Small Talk

A Rare Gem: Collaborating on the Art Deco Jewelry Store

A Rare Gem: Collaborating on the Art Deco Jewelry Store

The jazz age of the 1920s and 1930s effectively put the final nail in the coffin of the Victorian and Edwardian eras. During that time, the world saw the rise of a new type of popular music, new fashion trends (that still appear today), and a new form of art and architecture known as Art Deco. While our hometown of Kansas City has many examples of Art Deco buildings, our favorite example is our 1:12 scale miniature Art Deco Jewelry Store.

Specially commissioned by T/m’s co-founder Barbara Marshall, the Art Deco Jewelry Store is the product of a collaboration between several miniature artists. Kevin Mulvany and Susie Rogers (best known as just Mulvany & Rogers) built the architectural space and jewelry counter. María José Santos created the miniature couple and dapper salesman figures. Robert Ward beaded the magnificent chandelier. Last, but not least, Lori Ann Potts is responsible for the miniature “bling” inside of the jewelry cases. Stick with us as we zoom in on the details of this jazzy miniature!

Batteries Not Included

Batteries Not Included

Think of all the toys you’ve played with that came with the caveat, “batteries not included.” Bummer, right? The sheer disappointment that ensued after opening a new gift only to realize its inability to function without batteries isn’t easily forgotten!

While battery-operated and other electronic toys continue to captivate kids (and adults), a trend to revive analog or “slow toys” has emerged. Combine that with recent consumer safety issues from toys made abroad and the result is Americans are once again smitten with the wooden toys of yesteryear. One of the perennial favorites, Lincoln Logs, has returned 80% of production back to the U.S. after being made in China for nearly 60 years. Pennsylvania-based Channel Craft has built an entire catalog of toys that your grandparents or even great-grandparents likely played with. Can the simple joys of tops, train whistles, boomerangs, and yo-yos divert our attention from Angry Birds or Nintendo 3DS? Maybe for a bit. One thing’s certain: they’ll still be around when electronic toys’ batteries run out of juice!
Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Let’s Go Fly a Kite

Let’s Go Fly a Kite

For centuries, kites have remained one of the most universal outdoor toys. A symbol of childhood and freedom, the playthings can be found everywhere from suburban America to Brazilian favelas to the villages of Japan. A new exhibit at the V&A Museum of Childhood prominently displays a colorful kaleidoscope of kites from Kabul, Afghanistan.

Kites from Kabul is a partnership between the museum and British charity Turquoise Mountain. Established in 2006, Turquoise Mountain’s Institute for Afghan Arts and Architecture teaches young Afghans traditional arts and crafts like calligraphy, ceramics, and jewelry-making. Videos and photographs of the children who made the kites accompany the installation. A product of the intersection of art and play, the kite exhibition aims to foster greater understanding of Afghan culture.
Photo: Andrew Quilty/Oculi, V&A Museum of Childhood.

 

Jumping for Joy

Jumping for Joy

Parachute troopers played a decisive role in World War II. The D-Day invasion, which led to the end of the war, began with an attack by American parachute troopers. With their parachute, the troopers carried between 90-120 pounds on their back. They were jumping into unknown territory so they had to be ready for anything!

Thus, it comes as no surprise that the Prager and Rueben Company began making parachute trooper toys. The brown cloth Raggy-Doodle U.S. Paratrooper had a sewn-on aviator’s helmet and goggles. His painted aviation harness kept his heavy backpack and parachute in place. As you can imagine, T/m’s parachute trooper probably had many an adventure jumping out of bedroom windows, and off of tall trees, or maybe the occasional roof. Geronimo!

A Natural Talent: Inspiration Takes Flight

A Natural Talent: Inspiration Takes Flight

Visitors to T/m’s miniature masterpiece gallery will find a case filled with several of Beth Freeman-Kane’s miniature birds and other animals. While the display is still a few penguins short of a zoo, the wildlife represented hails from all over the world, including near Freeman-Kane’s South African Home.

Although her works differ from that of famed ornithologist and painter John James Audubon, her process begins the same way as his: thorough and intense research. Freeman-Kane then sculpts each tiny creature in clay using her hands, pins, scalpels, and sandpaper. A mold is made of the clay sculpture, which is used to cast the final product in resin. Freeman-Kane cleans up the resin sculpture using a dentist’s drill. The final (and most labor-intensive) step is painstakingly painting the feathers, fur, and other details using acrylic gouache. The bee eaters pictured here are perched on a black locust tree branch for added realness.

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