This was originally written on my Blogger blog on 1/18/13
" A mistake is always forgivable, rarely excusable and always unacceptable." Robert Frip
$50,000. Because that's how far I got. It took years and years. A collection of glorious, wonderful miniatures and I SOLD THEM. That would be the mistake. Great. Big. Huge.
No, I did not have money to burn. It's just that I was not buying expensive handbags and shoes. I was collecting 1:12 scale miniature collectibles. Little by little, year after year. Something wonderful here, something magical there...
Still life by Paul Salterelli - I had several of his early, and in my opinion, superior works. One is better than none.
It started at a flea market where I was thrilled to discover a table selling miniature bliss. It brought me right back to a happy childhood playing with tiny tea sets, rearranging diminutive furniture in a doll house and then later dressing Barbie in her shoes and handbags.
(If you are not familiar with miniatures, sadly for you, there is a whole tiny world of things reduced to miniature that might make you believe you could just put them in your house and use them yourself, they are so perfect as to deceive. Thus my reason for photographing them with 'big' things.)
Hand Painted Charger by Le Chateau Interiors - this was originally mine and I bought it again.
I bought a bunch. Put them in a typesetter's tray. Found a miniature catalog advertised in a woman's magazine and bought more. Found out about a miniature show locally. Went there and found people making very serious hand crafted artisan pieces in miniature. Anything you could think of that existed in real life was right there. A paragon of miniature wonder. I was hooked.
I SOLD THE COLLECTION !!! They say you don't regret the things you did but rather the things you did not do. Not true
"Stupidity is a talent for misconception." ~ Edgar Allan Poe
I had new babies, needed money and figured, hey, I am never going to be able to collect miniatures again. Who has the time when there are diapers to be changed and college funds to think about? Duh. Babies grow up.
Ruby Glass Decanter Set by Francis Whitmore, Sterling Tray by Gugliemo Cini
Anyway, I am now on the lookout for things I gave up. In truth some of them really did not matter so who cares now? BUT...there are those perfect, thrilling, masterful creations that just haunt my soul. From time to time I come across one and do my best to make it mine AGAIN. Pictured here are some of my lost then founds.
"Just think how happy you would be if you lost everything you have right now, and then got it back again." Frances Rodman
Lute by Ken Manning. Ebay.
In the end we just can't take this stuff with us. But letting it go is just not an option. Not for me. Not again. A word to the wise...
Chair by Barbara Logan - found again in a miniature shop
Samurai Sword by Cliff Fleltrope - my original was black with a dragon head. This will have to do.
I sincerely hope you have spared yourself my agony. And learned from my mistake. I hope you'll share your thoughts below. (Oh, and if $50,000 is shocking to you, get out your receipts and just add them up.)
"If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning." Catherine Aird
This was opriginally published on my Blogger blog on 6/15/12
"The only art I'll ever study is stuff that I can steal from." David Bowie
Recently I came upon a neat little book called, Steal Like An Artist by Auston Kelon. Auston maintains that nothing is original and what a good artist understands is that nothing comes from nowhere.
He's got a lot of great quotes in the book too, like this one:
"Immature poets imitate;
Mature poets steal; bad
poets deface what they take,
and good poets make it into
something better, or at least
something different. The
good poet welds his theft into
a whole of feeling which is
unique, utterly different from
that from which it was torn." T.S. Eliot
You could substitute 'miniature artisan' for poet there and that would explain a lot.
"Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing." Salvador Dali
So as a miniature maker the game is pretty much to imitate real life in miniature. We all do that and probably for that very reason - to create a world we'd love to see or be in or own. I ripped this out of a magazine years ago with the intention of one day doing it in miniature. I can't remember the magazine now but hope the shout out to "Patina' makes up for slapping it here without permission. I finally found a Bespaq cabinet that seemed to suit the design. I had to replace the glass with wood panels but in the end my copied design suits the miniature piece. It's not exact but I did steal the original style of the real size piece.
I followed through with a chair to match this is now an original piece but I still used the swiped design.
Lots of people really enjoy this next style - which is obvious, but I won't mention their name. They are very touchy and think they invented black and white checkerboard.
Bashed Bespaq cabinet and hand painted plates
This style has been copied in miniature over and over again - expertly and poorly. I put my pilfered design on another Bespaq piece that has been seriously bashed and you probably wouldn't recognize it. Oh, and yes, the plates are in the same style. I did not think to take a photo of the original but maybe I can steal one. But that would really be stealing. Taking photos and plopping them in your stuff without permission is not nice. Kinda like what I did with the magazine clipping. What could I do? I'm proving a point.
"What is originality? Undetected Plagiarism." William Randolf Inge
Speak no evil, hear no evil, see no evil
There are of course those among us who really do steal. I have seen my own things copied other places. Things like my dressed skeletons. I did not think up dressed skeletons. You can find them in real life in some awful places. Dead and still in their clothes. But I had them in 'original' poses. Like this one.
I later saw it ripped off on eBay. And of course, neither one of us originated the monkeys from which this came. And hey, those you see everywhere.
Some people hang out on other people's websites and copy everything they see. Exactly.
Sometimes you see something unique and then you see it again and again.
"We are shaped and fashioned by what we love." Goethe
I have in fact copied full sized original pieces line for line in miniature. But they were antiques and that would, I think, make them in the public domain. I am for sure not the only one. Some of the most sought after pieces are things in miniature based on real stuff that people just need - to evoke a feeling - and in miniature that would be totally unique and 'utterly different'. I think.
What do you think? Tell me. I can take it.
Oh, and all the quotes I used in this blog came out of Austin's book.....
I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best. Oscar Wild
You don't need the expense of traveling to miniature shows when the very best miniatures are no farther than your keyboard. We all came to earth with gifts and one of mine I know for sure is that I can find the best things in just about anyplace. And I know who has what gift. So when it comes to miniatures I am pretty good a ferreting out great stuff. To add to my own collection. And here are some tips to help you find treasures of your own:
1) Don't Overlook EBAY.
There are wonderful artisan miniatures available there every day often going for way below original cost. Check under "Artist Offerings" in Dollhouse Miniatures (under Dolls and Bears). But don't neglect the larger category because many things there are not followed by most.
2) Check out the Artisan.
If you see something on a popular miniature website and are not thrilled with the prices, go directly to the artisan (Google). You may well get the better price. Plus you can find wonderful things from artisans who might not be dealers at the shows you attend.
For years I thought I would never be able to afford the wonderful miniatures that were coming up for auction. I did not even know how to sort out bidding on those auctions. So, sadly, I passed up bidding and lost some fabulous stuff. Eventually when an auction got to be too tempting, I jumped in. While things are usually sold in lots and you might be interested in only one item, charge in and get the lot. You can later sell off the unwanted bits and in the end come out ahead with your prized item costing nothing.
While I find ETSY to have a lot of miniatures less than top, artisan quality (lots of decal-ed plates and crockery, computer printed books, paper watering cans etc), there are quality pieces there, you just have to look. As new artisans emerge with wonderful things you can score amazing miniatures for great prices. These artisans eventually move on for some reason, often showing up on eBay where there is great competition for their work. Strike while the iron is hot. (And hey, nothing wrong with decals and computer printed stuff, I use and make it myself, but that stuff will not bulk up the pocketbooks of your heirs).
5) THE CAMP.
This is a Yahoo group consisting of over 1800 members at the time of this writing. It's a great place to share anything and about miniatures and ask for help with your projects or locating an item. Lots of help from many well informed artisans and collectors. When one finds something fabulous its gets shared and you can find great deals and great artisans by work of mouth. I believe it to be the ultimate miniature online group. Join here.
While not for everyone because I have heard that joining scares some people into believing their information might be shared, its still one of the biggest if not THE biggest social media sites. (1.65 BILLION active users as of 7/16) There are many miniature groups there and you will find wonderfully talented artisans coming out of the woodwork from all over the world and many sell their work. I would start with IGMA: The International Guild of Miniature Artisans. Go HERE.
Another social media venue full and I mean FULL of miniature eye candy. Again, you can find wonderful creators of minis there and many do sell their work. You can also leave a message asking to place an order.
8) Show schedules with dealer links.
Whether you go to shows or not, you can always visit the show's website. There posted are dealers for upcoming shows with links directly to the artisans. Click around and you will find something to please you in your budget directly from the artisan. Since you saved a pile of money not traveling to the show, spend away.
Yes, there are millions of blogs these days. Just another sign of the times that the internet is where it's at. It can happen this way; you find something on Pinterest that links to a blog. That blog lists favorite blogs that happen to follow -miniature related, of course, and you can scr0ll through several at a sitting, see what the owner is doing and how they do it. Many show step by step photos of their own personal projects. But in and among this information is reference to items they collected and where to find the artisan. You also find direct links to the artist's website or selling page. (eBay, ETSY, Shows).
10) And last but not least, the newest hot spot - INSTAGRAM.
I must admit that I have an Instagram account that only has 6 photos. Shame on me. But Instagram is rapidly surpassing Facebook as the place to be. So it follows there are minis there and you can find minis and their makers. I have been featured on THE DAILY MINI myself which started as an Instagram account and now has 62,000 followers and lots and lots of great minis with links to find them. So you might want to start there. Here ya go. And PS, I intend to blast my own INSTAGRAM account.
This piece is from my old Blogger blog and was published in March of 2015
Did I miss anything? Found anything wonderful yourself off the beaten path? Tell all below.