Below is an email that I recently sent out to our regular contributors for American Miniaturist. I generally send emails like this after each issue is complete, which translates into once a month for AM and once every two months for DHM. They're usually shorter and less interesting than this one, but I thought I could share this with all of our readers in case anybody is interested in submitting an article but needed a little inspiration.
Note: If you are interested in being added to my contributor email list, let me know by emailing email@example.com. *Please include which magazine you are interested in.* Thanks!
Our holiday issue of AM is off at the printer's. Not much to say except that it is very festive! :-) And we are starting a new series on Judaic holidays and traditions by Barbie Cohn Andreason, who has created a twelve-room structure with each room highlighting one theme. I'm really excited about it, as I don't believe we've done anything like it before.
In Itty Bits of our December (AM104) issue of American Miniaturist and the Big Buzz of the upcoming Jan-Feb (DHM25) issue of Dollhouse Miniatures, we included a small note about the calendar that a group of miniaturists has created to raise money for charity. They have been selling these calendars since 2010, and each one has a new theme (the 2012 theme is Animals) and has raised money for a different charity. The calendars for 2012 are going to raise money for the Cancer Council of Australia, and here is the reason why.
Hi, my name is Lorraine Robinson, and this is the story behind the Fairy Meadow Miniatures 2012 Calendar.
In 2009 I began a project to involve my customers in the creation of a 2010 calendar with a primary goal to raise funds for a local charity. This project proved very successful with the assistance of 11 customers and a total of $2,400 being raised for Headway, a charity that helps people with Acquired Brain Injury. I provided my customers with room boxes, and months of the year were drawn from a hat. Each customer, as well as myself, developed a miniature scene for the month we received. There were wonderful scenes developed for Valentine’s Day, Mothers Day, a June Wedding, Halloween, Christmas and many more. These wonderful scenes were then photographed by a professional and turned into a calendar by another professional. These calendars were sold at $25 a piece resulting in a $2,400 profit which went entirely to Headway.
After the success of the 2010 Miniatures Calendar, which raised a reasonable sum for the Headway Charity, Fairy Meadow Miniatures have decided to continue this project annually to assist more charities with their causes. The key objective for this project is to raise funds for charity, and all revenue earned from the sale of these calendars will assist these charities helping those in need and furthering research to find cures.
After the 2010 calendar had such brilliant results, I just loved the thought that we had helped others—that sure makes you feel great. So I made the decision that I would do this again, bi-annually; however, it appears that the interest in being involved in creating these miniature scenes for the calendar has exploded, and I am now going to produce a calendar for charity yearly. I have all the names for the 2013 calendar and all my volunteers for 2014, with the list already started for 2015. If you would like to be involved please call Lorraine on 02 4229 8815 or email Lorraine@fairymeadowminiatures.com.au.
The charity that I am raising money for in 2012 is the Cancer Council of Australia. I decided to help this charity as I have just recently lost my dad, Jeffrey John Hopkinson, to cancer and thought that so many people have lost loved ones to this dreadful disease.
Dad has always had a love for model making, and on one of his many visits to Australia from the UK he took the hobby up again while staying with us. I, of course, being an avid miniaturist, soon got him into helping me with my creations. So when, in 2006, Fairy Meadow Miniatures opened, it became second nature to Dad to spend his days with me in the shop when he visited. He would spend hours drinking tea and chatting to my customers about what project he was working on and also taking an interest in what the customer was working on.
During his last visit in March 2009 I decided that Dad needed to keep busy, and so out of the box came the “Alexandria” by Duracraft. My dining room table became unusable and Dad and I worked on this house for the three months he stayed with us. Between us, we built it and modified quite a few things and by the time Dad left the Alexandria was 95% built. Dad was so pleased with all the work that he had put into the construction and painting. I did the wallpapering and the lighting and between us we did the modifications.
Dad left on June 6 with strict instructions that the roof needed to be shingled and the trims added and he would inspect the finished project on his return the following year. Unfortunately, Dad died just three months later on September 7, 2009. He will never see the finished house which has now been named “The Jeffery’s House.” I have still left the theme the same because dad always smirked at my intention to make this house into a house of ill repute but with older residents. The house is run by Mrs Jeffery who is a very well-to-do lady and absolutely certain that the neighborhood has no idea of what really goes on in her boarding house. Dad just loved the thought of this and so other than the changing of the name I have kept everything true to what Dad and I discussed.
The 2012 calendar
So once again with the help of 11 volunteers who have given me their time and dedication, we have produced a miniature display with the theme this time as "animals." This calendar has 12 lovely animal-themed scenes all done in 1/12 scale. All I can say is that some people have great imaginations.
Many of the local and interstate Doll Bear and Miniature fairs have paid to advertise their shows so that you the customer can see at a glance all the upcoming fairs and plan for them.
This year’s photographers, Dean Lewins and Melanie Russell from fotostrada, have very kindly sponsored my calendar fundraising so that more money can be raised for charity. The photographs are absolutely brilliant which will only enhance the viewing pleasure from having one of these calendars on display in your home, office or studio. Help me help others by purchasing a 2012 calendar for $20 available at Fairy Meadow Miniatures.
Behind the scenes in Erik's studio. Left: Erik Goddard (artist), right: Eric Carlson (cameraman)
A stint in Japan. Novel-writing on the side. An impeccable vision for modern design. An even more impressive eye for antique design. A secret basement studio where miniature magic happens every day.
These were just a few of the things I learned recently about Erik Goddard, miniature architect and artist extraordinaire. (www.erikgoddard.com)
Last Friday, Eric Carlson (the cameraman) and I packed up our gear and hit the road for Minneapolis, Minnesota--about an hour and a half north of our little country office. It's always a treat filming on location for Dollshouse.TV--a chance to get out and stretch our legs, listen to some tunes on the drive, and of course, to meet new and talented people.
After navigating our way through traffic and hectic downtown streets, we came upon Erik's home along a lovely, tree-lined street. We were greeted by leftover Halloween pumpkins on the front stoop and Erik's friendly cat. He led us through his home, down a flight of stairs, through his laundry room, under a couple low-hanging basement pipes, and--ta da!--finally to his studio.
His studio is like a wonderful little hideaway, tucked away in a warm basement with good lighting and all of his materials and supplies within arm's reach of his delightfully cluttered work table. Since most of what he creates flies out the door right away to his many eager collectors, the small gallery on one side of his studio only contains a few favorite pieces.
As many of you may know from reading the article about him featured in the January/February 2009 issue of Dollhouse Miniatures, Erik builds and designs amazingly realistic room boxes and free standing miniature structures. He excels in not only sleek modern designs, but also the more antique and weathered designs.
Our visit with him was both productive and lots of fun! He and I sat down for a long "Meet the Miniaturist" interview in which he had a chance to tell us not only about his art form, but about himself. I don't want to give away any details, but he really does have an interesting life story and it's always fun to learn the "hows" and "whys" behind an artist and his work.
We were also lucky enough to do a few demonstration segments with him while we were there. He talked to us about how we can best achieve natural lighting scapes in our miniature structures, his tips on aging and weathering wood pieces, and some informative ideas for incorporating modern design elements into our miniatures. It seems Victorian is the trend right now in miniatures, and Erik showed us how simple and fun it can be to experiement with a new style.
All in all, our trip to Minneapolis was a success. Eric (the cameraman) and I left feeling uplifted from a job well done and inspired by a truly talented yet humble artist. Erik (the artist) is an artist of countless forms but also a father, a career-man, and an all-around nice person.
Look for these films coming soon to Dollshouse.TV!
Until next time,
New DVD just released from HobbyWorld.TV! Learn Joan Purcell's techniques for mini doll dressing and wigging. Time to start writing your Christmas wish list! :)
Order online at www.hobbyworld.tv.
In the Nov-Dec issue of Dollhouse Miniatures, we included Jan Stuart's article on creating lots of little Lebkuchen goodies as well as building a stall to display these delectable treats. Here, Jan shares with us the history of Lebkuchen, then goes a bit more in depth on how to create the colors of Lebkuchen featured in the magazine. Enjoy!
(By Jan Stuart)
A brief history
"Leb-koo'-kin" - What is this stuff? You'll love it. For who doesn't love Christmas cookies and spicy gingerbread and Old World fairy tales come true? Or finding part of one's heritage alive and well loved? Old World Lebkuchen is all of these good things! Small wonder this truly old, old, edible tradition (over six centuries old!) holds a fascination for many—and I hope it will for you, too, once you read of this "German gingerbread's" astounding part in Christmases past and present. You can read the tutorial on pages 60-65 of DHM24 to re-create these beloved holiday treats in miniature along with a Nuremberg Christmas Market Stall in which to authentically display them. It's adapted from a fifteenth-Century original! And, now, for the true story of Lebkuchen!
Made from recipes handed down through generations, Lebkuchen's other traditional ingredients were (and are still) flour, eggs, and spices—like cloves, ginger, cardamon, allspice, anise, coriander, and sometimes mace and cinnamon. Wow! Later came nuts (like almonds, hazelnuts, and walnuts), white sugar, and sometimes even candied orange and lemon peel. These large Christmas goodies ranged in color from light beige (lightly spiced) to dark brown (very spiced), with the common round ones sized a good four and a half inches or more in diameter while rectangles weighed in even bigger (sized just about right, in fact, for Premo's Mini Metal Cutters, which just happen to come in the beloved, traditional shapes you see in the photos)!
NOTE: You can read more about the history of Lebkuchen at German Foods.org and other websites, some of which sell authentic (full-scale and edible) German Lebkuchen by mail order.
Creating the different colors and textures
The color mixes, reading the photo from left to right, are:
2 parts Carmel and 2 parts Burnt Umber
2 parts Raw Sienna and 2 parts Burnt Umber
3 parts Carmel and 1 part Raw Sienna
3 parts Raw Sienna and 1 part Burnt Umber
3 parts Carmel and 1/4 part Raw Sienna
A good way to remember which color is which is that "Raw Sienna" is ginger-ey brown, like "raw" gingerbread dough and "Burnt Umber" is very dark brown, like a "burnt" gingerbread would be! (The blocks of color in the background are some used in the almonds and cherries). Don't forget, you can apply the techniques to mini sugar cookies, too, just by changing colors of modeling compound.
Cutting out shapes; powdering and cutting out pieces; creating a Celtic knot pattern with beads.
Adding ground tea as chopped nuts; using tin foil to make crackle-topped pieces; rolling clay to create blanched almonds.
You can buy a copy of DHM24, with Jan's original Lebkuchen article as well as other great features, here.