Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Getting Ready for the Guild School

It's been a very busy three weeks as I prepare materials for my class at the I.G.M.A. Guild School. So much to do!

I just finished the class prototype of "Garden Cottage", having sold the first one to a long time customer who called to ask: "Do I have to make one, or can I just buy it?" (Classes are not everyone's idea of a good time!)

I dictated directions into a small recorder as I worked; now I have to write them out and make assembly drawings.

I've assembled parts, made multiple lists, and the studio is filled with partially packed boxes of supplies. It's fun, but a lot of work! The very last thing I did was make and paint 15 of the tiny weathervanes (10 plus 5 extra, in case of disasters.) All the other construction will be done by the students.

The Guild School is a one of a kind experience, whether you are a student or a teacher. It's the most fun you can have with your clothes on - as the saying goes - if you happen to love miniatures!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The "Thomas Table"

Making a 1:144 vesion of "La Fenetre" turned out ot be quite a challenge! I had planned to use N scale strip wood, but the sizes I needed turned out to be so small that styrene turned out to be the only way to go. The red vertical strips on the second story, for example, are .010 " x .020".

The the roof over the first floor was chemically weathered copper for the 1:12 version we made in class. It simply isn't possible to do that in 1:144, so I used .005" styrene with .010"X .010" ribs. I painted it black, then added a dark brown wash with just a tiny bit of metallic bronze in it , then a verdigris color wash.

The side walls were plastered in the 1:12 scale version; I used gesso for the 1:144 scale version.

My favorite trick learned in the class was making the drain pipe at the bottom of the downspout out of masking tape. Just a few wraps of 3/4" tape, with more wraps of a narrow strip of tape at the top, some paint, and voila! It looked just like the real thing! So that's what I have Noel making on the table.

This isn't quite finished - there will be a Guild School mug full of paint brushes at the back left where that empty spot is. I'm still waiting for it to come, so I'm putting this aside for a bit to start putting the kits for my class together.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Guild School 2011

Now that Chicago is over, I'm turning my attention to the Guild School. There's lots to do, especially in preparing for my Garden Cottage class.

First, though, I'm working on a piece to be donated for their annual fund raising auction. This is the last year legendary artists Noel and Pat Thomas will be teaching at the Guild School, so I'm teaming up with the wonderful doll artist, Connnie Sauve, to make a piece in their honor. Connie is making Noel and Pat dolls, and I am making a work table with an "in progress" version of "La Fenetre", the class they will be teaching this year. (To see it, go to:
I was lucky enough to take the class in 2009, so I have lots of photos to work from.

I've almost finished the 1:144 La Fenetre", and am about to set up the work table. I had planed to make a table, but remembered that I had a table by Mark Murphy (also a Guild School instructor) that somehow looks very "Noel Thomas-y", so I'm going to use that.

Pictures soon!