Do you remember reading Traci's account of our visit to Mary Wallace's home back in December? We were graciously invited to attend her "Mini Chair Affair" gathering, where a group of talented local miniaturists pooled their creativity to donate a collection of one-of-a-kind mini chairs to The Chair Affair event in Rochester, Minnesota.
You'll remember that The Chair Affiar (to be held in late February this year) is a benefit for the Boys & Girls Club. Each year, artists donate their unique chair designs for auction and this year, thanks to Mary's supreme organization skills and love of all things mini, will be the first year miniatures have ever been represented at the event!
Earlier last year, Mary kindly invited me to participate by making my own mini chair for the event. Of course I leapt at the offer! She presented me with a packet of information, including the mini chair kit donated by Mary Huffer of MJ Miniatures, my participation form, the donation rules, and a little note of encouragement.
I was so excited to work on a new mini project so I thought I'd document my progress and share with you all on the blog! Here goes:
Opening my little kit for the first time. I was so impressed with the precision of the laser cuts. Every piece fit together perfectly on my first dry fit. The kit came with very clear instructions too that weren't too long and intimidating.
All the pieces again. Just love that little star.
Above and following are the gluing stages. Probably don't have to include all of these photos, but what the heck!
Was a little tricky to get the chair legs to stay straight while drying, but I made sure to use a good wood glue and a jig where possible. I remember my kindergarten teacher always telling us that "a dot is a lot" with glue... probably should have remembered that point as I did get a little glue-happy!
I knew right away that I wanted to wrap my chair in some small yarn to give it a wicker effect. I had a skein of this very thin, gray yarn with a strand of silver sparkle running through it that I'd had for ages and didn't know what to do with it. Thought the mix of the modern sparkle with the more country-style wicker look would be a fun effect for my little chair, so I started wrapping!
I used tacky glue for the wrapping process. I was out of toothpicks at the time but luckily had a bunch of matches that were good for applying the glue to the wood. It was easy and fun to just wrap each piece of the chair very tightly with a piece of the yarn. Where I had gaps showing the wood that I couldn't get to with wrapping, I just cut off a tiny piece of yarn and glued it in place. It camouflaged very nicely.
(Blurry picture alert!) It took a little bit of thinking and planning to figure out which parts needed to be wrapped first. The tacky glue was slow to dry too so I had to let each section dry before doing a new section of yarn so the tails wouldn't come loose.
I was inspired by Traci's cover for the July 2011 issue of American Miniaturist (#99) to do a weaving effect for the seat of my chair. So again, I started wrapping!
I could only wrap this much going the one way, so I had to really try to fill it in with the weaving going the other way. The next step of the weaving tightened down the first direction so it would lay a little flatter.
And ta da! Here's my finished chair with the woven base. I was surprised and delighted with how cushy the seat looked with the woven yarn. Hated to cover up the little star on the back though, couldn't figure out a way to keep it.
After I submitted my chair to our Mini Chair Affair gathering at Mary's house, Mary suggested we set the chair on a base to really finish off the look. She came up with the idea to include a tiny bowl of yarn to play up the yarn theme, and luckily had the supplies already in her mini stash.
Here it is with the base and bowl painted and the mini yarn added! Mary wanted to get my final opinion on the layout and asked me if I preferred the scene with or without the rug. I thought it looked better without the rug--had a cleaner and more modern look which I really liked. What do you think?
And last but not least, my finished chair all ready to be submitted to the auction. Isn't it fun? A big thanks to Mary for her keen eye on making my chair really pop and for organizing the Mini Chair Affair in the first place. What fun it was for me to be involved!
My chair project may have been small (get it?), but I so enjoyed documenting my progress and commentating the steps. Sometimes it's nice to just sit back and reflect on this hobby we all love so much. Why did we choose this particular method? Why this color over another? What material works best? It's the little things that make our hobby such a big deal.
Until next time,