an expert of UK copyright law, but I am reasonably certain that it must still be in copyright in the UK.

Following Project Gutenberg’s reasoning on the matter of book copyright, it would therefore be an infringement of copyright to download this book to your computer.

Just looking at it on a computer screen, however, appears to be another matter entirely.

If you do decide to read it on-line you will be time travelling, so be prepared – there is only one colour photograph.

the dolls' house book - pauline flick - 1973 - frontispiece

This does not stop it being one of my favourite books about dolls’ houses.

 

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annina_distons_cushion

I think these cushions, which are in one of Annina Diston’s miniature homes, are a wonderful example how a simple designs can be used to great effect.

They lured me away from my search for a new camera and I spent far too long admiring them – and other examples of Annina’s work on Flickr

 

annina_diston_photograph_from_flckr

annina_diston_photograph_of_dollshouse

I came across her work while I was trying to escape a bad case of techno-fatigue. I seem to have spent months reading about camera sensors and lenses and f-stops and goodness knows what else. All the afore mentioned appear to have a impact on the performance (and price) of a camera, but they don’t actually mean much to me and I hoped that the dexterous and skilled photographers, who put their work on Flickr, might have listed what camera they used for which photo and possibly how much they had ‘tweaked’ their photo before uploading it. (Vain hope, but it was worth a try.)

Anyway, when I saw Aninna’s cushions I remembered that I had a plate of elegant embroidery designs from the French company Dollfus-Mieg et Cie that I wanted to share here.

The designs are easy to work and, if embroidered on 22 count canvas, make attractive miniature cushions, stool covers, chair seats, etc.

dmc - dollfus mieg et cie - embroidery plate

The original plate is quite small, so I have resized it to fit onto an A4 piece of paper. If you have trouble printing from the on-screen image, here is link to the pdf: OHM_DMC_20170601

Finally, in conclusion:

I had two things that I wanted to do this week, one was finding a new camera to buy: no luck there… the search continues

The second involved writing a blog post. This isn’t the blog post that I was planning to write, but (fingers crossed) with any luck I might be able to complete that tomorrow…

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Ettore Sobrero

ettore_sobrero_1991-catalogue

Ettore Sobrero’s books are, some of the most beautifully bound miniature volumes that I have ever seen and I was very glad to discover that I still had one of his catalogues.

I scanned the catalogue to see if I would be able to reproduce the fine quality print here. The answer to that is: no.

However, I thought that the  scans weren’t completely unflattering and decided to see if I could remember how to make a slideshow and upload it to Slideshare.

This was only partially successful because I had to compress the images in the presentation in order to be able to upload the file. This naturally affected the quality of the image on-screen and the scans became decidedly uncomplimentary.

Below is the result of my Plan B, which was to host the images on another site. I hope that this will prove to be a reliable way of storing images, although, in this instance, I still had to reduce the files a little in size.

Another reason for writing this particular blog post was to experiment with some of the changes in file management that have taken place on WordPress.

My apologies to all who find my experiments in the technological field duller than ditch water.

 

 

 

 

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Where was I ?

Our computer has been to the PC repair shop and I have been off-line for a while.

While I was waiting for my Spoonflower samples to arrive, I had been planning to write about Sue Bakker,  but thanks to the interruption I have rather lost the thread of of all that I wanted to say (no pun intended).

So what follows is shorter and briefer than I originally intended –

Sue Bakker needlework pattern in International Dolls House News 1977

I am very sorry to say that I only know Sue Bakker by reputation and not personally.

She is a founder member of The Guild of Miniature Needle Arts and some of her superb work can be seen on their website here – http://www.gmna.org.uk/people/SueBakker/Sue.html

She is also a member of The Miniature Needlework Society (International)

I know that her designs appear in various books, but I have never seen any of her charts offered for sale in kit form and I can only suggest that anyone interested in her work should contact her through one of these websites.

One of my friends, who knew how much I enjoy canvas work, gave me a copy of the International Dolls House News (Volume 26 No 11, October 31st 1997) containing one of her charted designs, and above is my attempt to do her work justice.

I think that it is a superb design and I found it was a great deal easier to work than its intricate appearance suggests.

 

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Yootha Rose - British Pathe News Film Footage

I have just had a piece of really good luck.

I have been looking everywhere on-line for references to someone called Yootha Rose and it turns out that she is this month’s

“Personality of the Month” on the Royal Pavillion, Museums & Libraries website

I don’t know how long her (very) short biography is going to be available there –

Yootha Rose was born in Australia in 1899 when her father, the singer Charles Rose, was touring with Nellie Melba.

Afterwards the family returned to England and, when she was 18, Yootha joined a concert party and entertained troops during the First World War. She then went on to design sets for various West End musicals.

During the Second World War, she taught at a school in Dorset and it was here that she began making toys. She was a success, making 16 toys for the ‘Britain Can Make It’ exhibition and received orders for 40,000 more.

She also provided toys for royalty, including a roundabout for Prince Charles and dolls for Princess Anne.

Using pottery, wood, paper and fabrics, she created a wide range of toys, from carved wooden balloonists to tinsel angels.

In 1952, Yootha was appointed a trustee of the National Toy Museum. Seven years later she became its Honorary Curator. The Museum moved to the Grange in Rottingdean in 1959 and the collection was taken over by the Brighton Corporation in 1971.

It finally moved to Hove Museum & Art Gallery where many items from the collection are on display in the Wizard’s Attic gallery.

***   ***   ***   ***

Why I am looking for information on Yootha Rose is a long and involved story (with which I will not bore you).

Part of the very, very involved explanation is that a couple of weeks ago I was trying to think of dolls’ house / miniatures related places to visit (in the UK).

They certainly exist in the real world, but finding them on- line is well-nigh impossible.

Try  finding photographs? – forget it !

***   ***   ***   ***

I am now going to make some sweeping (possibly untrue) generalisations, but please bear with me –

Generalisation Number 1

The culture in the UK is literal and literary.

We write words here. Shakespeare, Milton, Donne, Swift, Addison, Bronte, Austen, Thackeray, Dickens, more that I can possibly name, Terry Pratchett…

(People like Robert Adam did “useful” things like architecture.)

Pictures are not very “useful”. They maybe nice to look at but they are not “useful” – unless they are a diagram and come with a nice written description.

This gives me a bit of a problem when someone asks me if there is anywhere they can go to look at dolls’ houses and miniatures in the UK.

I can tell people about –

The Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood

(their virtual tour doesn’t work on my computer)

and

The Museum of London (London Wall site)

I can suggest to people that they should visit places such as –

Spencer House

(Never mind the (wonderful) model that Mulvany and Roger’s created, you can walk around inside the real thing).

and

Hever Castle

(The last time I visited Hever, John Hodgson’s (very fine) models were still on display, but I can’t find a reference to them on the Castle’s website).

(I have called the above “models” and not dolls’ houses on purpose. Words matter.)

I can then suggest that people (once they know what to look for) visit Flickr, or Picasa, or their photo-sharing site of choice, in the hopes that a nice person has been allowed to take photographs.

However, in most places you are –

 Not Allowed to Take Photographs and Will be Asked to Leave if you Do.

I don’t blame the museums / galleries for this apparent lack of understanding.

I have been to Paris once in my life, and the trip contained a visit to The Louvre.

I was bemused at the way a number of visitors dashed around taking photographs of everything with their mobile phones.

They didn’t appear to be looking at anything, just dash, stop, hold up phone, click, next, dash, stop, hold up phone, click, next…

But then, art galleries are (if you ask me) fairly weird places anyway.

The paintings weren’t painted to be displayed like that, were they?

If you can make only one trip this summer, it must be to Houghton Hall in Norfolk. Over a period of five months, Houghton will stage one of the most outstanding exhibitions ever seen in a British country house. Over 60 paintings from the great collection amassed in the mid-18th century by Sir Robert Walpole, and later bought by Catherine the Great of Russia, will return from St Petersburg to Houghton Hall. More than that, thanks to lists, inventories and even the recently discovered original hanging plans found neatly folded in a drawer in Walpole’s desk, most of the paintings will hang in the same positions that they occupied in the 1740s. The grandest will be back in the great gilded frames first designed for them by William Kent.

http://www.royalacademy.org.uk/ra-magazine/spring-2013/houghton-hall-return-journey,471,RAMA.html

***   ***   ***   ***

Generalisation Number 2

The majority of the British population think that –

  • Dolls’ Houses are toys.
  • Toys are for children.
  • Dolls’ Houses are for children and therefore “childish”.

In my experience, my most people, on seeing a dolls’ house item that does not fit into clear category of “a toy designed to be played with by children” (i.e. not plastic, not Lego, not packaged), will say –

“That’s nice. Isn’t is small. What’s it for?”

***   ***   ***   ***

How depressing can I be…?

I know of three magazines devoted to dolls’ houses and miniatures in the UK.

In no particular order they are –

The Dolls’ House Magazine

Dolls House and Miniature Scene

Dollshouse World

In the interests of research, I have spent the past couple of weeks trying to find any of these in my local shops.

However, they are not stocked anywhere locally and so, as I don’t read any of them on subscription, I can’t tell you anything about their contents.

Christiane Berridge is editor of The Dolls’ House Magazine and in a interview she described the typical reader of her magazine as –

Female, +45, family focused, general interest in crafts, a home-lover, her dolls’ house will be a form of escape from her ‘real’ life.

(The full interview is here – http://www.featuresexec.com/bulletin/interview_article.php?id=7483#.UZdI30p7TAk )

( By the way, there are plenty of magazines on model railways and model-making for war-gaming to be found in even my small, independent newsagent.)

***   ***   ***   ***

The point of all this being?

The UK dolls’ house world (as I know it) is very well hidden.

There is no way of showing places that don’t allow photographs.

There is no way of showing the work of makers who have absolutely no interest in having their work in magazines, let alone, perish the thought, on-line!

(You will have to trust me and believe that such people exist.)

So it is not possible to to show the very small, nearly invisible, secret, obscure, intensely creative British dolls’ house world that I know exists.

However, the weather has been appalling recently (rain, rain and more rain) and it has been impossible to take photographs, or make slideshows, so I have been using my “internet time” to play with Pinterest.

Firstly, because I needed somewhere to keep my “this might interest you to visit” links and then as a sort of a challenge –

I know about this, does it exist on-line?

Why doesn’t it exist on-line?

Is it called / masquerading as something else?

Found it !!!!

If you would like to see the result of my efforts so far, my miniscule Pinterest collection, it is here – http://pinterest.com/ohmep

Open House Miniatures on Pinterest

***   ***   ***   ***

Finally, if you find your blog or website on one of my Pinterest boards and would like me to remove it, please let me know and I will do so at once.

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This is a Paper Palace to Cut Out and Color - Evaline Ness

This is a Paper Palace to Cut Out and Color
Designed by Evaline Ness
ISBN 0-684-14708-4

My mother gave this book to me way back in the mid 1970s.

She had come across it in a cut-price bookshop that used to be on the Kilburn High Road (in London).

Shops like these are the last chance for a book that has been remaindered.

If a book doesn’t sell there it is pulped, and I have always been glad and grateful that this one, at least, was rescued.

I have never taken the book apart in order to turn it into a 3d palace, but I have decorated (and re-decorated) again and again in my imagination.

One of the things that I find particularly pleasing about it is the way the shape of two of the rooms is changed by the triangular supports.

This is a Paper Palace to Cut Out and Color - Evaline Ness - back cover

Then there is the way that it is possible to allow furniture to spill out of the rooms, not to mention the way that the owner of the palace is encouraged to use their imagination – and plenty of gold !

This is a Paper Palace - Evaline Ness

Whenever I need to make something fine and golden for a dolls’ house, this is one of the first places that I visit for inspiration.

open_house_miniatures_cinderella_cartel_clock

The book is still in copyright, so I can’t share it it great detail here –

This is a Paper Palace - Evaline Ness

this_is_a_paper_palace_to_cut_out_and_color_evaline_ness_bedroom

this_is_a_paper_palace_to_cut_out_and_color_evaline_ness_page_detail

– but if you are inspired to make a Paper Palace of your own, and would like some furniture to go in it, I would suggest having a look at the digital copy of The Girl’s Own Toy-Maker that is available from Google books.

It has some rather nice furniture patterns (as well as suggestions for a couple of small houses and other paper toys) that can be made from paper / card and I think that all of the designs could be worked up into something more substantial – with a little bit of work.

Here are a few of the simpler items –

The Girl's Own Toymaker - Dolls' HouseChair

The Girl's Own Toymaker - Dolls' House Chair with Arms

The Girl's Own Toymaker - Dolls' House Table

The Girl's Own Toymaker - Dolls' House Fireplace

The Girl's Own Toymaker - Dolls' House Washstand

I was delighted to discover that there is a companion volume for boys too –

The Boy’s Own Toy-Maker

The Boy's Own Toy-Maker - soldiers marching out of a fort

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kathleen Holmes' Doll House - Front Door

Kathleen’s house was recently featured in Miniaturas Magazine.

Kathleen Holmes Dollhouse in Miniaturas Magazine

I was very cheeky and asked her if she would mind sharing her photographs with a wider audience, and she has been very generous and agreed.

I planned to select twelve of her photographs as my “favourites” (Just twelve photographs? I couldn’t stop at just twelve!) and have been debating what I could say about them.

I finally concluded that what I really feel about the entire house is that it is:

Lived-in, Looked-after and Loved.

I could go on about the deft touches that please me – the tiny white bobbles on the nursery curtains, the casual, exactly right, arrangement on the attic windowsill, the leaves in the wheel barrow, the watering can (ready for emergencies?) in the photograph for the 4th of July celebrations… but the list would just keep growing longer and longer because I keep seeing new things to enjoy and marvel at.

So, enough words.

I hope that you will enjoy looking at Kathleen’s photographs as much as I do, and will  join me in thanking her for sharing her wonderful miniature home.

***   ***   ***   ***

Kathleen adds photographs to Facebook on a regular basis – https://www.facebook.com/kathleen.holmes.12

She is working on a new home at the moment.

new-house_copyright_kathleen_holmes_2013_all_rights_reserved-19
I can’t wait for her to move in.
Kathleen Holmes Dollhouse

***   ***   ***   ***

I cannot possibly name all the makers whose work is featured in Kathleen’s home, so it was a question of mention some, or none at all.

The food is principally made by –

Robin Brady-Boxwell of Crown Jewel Miniatureshttp://www.crownjewelminiatures.com/

Amanda Speakmanhttp://www.amanspeakminiatures.com/

Kim Marshall Saulterhttp://kimsminiatures.blogspot.co.uk/

The dog and the cat were made by *reve*.

*reve* has no items for sale at the time of typing this, but his / her eBay profile page is here – http://myworld.ebay.com/*reve*/

I apologise to the many people that I am overlooking by mentioning these very, very few.

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