a miniature obsession
A collection of miniature rooms and scenes presented with fictional and non-fictional stories that bring them to life. I'm always starting new projects and rediscovering previous work, so this feature will continue to grow.
Everyday Moments. Everyday Life.
Some of life's simplest pleasures live in the everyday. These small moments can take on greater meaning and become really big when they come to life in miniature.
'A Magical Little Coffee Pop Up' housed in the BLK Greenhouse is sure to brighten your day!
The photos above are a mix of the real Blythe Coffee Shop and the 1:12 scale miniature. It isn't always easy to tell which is which.
If ever there was a life-size space that begged to be recreated in miniature, it's Blythe Coffee in Oakland, CA. From the moment I first set foot into this enchanting little shop, (owned and operated by my friend, Natalia Carrera), I knew I had to recreate it in 1:12 scale. I don't think I've ever had so much fun replicating the details of a real-life space as I had during the 2-month build of Blythe Coffee. I was determined to create a miniature that not only looked like the real thing but one that truly feels like it. I obsessed over every detail, visiting the shop several times and taking dozens of photos to ensure that I would get it right. Everything from the gorgeous wood beams strung with lights, and the exposed brick walls to the polished concrete floors and the abundance of plants... simply spoke to me. Don't get me started on the sweet potato pies! I just wanted to relax and stay a while. Oh, I almost forgot to mention the coffee! Not normally a fan of coffee, imagine my surprise when after a few samples I had to try every single flavor.
'At a Bookstore Near You'
This charming little store has proudly dedicated its front window to, 'The Man With Eight Pairs of Legs' – a marvelously riveting collection of short stories by the gifted writer, Leslie Kirk Campbell. From the first paragraph of the title story, the mastery of Leslie's storytelling is quickly revealed to be as precise and intentional as she is. This is an irresistible read. Someone set about reading on the outside bench immediately after their purchase and remained there long after the store has closed!
'Painting with delightful optimism'
Among the many things that she is, Genevieve Lauren is an artist. A painter, to be specific. Her mini studio space is positively enchanting... and I love how the lights almost blend into the old brick wall. She paints with a joy, freedom, and total abandon that sometimes moves her mother to tears. Last fall, she was commissioned to create a few small paintings for a miniature art collection and she delivered big time. I love this work!!
Bryan's music has given him the opportunity to travel around the world to places like Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Austria, Holland, Sweden, France, England, Japan, Korea and Jamaica, and 46 U.S. states. I asked Bryan what gives him hope and keeps him moving forward, especially during challenging and uncertain times. He shared this quote from Romans 8:31 - "If God be for us, who can be against us?" Bryan says he knows he is blessed. Amen to that, Mr. Dyer.
A Bold and Generous Presence
Bryan Dyer Bryan S. Dyer is a multi-talented musician who not only sings but plays several instruments including bass guitar, percussion and piano; writes and arranges music, conducts choirs and groups, and works in television, radio and film. He's a gifted singer and instrumentalist whose uniquely versatile talent for creating, sharing and teaching music inspired this project. (And, that incredible voice!!)
'Special Delivery for You' Doors and halls really are the space between.
The comings and goings, the ins and outs. Even in a static moment, they represent life, activity, and the movements of those that dwell within a space. Imagine here that the resident of this home was rushing out the door when he was greeted (unexpectedly) by a delivery man with a package. In his hurry to take possession of the delivery and be on his way, he failed to notice that he dropped his wallet. Better in the house than outside... but still. He isn't likely to notice the miss right away – or at least not until he really needs to use his ATM card and then, well...
'A Peek in the Victorian Parlor' was an opportunity to have fun with scale and depth in a way that I had not previously explored.
This piece was inspired by a wonderful photograph posted online by a designer that I was working with at the time. I was convinced that my inspiration was the product of two images brought together by Adobe PhotoShop, and I was fiercely determined to create something similar without the aid of graphics software.
Thanks to my photographer, Aika's phenomenal eye and her intuitive gift for breathing life into my miniatures, (she really worked her magic in this unedited photograph of my daughter peeking into the room through the bay window). This scene comes to life in a captivating manner that invites the viewer to study the details, to linger, and to look closely - - again and again.
The moment that I imagine Genevieve peeking into is just when the lady of the house has just rushed out of the room to gather the cups, saucers, linens and the silverware for her guests that are due to arrive at any minute. She lost track of the time because she stopped to water her plants, giving special care to the Phoenix Roebelenii Palm, a source of great pride.
'The Busy Chef's Kitchen' is a perfect example of how something that I find quite unappealing in life-size scale can be such a delightful adventure in miniature scale. (After all, cooking is not my thing and I married a chef for a reason.)
In spite of the culinary magic that can come to life within its walls, a kitchen can sometimes become a chaotic environment on the way to the magic. At least, this kitchen has!
There appears to be a bit of snacking going on, and there's even some serious cleaning going on as the nowhere to be seen residents of this home prepare for a night of cooking in the kitchen.
The chef has not yet unpacked the groceries because he has chosen to indulge in a Martini before getting started. First, he has to quickly run to the living room to check the score of the Giants game. Priorities. And his assistant, (who just happens to be his lovely wife), is preparing the fruit salad but she has wandered out of the room on the hunt for the tonic water that she just took it out the refrigerator but is unable to locate. That and her keys. She can't find her keys. Again.
'Backyard Chill' is all about relaxing and this lovable pooch's afternoon nap.
Sometimes playful, sometimes resting, sometimes just patiently waiting... the unconditional bond that our canine friends offer has always fascinated me, and perhaps the fact that allergies prevent me from having one of my own compels me to put them within reach, even when the humans are nowhere to be seen.
Rex is a hard-working dog. He works hard all day – chasing birds and squirrels, playing fetch, and keeping an eye out to ensure that the backyard is secure. Rex takes his afternoon nap seriously, but even then his loyalty is unwavering he never naps more than a few feet from his owner's shoes. She'll return shortly, she just ran inside to grab a cheese knife.
'Left to Their Own Devices' is inspired by a real-life observation of a couple dining in a Pub one Saturday afternoon, I found myself giggling as I created this vignette.
A young couple walks into a restaurant, actually, it was more like an extremely well-lit pub. They are each tenaciously engaged in their respective devices as they sit down, looking up only to give the approaching waitress their menu selections.
I was trying not to stare, but they were directly in my line of sight... and I was fascinated, so naturally, I began to run possible scenarios in my head. Since they never asked for or referenced a menu, had they checked out the options on his iPad or on her cell phone, or perhaps they dined here regularly and they always ordered the same food? Just after their food arrives, I notice that the man quickly gets up and he immediately relocates his beverage to the floor (?) Yes, to the floor. Perhaps it was placed a little too close to his iPad on the crowded table and he didn't want to risk a spill.
Well, he must have quickly forgotten, if he ever realized it at all, that he had actually placed his drink on the floor because not one minute after he did so he proceeded to kick it over as he sat back down on the stool. The woman he was with never looked up. I kid you not.
'Happy Birthday, Baby' was created for a very dear friend who was feeling tremendous pressure around the celebration of her daughter's 1st birthday.
When she told me that in her husband's family a baby's first birthday was usually a little over the top and marked with a very BIG party that often included over 200 guests and ponies (WHAT?!) she said, "I just want a small celebration with a few close friends... I don't even care if there are gifts, but I want a birthday cake that she can destroy because that has always been a tradition in my family.." I started picturing the scene in my head, and I knew exactly what the miniature I would make was going to look like.
To me, this would be one of the simplest but most important miniature scenes that I would ever create. I would make it primarily for the purpose of bringing comfort to my friend... and of course for the purpose of celebrating her beautiful daughter's 1st year in the world.
We both cried when I delivered this little project, which I put under a glass dome so she could easily display it on a bookcase or shelf. 10 years later, she tells me that she still feels a special connection to this miniature and what it captures.
'The Grill Master' is a nod to a man named, Bill. Bill takes his grilling seriously.
So much so, that he won't let anyone in the house get near the grill that he loves almost as much as he loves his wife... I mean, his car.
When the family heads out for the day, Bill heads for the grill, and when they return, they will enjoy the best bar-b-que of their lives.
"You've gotta have respect for the meat. Creating the perfect burger or dog is an art. What you put on it makes or breaks the total experience. Oh, and you've gotta get the temperature just right or it's a waste really. And you need good buns. Good buns are essential."
Just a few more minutes and it is go time, which works out because with all the focus on getting the condiments and the buns lined up, the Grill Master forgot a few things, like plates.
'Your Dog and Your Couch' When the Master is away, the dog will sit on the couch.
We all know it's true. Even that well-behaved pride of the family that "never sits on the couch" is tempted to park it when no one is around to say otherwise. After all, you treat him like family – because he is family... and every member of your family sits on the couch. And this dog, let's call him – Baxter, well, he's no fool. He has chosen the very spot where his indiscretion will not be detected because he has chosen to sit precisely where his master sits. Good dog.
'Lunch in The Park... and other priorities'
Real life experiences often make their way into my miniature world, and the subject matter can present quite nicely. This little vignette was created from a scene I came upon a few years earlier, with a man patiently walking his dog in very close proximity to his lunch that was apparently growing cold while he tended to his dog's business.
The recycle bin, the pigeon, and the Won-ton soup are all spot on; however, I took some liberties. His jacket was beige, not navy blue, and the bench that I saw was far more worn with faded gray paint. The dog that the gentleman walked was an odd mix that I had never seen before and I couldn't find the "right" dog, so I have him quietly posed – off to the far right, blending almost seamlessly into the trunk of the enormous tree.