BLOG | My Mini Mania

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What!? The year is over? How is that possible? 2013 will forever be marked by some pretty amazing milestones for me. The most significant one was the Demo Launch of Smallisimo. And I didn’t anticipate all of the great things (and people) that went with making Smallisimo happen. When I found that room box, it was love at first sight.  This is the year that ignited a passion for minis inside of me personally. I have officially become crazed. When we started Smallisimo, I admired small things, but owned none. I began “collecting” items throughout the year from show to show. But, there was a seismic shift when we visited Miniature Cellar in Chesterland, Ohio. I found my first room box! Any ideas I had about admiring from afar were gone. Before I knew it, I had taken the plunge into mini mania. And it started with the perfect space! I couldn’t wait to buy everything that I needed to fill it. You see, I love to decorate! (Actually, I blame Rosemary Macedonio, the owner of Miniature Cellar. Each section of her store drew me in and inspired me.) When I found that room box, it was love at first sight.

Then, we were off to the Aztec International Show, and I was obsessed with finding exactly what I’d envisioned for my room box. My heart sang. I loved each and every piece that I found. By the time I got home from our road trip, not only did I place those items in my room box, but I had also found a home for some of the other minis I own–my desk. Now a bedroom scene inspired my long days and nights of working on Smallisimo, and that means I still have to find more minis for my lovely box. How exciting! Though that perfect space is nowhere close to finished and only houses a few mini favorites right now, I have confirmed by personal experience that minis are addictive. If you give a person a room box or a dollhouse, mini purchases will follow–many mini purchases! (Now, I’ve got my eye on the Potter’s Shed Greenhouse by Family Room Miniatures in Smallisimo’s new Almost Real Estate Premium Section.)

We started out at CIMTA in Las Vegas where Paris (Gwen’s favorite miniaturist) and Lisa Renfroe shared their home and hospitality. We met Tom Bishop in Atlanta who opened his arms to us and invited us to share a late meal with dealers that he’s built lifelong relationships with. We were welcomed into the home of Louis and Kaye Browning. After a personal tour of the Kathleen Savage Browning Miniature Collection at the Kentucky Gateway Museum and fellowship with their church family, they are dear to our hearts. Tom flung the doors of his Chicago International Show open, giving us full access to film and meet dealers from around the world. Mican Morgan, curator of The Thorne Rooms at the Art Institute of Chicago was gracious enough to take us on a personal tour. We’ve been embraced by Barbara Davis, Director of the IGMA Guild School, the IGMA Board and many members of this vital organization, including Nell Corkin, their newest President, and we are beyond ecstatic about their mission to promote miniatures as an art form. We were blown away by the enthusiasm for the Smallisimo mission by Dan Harrell of Aztec Imports and show producer, Molly Cromwell, who gave us the opportunity to celebrate the 30th anniversary of her Tyson’s Corner show with her at the home of collector, Evelyn Gilbert. We’ve gotten more involved in our local Atlanta Miniature Society, and its members are becoming family. Our journey this year took place in every time zone.

 

 

 

We’ve travelled from Atlanta to the Northeast more times than I can seem to count. In order to attend as many miniature shows as possible, Gwen and I piled into the car and drove an average of fourteen hours each way–usually within a two or three day period! Those miles were well worth it because we were able to meet many of you in person and see firsthand your wonderful work in miniature. Some of my memorable moments on the road include meeting Jim Irish, retired from Waterford, he’s the only artisan doing cut crystal in scale. He comes all the way from Ireland to show his work, and he was the first artisan to make me cry. His passionate story really touched me because he will pass the art form down to his daughter, who I hope to meet this year. I don’t have anything crystal in full size, but crystal in miniature might have to be added to my list. I met IGMA Artisan, Helen Palenski, from New Zealand (where my sister lived). She knits in 1:12 scale. The tiny mouse I purchased from her was the size of my thumb nail, and I still can’t figure out how she knits these treasures with such detail. When I share my miniature collection with others, that knitted mouse is the first thing that I highlight. I won’t forget the moment I found my miniature baritone horn. I had to have it because it’s the instrument I played in high school. Now, I just need to find someone to inscribe my name in it the same way it was then.

I made some wonderful new friends this year. Karen Aird was one of them. She is a miniaturist making it happen, and she has given me great perspective on ways that Smallisimo will be able to serve those of you working hard at miniature shows. We participated in Karen’s 4th Annual Holiday Dollhouse & Miniatures Show in New Jersey and had a lovely lasagna dinner with a few friends and Karen’s beautiful family. Karen introduced me to Lindsay Pastore who is new to the industry, but making and indelible mark already. She’s special. Lindsay worked in counter terrorism for the FBI before she followed her husband to Rhode Island. I couldn’t even believe some of the conversations that we had over Skype! Lindsay was excited enough about Smallisimo to partner with us on our first miniMASTERS Program products, the Treehouse Collection. A portion of the proceeds will benefit our smallGESTURES Youth Initiative. I love me some Lindsay Pastore!

To sum all of this up, I have a profound respect for the work of the miniature artisan. I now understand why miniature enthusiasts pay hundreds of dollars for furniture that they will never sit on. I can appreciate why Jimmy Landers’ buildings built stick by stick cost tens of thousands of dollars, and are worth it. I’ve gained so much knowledge about this industry and the people who participate in it. I have become more and more confident about the ways that I can personally impact the success of the people that I am meeting and those of you that I will never get a chance to shake hands with. I look forward to all that comes next with the development of Smallisimo and how that will positively impact what all of you do. And I really look forward to what miniature environment will call my soul next. What will I decorate, create and breathe life into? I promise, I’ll keep you updated! Cheers to 2013, and welcome 2014, the year of all things mini & marvelous!

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