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Archive for the ‘Craftsmen & Women’ Category

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.

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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 !

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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

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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?”

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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.)

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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

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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.

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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

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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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Miniature Kitchen Loves and Sweet Inspiration Kim Marshall Saulter 1

I have to ration my time on the internet to one hour a day (otherwise I would be here all day !) and I overspent my “Blog Budget” wildly last week – so I really shouldn’t be here at all.

However, I have just seen this book by Kim Marshall Saulter and instantly knew that it was one of those Must See Things That Had to Be Shared.

There is a very generous 21 page preview of the book on Blurb here –

 Miniature Kitchen Loves and Sweet Inspirations

Kim Marshall Saulter - Kitchen Loves and Sweet Inspirations

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Petrina Case - than you card

Petrina won a set of The Prize Magazine.

She was then extraordinarily kind and sent me (by real life post !) a beautiful handmade card , and also some business cards for me.

They are all on lovely paper and I been trying, and failing, to do them justice in a photograph ever since.

The gold bands were on the inside of the envelope flap. It was a wonderful surprise to see a sudden golden gleam when I opened it.

I am going to save the envelope for making something special – I don’t know exactly what yet, but it will be something that needs beautiful gold paper.

I am keeping my fingers crossed that Petrina is picked as a Graphic45 Design Team Member for 2013.

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I would also like to thank Paula for making such a wonderful job of the folding dolls’ house and taking the trouble to photograph it so nicely for her blog.

I was truly delighted to see it in a real-life room. The little girls look as though they are enjoying themselves, don’t they !

Thank you as well to Krin, who took this wonderful photograph of the Circus Procession book.

Krin has two blogs (I struggle with one !!!) and in the blog devoted to 24th scale she has made a beautifully neat version of the folding dolls’ house, in 1/2 scale.

This is Krin’s idea and I have not tried to make the house at this size – I am firmly stuck in 12th scale ( or larger).

Krin has very kindly given details of the paper she used…

…so, in case there is anyone who would like to make a very small folding dolls’ house, and who would struggle adapting / converting / printing out and then scanning the 12th scale pdf…

… here are a couple of pdfs for 24th scale –

McLoughlin_Folding_Doll_House_24th_scale_OHM_130326

the coloured patches for the back of the floors

McLoughlin_Folding_Doll_House_24th_scale_OHM_130326-a

The instructions for making the 12th scale folding house are in the slideshow at the bottom of the post here

I hope you have fun – and I would be pleased to hear how you get on.

 

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