Welcome to 2017! I hope you all are as excited as I am for everything the New Year has to offer. And while I doubt there will be “an out with the old” as far as miniatures are concerned, I thought I would share “the new” that will soon be featured in the collection. These five pieces were purchased at auction. I love auctions because I never know what I’ll find, and I am always delighted when I stumble across just the right piece to fill in a space or to complement an existing scene or one I may be working on. Some of these items came from Betty O’ Meara’s collection. “Bets” founded Maison des Maisons in Denver, Colorado, and it was one of the finest shops in the business featuring many of the great artisans of the ’70s and ’80s. I’m honored to be able to continue to share some of her pieces with the miniatures world and I believe they will be included in settings in which she would approve.
Jeweled Ewer by Harry Smith: This remarkable decorative arts piece was created using sterling silver and 18K gold inset with real emeralds. Standing only 1 1/4 inches tall with a serpentine handle, Harry made it using the “lost wax” casting technique. He is an absolute genius at everything he crafts, whether miniature furniture or silver, and I have almost every piece that he has created in sterling. Harry says, “I consider my creations a success when the photograph of my miniature is believed to be a photograph of the full-size piece,” and that is what I strive for in my miniatures settings. He made 100 of these pieces. This is initialed and numbered 55.
Tricycle by Bill Hudson: Bill’s metal working is impeccable, especially because of its realism. The materials he uses in his miniatures are the real thing; he enamels the metal and uses actual rubber for the tires. Even the pedals are fully functional. He is also well known for his leather baby carriages, strollers and velocipedes. This will be included with three other of his pieces that I plan to feature in one of the 4th of July vignettes we exhibit in the summer months. There’s a great video of him from Oregon Public Radio here beginning at the 9:26 mark.
Zero King Ice Cream Maker by Earl McMechan: I was so excited when I saw this item as it immediately took me back to my childhood and to the ice cream we made every year with the sumptuous fresh peaches off our tree at the lake. I loved the detail and the aged wood used in this piece which is dated 1980. You’ll find this in our July 4th exhibit, as well. I knew it would go there as soon as I saw it. It’s one of those pieces that instantly draws visitors into connecting with the miniature scenes. Be sure to click these photos to see their detail more closely.
Caned Captain’s Chair: Though it is not signed, this chair looks to me like the work of George Heinglein, whose pieces are almost unmistakable. The finishes on his walnut furniture have such a rich patina and I have always admired the variety of furniture that he makes. Unfortunately his pieces are rarely on the market so this, indeed, is very special. I first saw his miniatures when in the company of the late Pam Throop (Historic Homes in Miniature) and realized how authentic his work was. This particular chair is going to replace a chair at Nola’s desk in The Fleece Inn pub. Since The Fleece was the last work of art that Pam completed, it is fitting that this chair should be placed there in her honor.
Mahogany and Fruitwood Vargueño by John Davenport: This beautiful Spanish-style desk is an exquisite example of John’s veneer and inlay woodworking skills and includes an actual functioning brass lock. It is signed and dated January 1983. I was especially drawn to this piece because I knew it would fit beautifully in Savage Manor, my newest commission from Mulvany & Rogers, a gift from my husband for Christmas.
Savage Manor, which I imagine to be in in Cheshire, England, does not really exist but will be a compilation of some of my favorite architectural elements of English estates. My ancestor, Thomas Savage, was Archbishop or York under Henry VII from 1501-1508 and served as Emissary to Spain. He would have had to travel back and forth to Spain during his tenure and would possibly have picked up art and furniture like the vargueño to bring back home. Several other items I acquired at the O’Meara Benedict auction will go into that structure.
I hope you enjoyed this sneak peek into some of the collection’s new arrivals. I can’t wait to place them throughout the gallery and to debut Savage Manor when it is completed! May 2017 bring you creative joy and everything your imagination can think of!