Category: dioramas

a miniature world, inhabited by stylish ants

dusting : fortuny ants

dusting : fortuny ants

Meet the Beaumonts, fifth avenue’s most stylish anthropods.

To celebrate Fortuny’s 2016  Micromondo collection (which means micro–world in Italian) I created a miniature world of cosmopolitan, domestic bliss inhabited by sophisticated ants with a taste for midcentury furniture and modern art. They also really love christmas – that’s part 2.

ant world

ant world

ant world

ant world

The ants are 6 inches tall and made from the Micromondo collection.  I made furniture, drapery etc. – everything a fully appointed ant penthouse needs – from the new wools, velvets and linens as well as many of the classic patterns – the blue and bronze above is one of my favorites. I also made ant art – I got super into the art making – and family portraits – lots of tiny details.

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miniature poinsettias – a preview of something new

mini paper poinsettias

Miniature fascinates me – we’ve talked about it before. It fascinates and delights me – takes me to that marvelous creative place where time and self-consciousness completely disappear – I can lose myself for hours and hours. I began to create a very particular miniature world, with very particular inhabitants more than a year ago and I can finally show it to you next week. It’s been one of my most favorite projects of all time.

Just lately that little world got ready for the holidays – and of course it needed poinsettias, pink and white poinsettias.

mini paper poinsettias

mini poinsettia

They are made from crepe paper  – I painted it just the right shade of pink. Tip – adding water and rubbing alcohol to acrylic paint makes it penetrate crepe paper much better – you can get clear, bright and translucent color.

There are a couple previews of the recently festivised version of the project below and more to come next week.

mini poinsettia

miniature fortuny shopping bag

PS – The vinegar, citrus, clove cleaner I made is awesome – smells good – and works great. I’m pretty pleased.

PPS – The mr. socks pattern is imminent  – probably tomorrow – just finished up a couple last minute reshoots today – crammed into the one corner of my place where I can get some light on a rainy day.

mr. socks pattern shoot

suddenly a swan appeared

paper swan family yellow

Swans. They’ve been on my mind and while I was working out the steps for the flamingo kit a swan turned up.  And then another and another.  I love them. LOVE them – so I took a ton of photos.

paper swan

black paper swan

paper swan work

paper swan family yellow

Of course there is a black swan and babies too- a whole family. My first thought was cake toppers and they will be in the shop very soon – ready made and probably kits I think too (sign up here to be notified  when they are available).

floating paper swans

But there is something else – probably most important of all – they bring me back around to the place I always end up. I think that everything I make has a foot in story but I have not very often explored that as fully or intentionally as I would like to and maybe paper swans are something to experiment with,  a good place to play with the idea of illustrations – the setting of a tiny stage.

my big creative year : the magic of small

miniature donkey

miniature donkey

I am deeply interested in what happens when things get small. I always have been. Mini is intriguing. There is a lot of magic in smallness.

When the scale changes – our ideas and presumptions about lots of other things change. All sorts of fresh possibilities are revealed. It is an invitation to look harder at everything. Scotch tape dispensers can become a perfect glass display case for this melancholy little scene.  I get excited about that sort of thing.

hair hut diorama

 hair hut diorama

Of course this works in both directions but I’m much more attracted to small – I think in part because it is accessible, it can be approached in a personal and solitary way. For me that is part of the beauty of small. Big leaps of imagination are possible and mood and atmosphere can be fine-tuned  because the scale is manageable.

dioramaSo much of what I love to do has been about this kind of play – it has always been a deep drive and fascination for me. Even at it’s simplest I find it compelling.

terrarium

But why is it magic? I think because things can exist at an intersection of real and pretend by virtue of their unorthodox and unexpected size. There is instant mystery, instant story – what kind of world might this tiny thing be part of? You can see it and touch it and if you choose to, be nudged a little further down the road to make believe.

superchunk

I’m so out of the habit of sharing what all is going on over here – I blame Facebook – it has made me, or allowed me to be,  blog lazy and that is a mistake in lots of ways.  Way back in July , when it was very, very hot,  I had an extra fun project working on  a diorama for Superchunk’s new video for Me & You & Jackie Mittoo” a song from their brand new album ” I Hate Music”.

(click the image for a larger view)

The diorama is cut paper and features  photos of lots people holding records. From Mac McCaughan: “‘Me & You & Jackie Mittoo’ is a song about bonding over records, & the role music can play in your life & relationships. We asked friends, family and some of our favorite record stores to collect photographs of people holding an album that is meaningful to them in some way — not necessarily ‘favorite’ though we’re sure plenty of them are.

The photos are incredible and there are hundreds of them. I was surprised by how sweet  and touching they all are- they made me love people in general a little extra.

We shot the video in my tiny place in brooklyn on the hottest day of the year – lots of dudes and equipment.  It was directed by my brilliant friend Phil Morrison and shot by Mott Hupfel – it was a blast – so much fun.

You can watch the video below or here:

cardboard castle #2

I finished my second cardboard castle and it’s in the window at Johnson at 179 Orchard street. There are also some doug rhodehamel style mushrooms and a couple little creatures roaming around. I had lots of fun making it and it was good thinking exercise for my sometimes too buttoned up brain. I took some pictures of it here before we brought it over.

The back of the castle has some little holes you can peek into. I couldn’t really properly photograph what you see inside, there are ghosts at a ball in one,

an enchanted horse in another and miss havisham is held prisoner in a tower (her picture didn’t turn out at all).

The castle will be in the window at Johnson until October 31st . Unfortunately this is my last window for Johnson, Mrs. Johnson is closing at the end of the month. I’ll really miss doing her window. I started doing it for fun and it ended up changing my life in interesting and good ways, Thank you MJ.