Small Talk Tag: Miniature

Raise a Glass

miniature cranberry glass

Thanksgiving is upon us, which means lots of turkey, pumpkin pie, and of course cranberry everything: sauce, stuffing, desserts, and even glassware. That’s right, this rose-colored type of glass is named after the holiday fruit, but it actually dates back to the Roman Empire. Surprisingly, the art of making the glass is rather expensive because gold is added to the molten glass to achieve the cranberry color before it is molded or blown into its final shape.

The photograph above pairs a full-size Victorian-style cranberry glass goblet with a variety of fine-scale miniature cranberry glass works by Francis Whittemore. The pieces include diminutive stemware, decanters with functional stoppers, and a punch bowl with cut details that is just big enough to fit an actual cranberry.

A Tiny Tradition

Teresa Wildflower

In 1994, November was officially proclaimed Native American Heritage Month by the president of the United States. The month is designated to celebrate the rich cultural traditions of the first Americans as well as pay tribute to their sacrifices and contributions throughout American history. As part of the celebration, we’re featuring one of our favorite Native American artist’s work from T/m’s collection.

Chemehuevi artist Theresa Wildflower’s miniature pottery exemplifies some of the rich artistic traditions of the Native Americans of the Southwest. As an accomplished potter, Wildflower created these traditional coil and pinch pottery forms in 1:12 scale. The ornate, hand painted geometric designs are carried over from symbols historically used to transcend inter-tribal language barriers. While her work is contemporary, miniature pottery from Southwest Native American Pueblos dates back for generations.

Just a Quick Cat Nap

miniature cat bed

There is certainly no shortage of cats on the internet these days, but we like to think this miniature cat lounging in its bed takes the prize for one of the most fabulous! The Louis XVI style canopy bed was created in 1:12 scale by artist Bernd Franke. The wooden features of the bed are hand carved and gilded in a neoclassical design, typical of the late eighteenth century. Two cylindrical bolster pillows keep this kitty comfy on the geometrical patterned upholstery, another hallmark of the period.

The fluffy white cat curled up on the bed was made by artist Tina Selden Nickel using modeling compound covered in real fur. It’s hard to imagine a real cat not going crazy over dangling ostrich feathers, ribbons, bows, and silk fringe, but one thing’s for sure: this cat bed is decadent enough to make the Fancy Feast cat jealous!

We’re Back At It!

The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures

The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures is back in business. After rushing to the finish line to put the final touches on all new exhibits and interactive experiences, we reopened to the public on August 1, 2015. Since then, we’ve welcomed over 12,000 guests and hope that you will be among them soon.

If Kansas City is a little too far away, put it on your bucket list and stay tuned for blog posts on all of our new exhibits from dollhouses in Let’s Play House to an exploration of how in the world artist’s can possibly make works of art that small in In The Artist’s Studio.

Narcissa’s Knoxville Rooms

knoxville museum of art thorne rooms

While viewing the fine-scale miniature collection here at T/m, many of our guests quickly draw a comparison to the famous Thorne Rooms at The Art Institute of Chicago. Created in the 1930s and ‘40s by Narcissa Thorne and numerous artists, these miniature room settings depict historical decorative arts periods in America.

You might be surprised to learn that a sizable collection of nine of Thorne’s room settings are in the permanent collection of the Knoxville Museum of Art (KMA) in Tennessee. In 1962, IBM (yup, the computer company) purchased many of the rooms, nine of which made their way to Knoxville. Visitors to KMA can travel through time via a miniature medieval bedroom, a federal dining room, and an early American kitchen. The room settings there represent not only important decorative arts movements, but also the early years of fine-scale miniature art.
Photo: Federal Dining Room, c. 1810, Knoxville Museum of Art.

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