The Outdoor Mini Gallery!
The past year has been a challenge for everyone. We have all been looking for new ways to entertain and occupy ourselves and learn new things. We see a substantial growth in the interest in miniatures as a hobby across the US and the globe as we all moved inside due to Covid-19 restrictions.
This has led to the rediscovery of childhood dollhouses nestled away in attics and basements and many have undertaken refurbishing projects. Others have turned to creating small art and crafting tiny treasures on their kitchen table tops and some have even created dedicated workspaces in their homes. A natural inclination for crafters is to share their work with others but the pandemic has placed restriction on these opportunities. As a result, some makers have turned to showcasing their mini art in the great outdoors. This is a safe way for mini enthusiasts to enjoy these new works and offers those who have never been exposed to miniatures a glimpse at this art form that makes us all shiver with delight.
May Burnett is an arts educator from Dobbs Ferry, New York, a suburban enclave just north of New York City. Growing bored and restless during the pandemic lock down, she decided to create a series of whimsical mini art vignettes which provide commentary (and levity!) during the global crisis. She then affixed her work to a line of tree along a popular trail near her home.
May’s “Quaran-teeny” outdoor gallery features a series of assemblages created using a mix of photographs, foam core and scrapbooking materials. Her “Corona-Lisa,” inspired by DaVinci’s masterpiece, spurs on chuckles while encouraging viewers not only to socially distance when viewing the art, but to wear a mask and keep surfaces around them virus free! More of May’s work can be found at http://www.may-burnett.com/
Canadian-based artist Street Art Miniaturist (she goes anonymously by “SAM”), sculpts realistic polymer clay miniature foods including tiny hamburgers, frozen popsicles and ripened and peeled bananas. She showcases her (really tiny!) miniatures in various spots along streets in the Ottawa neighborhoods where she lives. Part of the appeal of her exhibits is the discovery process not only to those viewers who “stumble” upon her work (if they are lucky) but to her followers on social media who she encourages to go out and find her hidden, in-plain-sight, treasures. SAM can be found on Instagram at @streetartminiatures
Stacy Milrany, a Seattle-based artist, created the Free Little Art Gallery (FLAG) on a street near her home in Washington State late in 2020. Her concept became a viral sensation when she started what she calls her “public art experiment,” encouraging passer-bys to look at the art, leave a tiny treasure or take a tiny treasure from the 18” x 16” x 9” gallery built, with the help of a friend, to showcase inch-scaled paintings, sculpture and 3D printed figures. The concept was created to “to shed a little light, levity and beauty on a heavy world and catastrophic year” as described on her website www.milrany.com.
Although the global pandemic has been devastating (and continues to be) for so many of us, we can see a mini silver lining. Mini makers are evolving and are encouraged to find creative ways to showcase their miniatures in unexpected places. We now have access to a new, broad array of viewers who may never have known about our awesome little world and may even consider trying their hand at creating new mini treasures of their own!
This is a reprint of my feature in the March 2021 Issue of DollsHouse and Miniature Scene Magazine. Check out this magazine for the latest in happenings in the mini world!