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Once upon a time, when I was much littler than I am now (in more ways than one), I watched an episode of The Twilight Zone where a man is fascinated with a dollhouse in a museum. He sees the inhabitants as real people, while to everyone else they are just dolls.

The details of the plot and story have been long since lost to me but I shared this memory with Mr Grrr when I discovered that he had been given all the series of the Twilight Zone.

Upon hearing this, Sherlock Grrr googled the answer and declared to me that it could only have been one of two episodes of “the zone”.

We watched one the other week and it turns out the episode I fondly remember is called Miniature.

It turns out I only recall the last 10 minutes of the episode but it was quite cool.

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The write up of the Shopping Sherpa‘s dollhouse exhibition in Canberra got me theorising about dollhouses again:

Across time and place we readily identify with domestic settings; from ancient Roman villas, to the round houses in the PNG highlands. We recognise domestic spaces used for sleeping, eating, washing etc. Like mini house museums, Anna Maria’s dolls’ houses are repositories of material culture of the Western era from 1957 – 2007. (see source)

Except I still wonder if the houses are really repositories of material culture, that we can all possess, or reflections of the material culture we aspire to possess?

From her blog:

I find it constantly surprising how miniaturists in the late 20th and early 21st century seem to have suddenly reverted to creating Victorian country dolls houses. I’m not sure if it is because those pieces are easier to obtain commercially (and here’s where I start asking chicken and egg questions) or if it a “dumbing down” of a hobby (can I be so arrogant as to use the phrase “art form”?) that has been round since the 15th century at least.

If you are interested in some of the famous dolls houses through history you might want to look at Mon Plaisir (1704-1751), the Dutch cabinet houses of the 17th century and, more recently The Thorne Rooms in Chicago and (of course) Queen Mary’s Dolls House at Windsor Castle.

Each of these collections gives us a very clear idea of how people actually lived in the times they were constructed and are a very useful social history tool.

So why oh why aren’t we doing this any more? Are future generations going to have to look to TV to see how people lived in our times? And will that mean they’ll get some completely unrealistic idea (eg: how do the people in Friends actually afford to live in a flat like they have?!)

(see source)

I don’t disagree with any of the points she has made, either in her blog or in her exhibition; but I do wonder whether the repositories of present/modern life are only slightly less idealistic than those which envisage a far off, unrealistically perfect period of Victoriana.

I think that even modern dollhouses might be aspirational repositories – what we want to possess, where we would like to live – of modern life; rather than reflective repositories – where we actually live, what we can actually afford to own…rather than being a reflection of  material culture, they are, perhaps, a reflection of materialistic culture.

Without spending alot of time digging out stats and figures and correlating percentages of ownership of key items against the dates they appeared in dollhouses, this is only speculation.

But in the interest of randomly collating facts found on the internerds and coming to a (possibly flawed conclusion) consider the Shopping Sherpa’s late 50’s dollhouse which was initially dated as being produced in 1947 and features a television. There is an interesting site about TV History which included alot of US figures about tv ownership, and prior to 1955, less than 50% of the USA owned a TV (see source).

Admittedly this is a US specific site, it would be more interesting if the stats were from the same region as the dollhouse – Lundby started in Sweden. And it would be more interesting if there were more than one “key items” which could be correlated against statistics for uptake and ownership….but it was quite a cool thought while it lasted.

Well Christmas is over and in that brief hiatus before our eyes are assaulted with visions of chocolate rabbits and bunnies and bilbies; there is just time to curdle the heart of anyone who has visited the antivalentine website with visions of pink and red and fluffy toys holding “I wuv U” and chocolate and roses…I could go on, you know.

Turns out, if you are a 1:12 boy in need of a special something to impress a 1:12 girl on V Day or you are in the 1:12 doghouse and need to get out…there is hope.

Valentines day ?joy? has spread into the 1:12 world:

Say it with flowers

Say it with flowers

Disregard my bitterness that seasonal, religious and corporately promoted festive moments have permutated into the 1:12 world (aka my singleton bitterness), these miniature artists are really talented.

Awww...you shouldn't have. I didn't get you anything....

Awww...you shouldn't have. I didn't get you anything....

I mean, the above is even wrapped in cellophane – talk about attention to detail!

Anyhoo I think I am well on the way to having a Bridget Jones moment with a bottle of vodka and Chaka Khan; except I might substitute Chaka Khan with Patti Smith…or Diamanda Galas:

Gosh. I forgot how wonderful and yet incredibly scary Diamanda is…

Backtrack…

I have previously mentioned the amazingly cool miniature shops in Covent Garden  and Kings Road, Chelsea and that I still had the catalogue from the Kings Road shop, well on revisting the catalogue it turns out it was the catalogue from the Covent Garden shop, not the Kings Road shop.

I know, confusing, right? Well I just wanted you to know.

And I also wanted you to know that, while I haven’t managed to locate the original shops anywhere online nor have I managed to find the amazing fountain with waterlilies and goldfish, I have found a suitable alternative on Etsy:

OOoooo....puuuuurdy.

OOoooo....puuuuurdy.

Just imagine it rounder, with a fountain in the middle and you are bang on the money.

Of course this house doesn’t have a garden and I don’t have the space to have an indoor garden (what with the billiard table and other impulse purchases), so I may have to restrain my urge to purchase for now. But still, cool no?

…and they bring their cousins, sisters, fathers, uncles, brothers and characters from spin off tv shows.

A couple more inhabitants for 31 Kings Farm turned up:

Awww don't they look cute together...

Awww don't they look cute together...

I haven’t  yet worked out the “family” dynamics yet. I am not losing the billiard room, so out of Oz, Gwen, Dawn, Mrs Summers, Buffy and Dr Who…at least two of the above will be sharing a room…

Of course – there are a couple more action figures I would like to possess, so I may actually need to bite the bullet and build another house just to contain all these peeps.

I have been swept up in imaginings of a 1:1 serve of rich chocolate self-saucing pudding today (or maybe even a 2:1 or 3:1 serve…mmmmm) but Etsy managed to sidetrack me with this cupcake wonderment:

Listen, cupcake...

Listen, cupcake...

Now I actually have a 1:12 real glass cakestand which is currently empty. Real glass and only 1:12 size; you expected me to resist buying that? Oh silly you!

It is possible that this amazing cakestand may not be empty for very much longer…

Given I am stuck in limboland, with the uncomfortable realisation that pretty much everything I do in my spare time (painting, this project and more) involves making a godawful mess, I thought I would share a new discovery.

New! Discovery! Only discovered within the last hour!!!!!!

Although I rely on ebay (.com, .com.au and co.uk) as the font of all dollhouse-ness. It appears there is another pretender to the throne.

Admittedly it is more final product and/or whimsy oriented, but trawling through its depths has given me an hour of fun.

It is:

Etsy: www.etsy.com

Ahhh etsy, where all people crafty share their wares for selling, for not so crafty people (like you and me) to purchase them.

And what gems have I found? There are some amazing stuff on there:

  • A 1:12 tarantula in a terrarium.
  • A 1:12 wiccan altar set.
  • And my personal fave…. a 1:12 miniature pot plant.

Now you can get any old 1:12 pot plants anywhere, but this is special as it is pot of the pot (or mary jane) variety.

12 warrant to search the premises...

We have a 1:12 warrant to search the premises...

How cool is that?

Now that I have the Oz action figure with his guitar and amplifier, I can totally envisage a teen room scene with the ubiquitous pot plant. Particularly if the plant was kept in a wardrobe with a hydroponic set up, like my first boyfriend’s, but you know…even without the wardrobe, it’s still quite cool.