Thursday, February 04, 2016

Ten: tin

Today marks ten years since I started this blog.

I'm feeling pretty much the same as I was feeling this time last year.

I should have planned. Sorted out a photo of a scene with a theme to match that of a tenth anniversary.

My excuse this year is that I started a new full time job three weeks ago. And have been sick this week.

Perhaps I can pull something together this weekend? (At the very least finish the kitchen with the tin splashback...)

Ten years? Really?? Perhaps I need to delve through the archives and commit to something like Throwback Thursday or Flashback Friday over the next year.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

A house call

When Lorraine from Fairy Meadow Miniatures came to my public programme at Goulburn Regional Art Gallery (GRAG) last month, we got talking about the trials I was having with my HBS Creatin' Contest build, and she kindly offered to come to Canberra for a day or so and give me a hand getting back on track plus teach me to solder and how to sort the lighting out.

It took a while to find a date that suited both our schedules but, thanks to my understanding new boss who granted a day off between the weekend and Australia Day, we finally agreed that Lorraine would come to visit yesterday morning and head home this evening.
Woman looking at a dry-fitted modern miniature doll's house shed on a kitchen bench.
The first point of business (after making a cup of tea) was doing a dry fit so she could get a feel for where I was up to and what I was trying to do.
Woman rearranging furniture in a dry-fitted modern miniature doll's house shed on a kitchen bench.
Then I learnt my first of many things from Lorraine: that I needed to choose my lights before I started anything else to do with wiring. Silly me had just assumed that you worked out where they were going, then attached whatever you ended up deciding on to the wiring right at the end...

So I had to head upstairs, collect the options I had in stash and we made some quick decisions on what might work where.
Woman holding a miniature light up to the ceiling of a dry-fitted modern miniature doll's house shed.
Woman holding a miniature light up to the ceiling of a dry-fitted modern miniature doll's house shed.
Woman holding a miniature light up to the ceiling of a dry-fitted modern miniature doll's house shed.
Woman holding a miniature light up to the ceiling of a dry-fitted modern miniature doll's house shed.
Modern dolls' house miniature floor lamp next to a rocking chair in a dry-fitted miniature kit shed.
Modern dolls' house miniature floor lamp next to a rocking chair in a dry-fitted miniature kit shed.
Because some of the options were wired for 4.5 volt systems, and we were planning to run on the standard 12-volt system, there was some speedy rewiring, using some lovely pea bulbs from the package Elvira sent me 18 months ago (that's definitely a gift that keeps on giving!)
Woman drilling a hole in a modern miniature lamp shade being held in a vice.
Woman holding a modern miniature lamp shade in front of a vice on a workbench.
Woman holding a modern miniature wall lamp in front of table with a second woman working with wire in the background.
Two modern miniature wall lamps, light by a 9-volt battery, on a table.
By the time we'd done that, and some spray painting of pieces it was time for dinner and chatting and then, finally, bed.

This morning we were both up bright and early and while I made us tea, Lorraine set the breakfast table:
Table set up with supplied needed for soldering, plus two mugs of tea.
My soldering and lighting lesson started at 7.30 am (with us both still in our PJs!)

First up, a demonstration of when polarity matters and how to check that you have it right (first takeaway for the day: using a 9-volt battery is an easy way to run tests on 12-volt systems).
Woman holding a modern dolls' house miniature lamp, lit from wires connected to a 9-volt battery.
Then I was formerly introduced to copper tape and its properties,
Woman sticking a run of copper tape to a tile.
reminded of how to split and strip wires and how having the ends at different lengths helps ensure they don't accidentally touch and short out, 
Woman placing wires onto a run of copper tape to a tile.
and shown why sticking the wire down with tape before you start soldering is a good idea. 
Woman about to stick down a length of wire onto a run of copper tape to a tile.
 Touch the wire with the tip of the soldering iron,
Woman placing the tip of a soldering iron onto a length of wire on a run of copper tape.
 introduce some solder wire stuff (that's a technical term, I'm sure), 
Woman adding flux to length of wire on a run of copper tape.
tap off once it starts to melt (if there's no melting happening, turn your soldering iron tip around a little, as one side's hotter than the other) and remove the iron once the solder 'flows'.
Woman soldering a length of wire onto copper tape.
 Voila! One neat and tidy join.
Two wires soldered onto a length of copper tape.
Then it was time for me to have my first go (top)
Four wires crudely soldered onto a length of copper tape.
 and second, much neater version (bottom).

At which stage Lorraine handed me the wires attached to one end of  a 12-volt transformer she happened to have in her work box and showed me how to solder it on the other end of the copper tape and suddenly there was light!
Lit dolls' house light held in front of a length of copper tape with wires soldered onto both ends.
 (I felt ever so chuffed...)

We celebrated by showering and dressing before running a couple of errands, including buying more mat board (I'd used my supply up building the scenes for the GRAG exhibition).

Because, it would seem, I hadn't needed to spend days on end undercoating my pieces and waiting for them to dry before spraying the next coat on, as Lorraine told me that the neatest way to run wires is behind false walls made of mat board.
Woman measuring dolls' house kit walls on top of a large piece of mat board.
Having seen my appalling cutting skills, Lorraine decided that the only safe thing to do was measure and cut the board for me, fixing the worst of my mistakes along the way (bless her!).
Woman tracing dolls' house kit walls onto of a large piece of mat board.
Woman positioning dolls' house kit walls onto of a large piece of mat board.
Woman test fitting dolls' house windows in a piece of mat board cut to size.
Finally, about mid-afternoon, she declared it was time to start gluing the floor and walls together
Woman holding the side wall of a modern dolls' house shed kit up against the floor.
(and visit James at Victorian Dollhouses while we waited for it to dry...)
Several clamps along the back edge of a modern dolls' house kit shed.
We're not finished yet, but Lorraine has already said she wants to come back and play again soon, and that she's sure I'll be fine carrying on the build by myself...

*gulp*

#HBSCreatinContest2015

Saturday, January 23, 2016

An exciting delivery (and a new project)

It's been a bit quiet around here: most of my energy has been focused on a six-month contract that I started at the beginning of last week.

I've been getting used to a new rhythm to my days, learning as much as I can in the new role and I've been getting home at night exhausted, which means no brain space to thinklet alone do anything—miniature.

I'm working in the city for a change, and on Wednesday night I was pleased to be able to trot down the road from work to the opening of Ampersand Duck's latest exhibition (long-time readers might remember she was part of the Call of the Small exhibition I curated at Craft ACT way back in 2010.)

At the exhibition we chatted about what our plans were for 2016, and I mentioned that I wanted to build and manage a teeny tiny gallery, or a chain of teeny tiny galleries (something I've been talking about and working towards since the close of Call of the Small), and had been talking to a couple of people about places for it to live.

And she said 'I've got Bette Noir in my studio: perhaps that would work for you?' And I had to admit I had no idea what she was talking about. She explained it was a miniature gallery that was well-known in the Canberra arts scene many years ago and that she'd been given custodianship of some time ago and hadn't had the time to devote to because of other commitments.

'I'm clearing out my studio this weekend', she continued. 'Would you like to become its curator?'

And so it came to pass that my assistant Wendy is, once again, assessing a gallery space.
Modern dolls' house miniature doll standing on a wooden floor and leaning against a white wall.
Modern dolls' house miniature doll standing in a miniature art gallery. On the front of the gallery is a sticker with the name 'Bette NOIR' on it.
And I've had to find room (temporarily) for another (large) miniature in my flat
Dolls' house miniature art gallery on a stand, in a hallway.
(And space in my schedule for a pile of research on its history...)

Monday, January 11, 2016

For the love of miniatures

Modern dolls' house miniature table at a cupcake cafe with a laptop, camera, spectacles and magazine on it, plus a cupcake and cup of tea.
The theme for the February issue of The tiny Times made me decide to 'visit' a cupcake cafĂ© to 'work' on it.

The cupcakes I received (made by the Miniature Enthusiasts of Tasmania) in my Convention goodie bag helped a bit, too...

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Saturday scene: It's a jungle out there

Modern dolls' house miniature lounge scene in colours of black, white, orange and teal.
 This is a scene I put together and photographed in late November last year, planning to create a video on how I put together a scene and show it as part of my public programme at Goulburn Regional Art Gallery.

I took a kazillion photos of the process, drew lines all over some of the photos showing how the eye travels across and around the scene. And even recorded several versions of the intro to it.

And then I completely changed directions on what I wanted to do for my presentation, telling myself that I'd finish the video and post it on my blog very soon.

Long-time readers know how long my lead times can be. So I figured I'd share the final scene today and if, eventually, I get the video done, I'll load that up for your entertainment.

Friday, January 08, 2016

Finish it off Friday fail

I had all the best intentions in the world this morning. I'd decided that this week's Finish it off Friday project should be a Farrow Industries freezer/cooler that, when finished, would fit beautifully into the modern kitchen scene that I'm building.

Even the lack of plastic cement in my stash didn't bother me: I planned a trip out to the hobby shop to buy some this afternoon, after I'd had lunch with a friend.

A miniaturist friend.

Who brought these for me to borrow:
Three Mouse Mansion children's books on display on a table top.
Oddly enough, any thoughts of making miniatures today
Inside spread from the book 'Mouse Mansion: Sam and Julia", showing a miniature dining room.
have flown right out the window...
Inside spread from the book 'Mouse Mansion: Sam and Julia", showing a mouse playing the violin in a miniature music room.