What is keeping me going in the darkest days of my soul?
Friends are helping. I thought when I joined the wonderful tiny world of grown ups playing with the really good toys that is dollshousering, that I would make dolls’ houses. And I did. I thought when I turned professional that I might make a bit of money. And I did (though never enough to bother the taxman). I thought I might acquire some skills. And I did. I thought I might learn some history and I really did get very good at that bit. However the thing I really made lots of, quite unexpectedly, was friends.
Kind friends and customers send cards, make orders, email concern and care and I am so grateful that there are positive, kind and caring people in the world who spare me a thought. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
But what’s really keeping me going is furniture, ooh there’s some great stuff out there. 24th scale furniture has come on in leaps and bounds since I did the last lot. I explored and wrote up for a magazine some flat-pack press-out furniture many years ago. I used it to furnish a house that I also wrote up and then I got distracted by the dolls, as this was the stage where I began to get a grip on the glass eyes in every sense. So I took my eye off 24th scale for a few years.
When I first began to make 24th scale dolls Muriel Hopwood told me quite sternly that the scale was all wrong, it was too small. I persisted in sneaking the little dolls on to the table until, gradually, they outsold everything else. After a while Muriel relented and other artisans began making in 24th scale. At this stage I was on to my fourth 24th scale building and writing quite passionately about it for magazines which were beginning to have special features. There were even dedicated self-publish magazines and smaller scale clubs. There was a bit of furniture at Miniatura, mostly horrendously expensive, and one or two other doll makers, though most said it was a scale too far and I just kept on making my dolls.
So it has come as a great surprise, ordering tentatively from Tinternet to find the riches that abound in the Miniverse in furniture in all prices. People with factories in China and other countries have come on board in a big way. The quality is fantastic and the work so much finer than anything available fifteen years ago. Just look at my mini furniture warehouse.
How fabulous is this? That unfinished console table was under a fiver. The set of desk, tall cupboard and arm chair, all carved, was under £60 including the postage. As you can see I am breaking my own rule. I have always done cheap and cheerful for the good reason that I’ve never had any money. Now I am scraping it all together and affording the best, because I look at that desk with all the drawers and I just wonder how on earth I would make that for £20. I think that things like this, when they come out of the uber-artisan millionaire category are worth having as collectables in their own right. The whole world is developing. There will be a day when no one will live in a country with jobs paying living wages that can afford to sell a desk like that for £20, which includes the postage to another country to a dealer, and hence to the collector.
Would you like a closer look?
It’s fab. Needless to say I am shopping around and it’s the shopping around the Internet that is the happy end to my fraught days, which is keeping me sane. I learned long ago that you can get through anything as long as there is a bedtime. I raised my son on this principle. People who let their children roam around all hours of the night have no idea what they are missing. It takes some time to establish, with a baby, that at the end of the day it’s the night and we all lie down and go to sleep, at the same time every night, no matter what. This wonderful principle will help you throughout your life until you start to worry. When you do, some folk put their faith in a milky drink, I believe in filling your pre-bedtime head with positive and happy thoughts, nothing too taxing, not a puzzle. I find ‘which bit of miniature furniture shall I have next week?’ is the perfect thought to go to sleep pondering.
Both of these helpful ladies are small scale specialists. They aren’t the only lovely professional miniaturists I’ve found, I’ll tell you more as I go, stay tuned.
In search of bigger fixes I have strayed abroad, I’ve just found a sideboard that matches the tall cupboard, in Germany, so I’ve ordered that. The problem with ordering from abroad is always the postage and the customs. My dolls house kit cost an extra £20 at the customs so that the total, with postage, came to nearly £100. Shopping around, I could have found some nice houses for that price as near as Miniatura, in fact I think if one I had my eye on, had been there to buy I’d have had it but I am trying this time round to have the one I really want instead of the one I nearly want, or the cheap one. Having said which, if you visit Homes in Miniature, you’ll see that the Bespaq desk set is a second, though I cannot see a thing wrong with it. I have started visiting an American site with some great stuff but will restrain myself until the German parcel arrives.
Meanwhile there is a problem in my little world. Can you spot it?
Yes it’s my dolls. The squire is 24th scale, he is porcelain, he is bendy but he is just a bit overfed, a bit tall and a bit chunky. For all the furniture that was available fifteen years ago when he was designed he was just perfect but the world has shrunk a bit, so I am now redesigning my dolls so they look good with the good new furniture. Checking with what is available on-line in the way of dolls, I think this needs doing. I cannot find anyone else doing 24th scale all porcelain dolls with exposable bodies. They all seem to be either solid porcelain, or what you see here, head and torso and separate arms and legs, wired together. It’s fine if they are dressed, but no good at all for Regency fashions, or an off-the-shoulder-number or any of that stuff.
So it is back to the drawing board for me and some happy evenings in prospect, rescued from the slo-mo accident that is my life by furniture.
If you want to keep your head together the best crash helmet is a dolls’ house (and some good miniaturist friends.)
JaneLaverick.com – would you credenza it?