Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Miriam's House

I did it!
I sold my first miniature piece in an art gallery!
It's actually not too mini: it's a three foot tall 1/12 scale dollhouse full of furniture.
AND - it sold within twenty minutes of the show's opening to a wonderful local artist.
I didn't think to take photos at the reception, but a friend snapped this image of me discussing the house with this lovely German ballerina after her performance.

I found the Call for Artists while perusing Cottonwood Center for the Arts website.
For the show Waste Not, Want Not, the curators were requesting art inspired by the style of Miriam Schapiro. Initially, I planned to submit a large scale painting and was taking in all the images of her gorgeous bright, floral artwork online when I discovered her dollhouse on display at the Smithsonian!
I actually think I may have seen this dollhouse in person at the museum a few years ago.
Image source -  Smithsonian
I honestly never considered submitting a dollhouse to a gallery before.
To create this piece, I used a collection of odds and ends (many from the Goodwill Outlet Center, of course) and miniature items I've made in past years.
I incorporated about half of the goodies in this basket.
How many things can you find in the house photos?
This little shelf is the skeleton of the house.
At one point, I'm guessing it held baskets, but those were long gone by the time I found it at a thrift store.  I fit, cut, and sanded wood to create the floors and walls of the home.  Each window was cut out with a box cutter, which took a ridiculously long time.
I am not a carpenter.
Creating furniture and accessories was much more fun.
I tried to incorporate Miriam's style as much as possible with shades of pink and plenty of flowers.
I imagine that her home would have been eclectic, yet classy and full of beautiful things.

In the living space, I made a floral couch from a vintage kerchief, a coordinating velvet ottoman and pink rose wall art. The dresser is from a previous Anthropologie inspired post (DIY here), and so is the tiny terrarium made from a perfume bottle lid.
The bookshelf is made from rulers, the end table from a large cork, and the mounted zebra head was severed from a plastic toy.  
My very favorite item in the house is this ballerina lamp.
This little dancer is a vintage 1970's cake topper. The base is made of buttons, and the shade was crafted from a spice shaker.  The brass plant holder is a fixture from a desk lamp.
In the bedroom, I used an Asian folding fan for the headboard of the bed and a lace doily on the bedspread. The little cat painting is on a Scrabble tile, and a paint chip acts as a canvas for the framed Venus inspired art.  The jewelry tree was made from a domino and twisted black electrical wire.
The white shelves and yellow camel are pieces from board games.
For more thoughts on how to use game pieces in a dollhouse, visit this post.
 I really like this little studio space.
The drafting table was a bathroom tile in a past life with chopstick legs painted gold.  The framed painting is an Itty Bitty Anthro project, and the sewing machine is vintage.  Scrabble tile holders have been re-purposed as shelves and a variety of small odds and ends act as art supply holders: a perfume bottle lid, a glue cap, a pink block shaped baby shower favor.  The paint brushes are made from painted toothpicks, and the yardstick is a wooden Starbucks coffee stir.
 Plastic bottle caps wrapped in twine make up the baskets (an altered version of this DIY), and the large abstract painting is my paint canvas that I used when painting the house.
The most intricate part of the house is this tile floor, which was also the most enjoyable item to make.  I drew the tiles by hand with a blue pen on graph paper during my lunch breaks.  It was time-consuming but very soothing.
The kitch-y pink ceramic bathroom items are the only actual furniture in the house.
I inherited them from my favorite elderly neighbor, Mrs. Pickford, a few years ago and I think she would appreciate their debut in Miriam's House.  For wallpaper, I used gold patterned envelope liners that reminded me of mermaid scales or shells.  The mirror was scavenged from an empty make-up case, and I used Sculpey clay and gold paint to create the Moroccan feel.  The small table has golf tee legs, and the terrarium uses a plastic bottle cap as a base.  
The kitchen/dining area is the largest room in the house.
An antique coin bank serves as a stove, and the table was made from a purple glass coaster with a candlestick base.  Under the table is a burlap rug cut from an Italian coffee bag. The bright cabinet knobs are plastic Airsoft pellets, and the backsplash is made from the inside of a confidential envelope.
On the counter, you can find a cake stand with a gumball machine bubble for the cover, a cutting board made from a black plastic car key, and a painted bottle cap planter.
If I could live in this house, I absolutely would, and I'd probably spend most of my time out on the little balcony.  I cut a plastic basket in half to create the space and added a contact paper floor.  A shell napkin ring acts as a large planter, and the blue watering can is another vintage baby shower favor.
A miniature platter from an Itty Bitty Anthro DIY became a table when I added wooden legs,
and the little birdhouse is from a Monopoly game embellished with a popsicle stick roof.  
The hanging chair, a shout out to MSchapiro's Womb Room instaltion, was made from a large metal ring and wire wrapped in twine and suspended from a gold necklace chain.
Have you ever built a dollhouse?
If so, were you happy with the finished product?
What tips would you share?

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