Arts and Entertainment

Mini Marvels

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People seem to like little things: puppies, colts, model cars and trucks and small furniture that really works.

The Mini Marvels is a group that takes this love one step further. They build houses and display rooms in scale, usually 1 inch equaling 1 foot, but also with a half-inch, quarter-inch or 1/44 inch equaling a foot.

The 1/12 ratio is typical of dollhouses; 1/44 is a dollhouse sized for a dollhouse.

It is tiny.

About 10 years ago, Bette Miller moved to Sequim from Arizona where she'd been involved in miniatures and was asked to set up an exhibit in the Old Dungeness Schoolhouse. Mini Marvels grew from the interest people showed in the exhibit.

Fair fare

Miller says the schoolhouse no longer needs their miniatures so the 17 members now work together on projects for the Clallam County Fair. This fall they will have a three-month exhibit at the Museum at the Carnegie, 207 St. Lincoln St., in Port Angeles.

Miller got her first dollhouse at age 5. It was a house her mother had as a child, receiving it from an older cousin. All the furniture was made in Germany and was finely crafted.

Miller remembers she and her sister playing for hours with their houses. She still says she can leave her problems behind and disappear into the world of miniatures. Working on her houses gives her something to look forward to every day.

Castle, country house

These days Miller is working on a castle that is 6 feet long. The figures for the castle are action figures from the Lord of the Rings that she is redressing.

She also has an English estate house like one she once visited to finish along with several smaller projects.

"You never look at anything for what it actually is but what you can make of it." Miller says.

Diana Entican, another club member, has been making miniature rooms for 15 years. Her California miniatures club made display rooms each year and held classes to teach how to make items to fill them.

Bake me a button

One room was a bakery with buttons used as cake plates and tiny cookies made of painted modeling clay. An art gallery had pictures cut from magazines or taken from the Internet framed and hung on the walls.

A round pillbox was covered with velvet to become a tiny bench and chess pieces became sculptures. Beads taken from costume jewelry are lamps.

Lamps are wired so they light. Entican makes a variety of chandeliers from beads, crystals and tiny light bulbs.

"Illusion is important," says Entican.

Mansion in garage

Like many miniature lovers, Entican has designed her own Victorian mansion. It sits in her garage waiting while she's on other projects. She works on it when she can and talks of how beautiful it will be when finished.

This summer she and five other members of Mini Marvels will go to the National Association of Miniature Enthusiasts convention in Seattle for a weekend of workshops learning from experts. They will bring home new ideas to share on the peninsula.

The Mini Marvels meets at 11 a.m. the second Tuesday of each month at a member's home. For information, call Bette Miller, 681-2979.

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