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Archive for the ‘Craftsmen & Women’ Category

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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Update 10th October 2018 – There are some short films on Youtube that give a wonderful tour of Kathleen’s house.

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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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Open House Miniatures Paula Rose Needlework Carpet

I do not make these for sale.
At the end of this post there is a link for
Jaques Andre Human,
who makes exquisite needlework items.
The chart for this design is here

I  wrote about the pattern for this rug in an earlier post.

After looking at my original pencil chart, I came to the conclusion that my charting is very like my handwriting – after I have forgotten what I have written, not even I can read it.

I am very fond of this design and one day – when I have the time ! – I would like to make a full-size version of the rug.

So, in the hopes that I could re-chart it from the finished piece, I have been searching (off and on) for my box of completed needlework.

With a great deal of help from an exceeding patient friend –

Quote – “Why do you keep all this stuff in the same sort of cardboard box ?!?!?!? ” 

– we  finally found the rug itself.

The design is a direct copy of a one on a small purse, which belonged to the mother of my Exceeding Patient Friend.

The purse was worked in silk, but I like the hairy, slightly uneven, effect of wool and so I worked my rug in wool – in half cross-stitch, on 22 count canvas. (This is a larger canvas size than the original.)

Open House Miniatures - Paula Rose needlework rug corner

When I made it I didn’t have any “proper” wool, so I used darning wool (of the sort you used to be able to get for mending socks) for the coloured parts of the design, and thin yarn (of the type that comes on a cone for machine knitting) for the white background.

These days I would probaly use 2 ply crewel wool.  I would find it difficuly to choose just one supplier of wool to recommend, but if I could only choose one then I think it would be Appleton Wool   as it is always (in my experience) excellent quality and comes in a good variety of colours.

Everyone who believes that the stitches need to be worked in the same direction, please look away now.

If you look at the back of the rug you can clearly see that I worked the blue motifs in a variety of directions.

Open House Miniatures - Needlework Rug Reverse

I did this so that the fabric would not drift out of shape and the rug edges would remain straight.

When I am working in half cross-stitch, both full-size and in miniature, I very often work the decorative motive from the bottom of the design to the top and fill in the background in a right to left (or left to right) direction.

Varying the stitch direction is not orthodox, but I think experimenting and bending “the rules” can be rewarding – sometimes.

I vividly remember that it took me a week – one rose, or one blue medallion, a day – to complete a row of pattern.

This is not exactly a speedy result, but if you would like to make one of these rugs for yourself  the pdf  for the full design is here –

Paula_Rose_OHM_130310

The colours in the pdf chart are slightly different from the ones that I used in real life (I was using very odd yarn, in non-standard colours) and the design, although it looks simple, is rather intricate.

If you click on the image below, you will be able to see, and print, a larger version of part of the chart.

Open House Miniatures - Paula Rose rug - needlework chart

I like bold, strong colours, but I think this would work well in paler, subtler shades too, and I am sure that you will find it a rewarding project to complete.

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I hardly ever make small needlework items for sale, and I certainly never make large items like rugs.

So, if you are looking for fine miniature needlework (at what I think is an astonishingly reasonable price!) I would recommend considering the work of Jacques Andre Human .

It is unfair of me to single out just his work on the Petit Connoisseurs website, as there are a great many things there that I think are delightful – far too many to mention…

All right, maybe just one …

Bianca by Anna Braun from the Petit Connoisseurs website

Bianca by Anna Braun

Or two…

Flower Arrangement in Handmade Vase by Pam Jones

Flower arrangement in handmade vase
by Pam Jones

or three…

Large Pitcher by Hestelle Mare

Large pitcher by Hestelle Mare

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Finally a big very thank you to everyone who voted in last week’s poll.

The result was a tie – 31 votes for the McLoughlin Circus Procession book and 31 votes for a papier mache Easter egg.

I hope to have the slideshow for the book ready by next Friday and (hopefully) will have another one (for the papier mache egg) ready by Easter weekend.

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Rococo en Miniature

Two things happened this morning.

It started snowing and I finally excavated my way down to the layer in my cupboard where my boxes of “flat things” are stored.

I am currently looking for my embroidered carpets and my old pattern books and I was hopeful that they might be in one of these boxes. They weren’t, but I did find my meagre collection of Miniaturas Magazines.

This effectively stopped me looking at anything else for several hours.

The magazines are superbly produced and there is not one that I would willingly part with, but if I could only keep one it would have to be edition Number 53.

This features, for the main centre fold-out, the work of Manfred Kiedorf and Gerhard Bätz.

Their fantastic creations are currently on display in the Thuringian State Museum, Heidecksburg. The museum website does provide information in English and the – wholly inadequate! – on-line picture gallery for the exhibition is here.

The artist’s site Rococo en Miniature is entirely in German, but there are more / better photos of the models there, (I kept getting random photos when I clicked through the photo-gallery, but it was rather fun not knowing what to expect next – and apparantly you need an up-to-date browser or you can’t see the larger images when you click on a thumbnail).

rococo_en_miniature_02

There are also details of the correspondence between the two men and examples from their notebooks –

And there is a (VERY) short film here.   (at the bottom of the page)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The above photos are from my copy of Miniaturas – edition 53.

Miniaturas is a Spanish publication. It used to be issued monthly, and I think it is still only available on subscription. This was certainly the only way I could get copies when I was buying them, and I only stopped due to lack of space!

Email miniat@arrakis.es for subscription details  – the staff used to be fluent in English – BUT before you do, and it is a big BUT, the magazine is priced in Euros and around 10 years ago each issue was 5.11 Euros. I expect the price has increased since then and postage costs may well be high for countries outside the EU.

I had hoped to be able to write “Go To This Website To Get This Amazing Magazine” but when I googled “miniaturas construccion y coleccionismo” – which is the full title – I was rather disappointed to discover that their website was astonishingly sparse and devoid of information, pictures or publicity.

This made me wonder if they don’t need to advertise. They probably don’t, as they are very possibly (in my biased opinion) the best dolls’ house magazine EVER.

(I only inserted “possibly” in the previous sentence, because I know I have not seen every dolls’ house magazine in existence.)

I wouldn’t usually say this, because I prefer reading physical print publications, but roll on the day when there is an electronic version of Miniaturas available.

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