Saturday, May 12, 2012

October Cruise workshop: Luce

Please join me for a jaunt in the West Indies and Caribbean aboard the MiniCruise '12 in October. I have been invited to teach the comprehensive workshop on the ten-day voyage, sailing from Miami on October 14, 2012, and I'd love to see you there.

The two-day (16 hour) workshop we will build is called Luce/Ombre and is a nice plaza/stairway scene that reflects light and shadows and evokes imagery of central squares or off-the-beaten-path plazas in, perhaps, an Italian, French or Spanish village. The possibilities for design and finishing are endless and I think you will find Luce very appealing, as do I!

You will use stucco, Paperclay, and subtle paint washes to create the look of aged stone and brick. You will create and paint the faded wooden doors, install the stairway railing, and rig the unique lighting that brings this piece to life with subtle hues of warmth.

Luce measures appr. 10” wide, 11” high, and 11” deep. All necessary parts to build the kit are supplied, including electrical. Tools will be provided as necessary but a toolkit is recommended. It will be necessary for you to bring a box to pack the piece off the ship and back home. 

We will not finish the exterior of the box in class, allowing you to create a painted, stained, or covered effect at home. The cost of this project is $165, and includes pre-shipping to you, and all materials to finish, light, and power the unit. I will mail you the essential pieces before October for you to do a small amount of prework at home so you are ready to do the main work on the ship. Full instructions are included, but as you know if you’ve taken one of my workshops, there is plenty of opportunity for spontaneous creation. 

Look forward to seeing you in the Caribbean in October! Please note that early reservation is recommended to ensure availability and for the best pricing on the cruise.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Construction of a Japanese house room box

Here are some construction photos of the construction of a miniature Japanese house room box. This piece was built in 90mm scale, to accommodate a collector's medieval samurai collection. Slightly larger than 1/2 inch scale, the difficulty can often be finding ways to make the realism come through in small size.

Unlike miniature architecture structures, which are models of a finished structure from all sides and angles, room boxes are often the view of a room, looking in through one wall. This is no exception, but what I like to do is feature different angles and hidden lines of sight, rather than the usual "three walls". In this case, there is a view from the front of the back fence and implied vegetation beyond, but there is also a view of the garden angling around the side of the house, which opens up the small structure and makes the whole scene seem larger than it really is.

This is the finished product. Now let's see if I can remember how I built that...

First, creating the box. In this case, because of the small scale, I'm using thin wood. Not the relatively small size of the box.

Using weighted verticals to establish interior dimensions. 

Estimating the sight lines based on future location of rear fence and walls against a backdrop.

Filling in the back vegetation.

Building the fence.

Fence in place. Looks pretty good with the garden in front and vegetation scene in back.

Starting to project finished dimensions.

Infrastructure and wiring

Shoji. Do them right, no easy way about it!

View from the top, with supports/wiring in place.

Done! Kirin time.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Happy May! I am jotting down this reminder that at the Molly Cromwell Miniatures show in Sturbridge, I will be teaching for the second--and final--time, the 1" scale roombox Convent of St Teresa. So if you didn't make it then but wanted to take a workshop to build this piece, now is  your oppurtunity. June 4 from morning till done. 

Please see Molly's website for further details.

The Convent of St. Teresa in the remote hills of Spain has remained unchanged for nearly three-hundred years. Yet, while the nuns go about their activities below, no one seems to know who maintains the candle in the room at the top of the stairs. This 1" scale inch scale room box is approximately 8" x 8" square & 4" deep, taking minimal space, but having a maximum impact.
You will use Paperclay to create realistic aged plaster walls, build and age the wood floor, trim and stairs, plus use creative lighting techniques to create the sense of realism that gives The Convent its mystical allure. Students will build all interior details as shown in the photo, installing the candle, aging the book, bowl and other details. This is a long one-day workshop, so that we finish all details. Transformer, electrical, frame, and all materials seen in the photo are included in the project, except for the painting. A standard tool kit is sufficient. Wood glue is best. I will supply super glue and any tools outside the standard setup. I will also pre-stain all wood ahead of time and attach the overhead lamp, to save time. We will apply a frame to fit over the box, as shown in the photo.
Costs and options:
$225 with plain pine exterior box. If you wish Veneer of mahogany or walnut - I will apply it ahead of time - please request at registration - cost with veneer exterior: $255.
Contact me as soon as possible since there is still space in the class. I accept credit cards, checks, Paypal and gold bullion. Email:

Completion in class is guaranteed!