small-scale expressions

March 19, 2013

Some of the miniatures from my youth were passed down to me from previous generations.

Growing up, the toy with the most prolonged use was my doll house. At first I would simply play house in it with my mouse family. Later I began making Fimo food: miniature candy canes, lettuce, and rose-topped cakes. Then came furniture: bunk beds made from popsicle sticks, which I hand-painted with Scandinavian folk designs. Finally, there were forays into wall papers with miniaturized motifs. I even laid a brick floor in the kitchen. Turns out my dollhouse was my first exercise in design.

Even today I still delight in an exquisite miniature. I can’t say where this passion really comes from, but it feels like the purist kind of joy. My daughter experiences it too, and so the love of small objects is a tradition I am carrying on with her.

Apparently we are not alone. In fact, lately I have noticed a proliferation of creative expressions in miniatures. Experimenting with the small-scale, creating worlds inspired by one’s own aesthetic and imagination, appears to be an amalgamation of so many important exercises of the mind and spirit: play, art, and design. These wee items can be a bridge back to the idealized childhood where everything is beautiful, possible, safe, and contained. Or, conversely, they can be a poignant reminder of innocence lost.

Mouse accessories by Alessandra of La Casita, made for Xenia’s daughter. Photo by Xenia of Eau de Nil.

Henrietta the mouse enjoys her new accessories which will soon be available in Alessandra’s shop.

Creations for Alessandra’s daughter, made (and photographed) by Xenia.

Alessandra’s own pictures of her creations, including some adorable art.

A peak into Solvi’s dollhouse after we painted some mahogany-colored furniture a nice French gray, gave the bed a Marimekko cover, and added a contrast hot pink pendant.

With their hand-stitched curtains and newspaper walls, the paper doll houses of UK artist Cathy Cullis‘s are beautiful, but haunting.

more of Cathy Cullis’ small-scales scene featuring her own mini art

Artist Sabine Timm scours flea markets for discarded childhood treasures and resurrects them in ephemeral still-lifes. Here “Bulk Trash” reminds of how, in our relentless pursuit of that which is new and updated, we can be cavalier about casting off that which once held meaning for us: old furniture, playthings, past relationships, childhood.

In a more playful assemblage, Sabine Timm’s, “Green Finds”  features wee sprigs from the artist’s rooftop garden.

“The Princess is Missing”. Nuff said.

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