It’s that time of year again, when the pitter-patter of little feet and oohs and aahs of youngsters begin to fill the gallery. September always signals a new school year, which for me means countless opportunities to share the art of miniatures with those who may have never seen a tiny room, a working 1:12-scale tool or musical instrument, or a perfectly crafted piece of miniature furniture.
I’ll admit, there are varying levels of interest—and our dialogue is far from discussing the fine points of Bill Robertson’s joinery skills or the aesthetic of mid-century modern in miniature, but there are opportunities, nevertheless.
One of my tried and true techniques to draw a young audience in is to use the collection’s room boxes to bring history to life. I may know ahead of a tour that a class is studying the American Revolution and Eugene Kupjack’s Regency Room encapsulates what life may have looked like at the time—complete with General Lafayette’s portrait! Seeing history in a more personal way, and being able to imagine people living it, always spurs discussion. Once the children are focused on the items in the room, they start to examine how they were actually made. It’s then that the wonderment begins. Will any of them become miniature artisans or collectors? I’ll probably never know, but if the collection touches one small soul to continue our quest to preserve and expand the miniatures world, I will be happy.
As an IGMA member, I take seriously our mission to promote fine miniatures as an art form. Whether you are an artisan, a collector, a member, or a hobbyist, I ask you to share your knowledge with one person this month. Perk an interest. Start a conversation. Show your skill or collection to someone who has never seen it. The theme for guild school 2015 is The Ripple Effect: Spread the Knowledge, Share the Fun. Let’s start now!