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Views of out and inside the Wetherburn Dairy, subject of Patricia Richards’ class.

With the much anticipated Maysville Study Program front and center in many peoples’ minds, the preregistration deadline for the Williamsburg Study Program is rapidly approaching, seemingly very much under the radar. This study program, which has been a yearly fixture in Colonial Williamsburg for more than 20 years, is a fabulous post-holiday get-away. Virginia’s Colonial Williamsburg is a fabulous location for this little retreat with its plethora of lovely historic buildings, relatively mild, mid-winter weather and reasonable hotel prices.

Like all past programs, this year’s Study Program has four great classes on the schedule, taught by experienced Artisan and Fellow members of the Guild, with projects drawn from the collections of Colonial Williamsburg. Pete and Pam Boorum will be teaching an 18th century side table that hails from their home state of New Hampshire. Jane Graber will be instructing her students in the shaping and decorating of red ware plates, bowls and platters. Patricia Richards will guide her students through construction of a 1/12 scale version of the Wetherburn Dairy that sits behind the tavern of the same name on Duke of Gloucester Street, and Bill Studebaker will be helping his students build a dressing glass (mirror) patterned on one that has come to this historic town from Charleston, South Carolina.

The 18th century New Hampshire side table that is the inspiration for Pete and Pam Boorum’s class.

For those that are interested, there is also an exclusive behind the scenes tour to visit the warehouse where are stored the architectural fragments from Williamsburg’s important colonial structures. The study of these fragments provides restorers an invaluable stream of information from which informed guesses can be made as to which materials and colors would be most appropriate for their work.

The dressing glass (mirror and drawer) originally made in South Carolina, that will be the inspiration for Bill Studebaker’s class.

As part of the study program, registered students and guests each receive a pass that admits them to Colonial Williamsburg museums and historic buildings for the duration of the program; as well as affording them a discount on their purchases there. The special IGMA rate at the Lodge is good for days before and after the program so you can stay as long as you want. Information and registration forms can be found a www.igma.org.

Jane Graber will be teaching her students to shape and decorate platters, plates and bowls in the same manner their colonial ancestors did in the 17th and 18th centuries.

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Mohamad Hafez in his studio with two of his suitcase framed miniature vignettes. Photo by Cole Wilson.

Show Committee work goes on for more than a year to bring you each and every Guild Show.  So, it is quite a relief when the countdown gets to single digits and we can say… 2018 Guild Show events commence in 6 days, Wednesday, September 19 with pre-show classes. There are 19 classes on the schedule and even at this late date, it is still possible to sign up for some of them. You may also still sign up for the two tours being offered that Wednesday, the historic homes tour visiting Naumkeag and the Norman Rockwell Museum, and the Miniatures Tour, which will be taking in a local miniatures collection.

A vignette by Mohamad Hafez showing a slice of Syrian life.

Friday night, September 21 the weekend’s events kick off with the Gathering of the Guild: Desserts and Demonstrations event featuring a wide variety of demonstrations by some of the talented artist/dealers you will see in the salesroom later. A bountiful display of desserts, as well as other more health conscious options, will be there for your enjoyment, along with demonstrations on painting techniques, the application of hinges, stitching how-to’s and the making of miniature tassels, to list just a few. You will also have your first chance to take a close-up look at the pieces submitted to the ‘Visions of Miniature Grandeur’ Showcase, and plenty of time to catch up with friends.

Jeanie Anderson will be a dealer at the Guild Show for the first time this year and will be teaching these super cute Halloween treats.

Saturday, September 22, the salesroom opens at 9 a.m. for IGMA members only, and at 10 a.m. for the general public. If you want to be one of the first to shop and aren’t yet a member, that is easily remedied! Silent auctions will offer additional shopping possibilities outside the salesroom, and a room full of exhibits nearby offers a quiet respite for anyone needing to take a break and be inspired.

When the salesroom closes on Saturday, more fun ensues with a Live Auction and the evening’s buffet dinner and special program, featuring artist and architect Mohamad Hafez, who will be sharing his miniature work with us.

Sunday, September 23 provides one more day to find those special miniatures, either in the salesroom or on the silent auction tables outside. The youngest miniaturists are invited to take part in some free crafting projects midday, and the Small Beginnings table will again be available with treasures priced for their smaller budgets. At 3:30 p.m. though, the carriage turns back into a pumpkin and the magic disappears for another year.

See you there!

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A quizzical Sherlock Holmes, a porcelain doll created by IGMA Fellow member Shirley Whitworth, who is now retired.

One of the Guild’s most dependable fundraisers is an auction and we have been holding auctions at our annual show for many years to raise the funds necessary to keep the Guild’s educational and community outreach programs functioning. Auction proceeds help to underwrite all Guild efforts, from the Independent Study Award, that grants Fellow members a small stipend to more deeply investigate an aspect of their art, to covering any shortfalls that a Study Program might encounter when participation doesn’t reach anticipated levels. Auction proceeds also allow the Guild to continue to offer miniatures to the next generation of miniaturists at child friendly prices at the show’s Small Beginnings table and to allow all attendees exposure to inspirational miniatures at Guild Show exhibits.

Hall stand by Judy Beals.

Auction items are donated by IGMA members of all levels and cover the spectrum from small accessories to porcelain dolls and even structures! Donations may be items created by those members or purchased by them; they may be items they no longer have a place for, and occasionally, they are bequests.

At this year’s show, the Guild will be hosting two different types of auctions: Silent Auctions will run during show hours and the Live Auction will take place at close of sales on Saturday, September 22 in the hotel Atrium. Donations are still arriving and we are grateful for each and every one.

1/12 scale cradle decorated by IGMA Fellow member Mary Grady O’Brien.

Fan by Marge Adams.

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Many factors contribute to the success, or heaven forbid, failure, of a miniatures show, but the list of dealers must be considered the backbone of a great show. Getting a great dealer list together, though, is a bit of that old conundrum, which came first, the chicken or the egg? Can you get a great list of dealers to commit to your show if you don’t have a steady and healthy group of shoppers that attend regularly—and can you get a steady group of shoppers to come spend money regularly if you don’t have a great dealer list?

General member and dealer Ruth Stewart of Stewart Dollhouse Creations specializes in kits to make many wonderful dollhouse miniatures including these tiny log cabin kits.

The Guild’s Artisan and Fellow program encourages excellence within the organization and those Artisan and Fellow members that choose to participate in the annual show give the Guild Show dealer line-up a solid baseline of superb craftsmanship. Many general members also participate in the show. Some, like Arlene Finkelstein of Artistic Florals, specialize in a specific category while others, like Darren Scala and Karon Cunningham are general dealers-their speciality being the taste with which they acquire and resell miniatures in a wide range of prices. A third, very important group of dealers are those that bring to the show the many and varied tools, materials and widgets that enable all of us to begin and finish our miniature projects, be they a house, a room box or a piece of furniture.

General member and dealer Ann Pennypacker of Aminithing specializes in tools and materials for those who prefer to do-it-themselves.

All of these groups of dealers are essential to a well-rounded and well-attended show with something for every pocket book and every shopping list. And with many other attractions on the show schedule, the miniature magic will be twinkling around the Hartford/Windsor Marriott come the third week of September!

Visit www.igma.org to view the entire dealer list, roster of classes and the schedule of events for show week.

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One thing that the Guild is well known for is excellent educational opportunities. The Guild School is known and respected world-wide, Guild Study Programs have a steady following of devoted attendees, and classes, in a variety of lengths and media, abound at every Guild Show. This year’s show is no exception with 22 classes offered in a variety of lengths from a couple of hours or up to 3 days, in media ranging from doll sculpting, to furniture making, to painting…including two classes in 1/144 scale!

Guild Show class brochure, illustrating each class and show offering at the 2018 Guild Show in Hartford, CT, this September.

The Guild Show is being held September 19-21, 2018, at the Hartford/Windsor Marriott Hotel again this year. The hotel is conveniently located near major highways for those who will be driving, a short and free shuttle ride from the airport, and reasonably close to train and bus transportation as well. The show rate also includes free breakfast for two!

Beth Freeman-Kane, such an artist in depicting nature in miniature, will help you to create this colorful vignette of a hummingbird amongst the flowers.

Fully illustrated brochures describing all class and tour offerings made their debut at the Chicago International Show last week. If you’re not on the IGMA or show mailing list, you can request one from the show director or check out the Show pages on the Guild’s website.

This will be Jeannie Anderson’s (Maya Miniatures) first time at the Guild Show and she’ll be teaching her students how to create these super cute Halloween treats!

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Evidently the ancient Babylonians were the first people to make New Year’s resolutions but experts believe those resolutions were probably more along the line of pledges made to the gods in hopes for good luck in the coming year, and may have involved returning borrowed equipment and paying off debts. Back then, the New Year began in March with the start of the new agricultural cycle. By that calendar, I’m still a little ahead of the game wishing everyone a happy New Year in February.

Whether you are hoping for good luck from the gods, or looking for help closer to home, making New Year’s resolutions have long been the human attempt to retool some facet of their lives that they are unhappy with. Many resolutions fall by the wayside just a few weeks, or even days into the new year.

I often resolve to try and get more organized in order to get more done. Its not a ridiculously unreachable goal-and it sounds good–every year! I have made strides in the reorganizing direction, and I will continue to do so, but have I gotten any more done this year? Nope, in fact I’d venture a guess that I’ve gotten even less done this year than I have in past years. Some of it can be laid directly at the door of procrastination, but also equally guilty are other commitments in my life. As one gets older, and looks happily towards retirement and the thought that then we’ll be able to get things done-well, its nice to have dreams!

I tend to enjoy reading self-help books and articles. I found an interesting one recently that suggested self-compassion was a healthier attitude to have than self-confidence. Having read so often that with a touch of self-confidence one can sail into, and succeed in, challenging situations it was eye-opening to read that these experts feel that self-confidence tends to make us over estimate our skills and consequently not know when we are in over our heads-and unlikely to admit it should we be that prescient. With self-compassion we acknowledge that we are not perfect, but are trying to do the best we can in a world that is also imperfect. With self-compassion we cut ourselves some slack, rather than beat ourselves up, when we fail, and its far healthier that way. Its not making excuses, its more living with reality; its allowing yourself to learn from failure rather than running away from it.

So, Happy New Year! Did you make any resolutions?

If you’re interested in reading the article I reference above, it can be found here.

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I’m thinking about applying for Artisan…

As a member of the Artisan and Fellow Selection Committees, I’ve heard that statement a few times. Many who utter it are looking for some tips on the process, or encouragement to take that leap; its an admirable goal, especially for those who are interested in the constant process of refining their skills making miniatures.

A group of submissions is set out and ready for evaluations.

The best advice I can give to prospective applicants is to use your eyes. First, use them to read all the information that is posted on the IGMA website on the application process and read the guidelines. Keeping the guidelines in mind, examine your work, is it compliant with the guidelines? Secondly, look at work around you-if you can get to shows, find the best work there and note what about it makes it the best. If you have no access to great miniature work first hand, look at great full-size work, the only difference will be the scale, but you can see how the proportions work for the elements of each piece, if its furniture, how the various pieces fit together, how thick or glossy is the finish, is your work as clean and neat, just proportionally smaller-in proper scale?

As for the process, it goes like this: the committees meet once a year following a schedule set out on the IGMA website. You must notify the committee chairperson or the Guild Administrator by the stated deadline of your intention to apply. The notification allows the committee to estimate the amount of time they’ll need for evaluations. This is not an absolute commitment, so let them know even if you’re not sure you’ll be ready in time, it is much better to drop out, than to ask to be included at the last minute and find that the committee will not have time to evaluate your submission.

You must then submit your pieces with the accompanying paperwork within the time frame. The committee chair persons  receive all submissions and prepare them for evaluations, this includes removing any and all traces of the submitters names so that the process can be completely blind. This is our, and your, assurance that the process is as fair and impartial as it can be. Without knowing whose work is being evaluated no one brings any preconceived notions to the table-either favorable or unfavorable, the work is judged on its merits alone.

Julie Stevens and Phyllis Hawkes examine the construction details on a submission.

On the day of evaluations, the chairperson lays out the work on large tables-depending on how many submissions there are, there could be as many as 10 or 12 submissions laid out at one time. Each submission has its own dedicated space, with its documentation and comments sheets. This allows the 8-10 people on the committee to work at the same time, and at their own pace, moving from submission to submission as they are ready. Each committee member reads the supporting materials submitted, studies the work and scores it based on criteria that have been established over many years, overall presentation, workmanship and difficulty. People work at different rates, and the process can be lengthy; 20 submissions can easily take an entire day to evaluate! Use of magnifiers and rulers are encouraged so that no one just assumes the scale is correct. It is also not unusual for committee member to take advantage of the hotels wi-fi to look up and check on the accuracy of details. Applicants are continually encouraged to document their work and provide supplementary information on the pieces that have inspired them. If you submit an ear of corn that, in scale would be 15″ long, you had better supply the committee with photos of real size corn that is 15″ long, otherwise they will assume that your corn is out of scale having no experience of corn of that size!

When everyone has finished evaluating each submission, the chairperson takes a vote, just pass or fail, on each submission. If the decision is pretty unanimous, it ends there for that submission. If the vote is at all close, the chairperson asks for the actual scores and the numbers are averaged, if a passing number is reached, the submission passes. After the entire process is completed, the chairperson lets the committee know whose work they have been evaluating. The list of names that the committee has approved for Artisan membership then goes to the full board of trustees for approval and the process is done for another year.

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No, its not too early to be thinking about the holidays! Here is an opportunity for you to share your love of miniatures with a wider community this December.

Visitors to Wee Christmas at Kenmore.

Last fall, Susan Sherman introduced herself to me, expressing an interest in visiting IGMA’s Williamsburg Study Program and meeting our participants. Susan is the Manager of Special Events at Historic Kenmore Plantation, and coordinator of a substantial holiday miniatures display at the beautifully restored home of George Washington’s sister. Anchored by a replica of Historic Kenmore, 2017 marks the fourth year that the display has taken place, enhanced by structures and individual miniatures loaned by the surrounding miniatures community.

A Georgian dollhouse on display in the Wee Christmas at Kenmore exhibit.

The public is invited to loan dollhouses or other miniature buildings, favorite pieces  or vignettes from their collections, display cases are available to protect smaller items, and each exhibitor will receive a free pass for themselves and two guests to the exhibit and other holiday festivities organized by the Foundation.

Care will be taken to properly protect your treasures, the exhibits will be monitored and stanchions will be in place to prevent enchanted viewers from getting too close. Pieces must be delivered and picked up by exhibitors. Interested parties are invited download the registration form below and submit it to Ms. Sherman. There is no time to waste, registration deadline is October 13.

EXHIBIT_REGISTRATION_FORM

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Jessica Weisel’s charming toy bunny toys. Weazilla and all her toys and curiosities will be at table 81.

The International Guild of Miniature Artisans has been in existence for more than 35 years, and there has been a Guild Show in every one of those years, after all, putting on a quality show and sale was one of the fundamental reasons for creating the Guild. This year’s Guild Show is now just around the corner and there are many reasons to celebrate and join in the festivities!

This year, 2017, marks the Guild Show’s premier at the lovely Hartford/Windsor Marriott hotel, in Hartford, Connecticut. Classes will be taking place Tuesday through Friday, September 19-22, and while registration has been very strong, there are still a few spots available and some really neat projects on the schedule. We have been very fortunate that some premier teachers were willing to stop over in Hartford on their way home from the Miniature Masterworks show and to teach and take a table at the Guild Show. Check out the list of classes on the Guild website, but pay particular attention to the cut-off dates if you find yourself interested in signing up!

Mzia always has at least a few pieces on her table that look straight out of a French chateau. Small Creations by Mzia will be at table 82.

Other festivities are on the agenda, including the delicious and edifying Desserts and Demonstrations event that will take place Friday evening. Join your mini friends and make some new ones while you watch artist demonstrations and enjoy desserts and crudités. Saturday evening there will be a rollicking good time at the Live Auction with our masterful auctioneer Duffy Wineman, followed by a buffet dinner and presentation by Kaye Browning, as she shares her path into miniatures collecting.

It will be a fabulous weekend and I hope you will be able to join us for all, or any part of it!

A toddler in a pink one-piece by Two’s Company Miniatures. Find Jennifer and Elizabeth Ellis at table 38.

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One of a kind trunk and sculpture by Mark Murphy and Mary Grady O’Brien in the 2014 Live Auction.

Guild School has many fun components besides the actual classes. If  you’ve gotten in early, you may have taken part in one of the first optional extras, a Saturday morning seminar. Seminars also take place on Sunday and Monday evenings, if you didn’t sign up for one before getting to school, there are sign up sheets in the school office for any that have spaces remaining.

Curious about what’s going on in the other classes? All the classrooms are open on Sunday or Monday evenings prior to the seminars, some buildings one night, the remaining buildings on the other so that you’ll have a chance to visit as many, or as few, as you wish.

Every night, there is a social gathering in what is commonly called ‘The Bilge’, downstairs in Curtis Hall. Just pop in anytime before 11 p.m. and enjoy a beverage and snack along with some conversation and occasional game playing. Each evening is ‘hosted’ by different groups within the IGMA organization, so a variety of questions can often be answered by your friendly bartenders.

Silent auctions take place in the cafeteria daily. Have a look during one of your meal breaks and place a bid if something looks interesting to you. Monday evening there is an open bid silent auction during dinner, and Tuesday evening, right after the infamous Lobster Cookout, is the Live Auction with many one of a kind items donated by teachers and some of the Guild’s Artisan and Fellow members. I understand that this year there will be a special silent auction running outside the cafeteria for the first couple of days-hint…they’re calling it ‘Real Estate Row!’

Relax in the evening watching the sailboats in the harbor, or join Julie Hagel’s crew for a kayak paddle.

Wednesday night is supposed to be rest and relaxation night, but there are no hallway monitors and if you relax best by working on one of your class projects until midnight, that’s on you, just no whining the next day when you can’t see where that tiny nail flew off to!

I hesitate to say Thursday night is one of the highlights of the week as most of the previous nights can lay claim to that moniker, but on Thursday, everyone gets to shop–no more of that putting a bid in and hoping you get it here–it’s a manic hour and a half of shopping along with a cash bar-which always helps the shopping along, and snacks.

The work of Phyllis Hawke’s students at the graduation exhibit in 2015.

The exhibit room opens for the first viewing Saturday evening during the opening reception and remains open during the entire week, as long as there is someone to staff it. Exhibits on view are provided by attending students and teachers. Do you have something you’d like to share? A piece you made that came out particularly well, or something you truly love that you purchased? Just let the exhibit chair know what you’re bringing and there will be a label waiting for its arrival. Saturday evening whatever class prototypes are available will be on display, to be followed the rest of the week by available prototypes for future classes. And, if you have a free period, consider volunteering to man the front desk and help keep the exhibit room open as much as possible.

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