Preparing for the overhaul...

Monday, March 7, 2011

Michael Mortimer, And A Quick Editorial Note

I love all things medieval and tudor, and I have a small but growing collection of work by one of the titans in that field, Michael Mortimer.  Honestly, Mr. Mortimer's stuff has to be seen, up close and personal, to be believed.  A lot of dollhouse furniture has character, and a lot of dollhouse furniture showcases skill.  It's very rare to find a piece that exemplifies both qualities.  Mr. Mortimer's work is some of my favorite; I purchased these pieces from Miniature Scene, York, one of the nicest dollhouse shops around.

I'm actually in the process of collecting furniture for a larger tudor house that I haven't built yet.  I'm also in the process of designing fireplace surrounds, etc.  Once I have a good collection of items, I'll design and build a suitable house around them.  Although my heart lies with smaller scenes, and roomboxes, I do lust after the occasional grander scale home.  I'll keep you updated on my progress!

This cupboard bed is based on a real piece of furniture.

I'm currently hunting for suitable fabric to make a curtain.

The level of detail in Mr. Mortimer's pieces has to be seen to be believed.

A privy!

The concept of privacy (as we know it) was brand new in tudor times.  The first "modern" privy was, essentially, invented by a Frenchman who insisted that his servants carry a green silk tent around with them; he would have it erected over his portable privy, to give himself some respite.  He was considered quite missish.  Many medieval privies were simply niches set into walls, with the necessary equipment--and thus he who used it--out there for all to see.

These are just wonderful hinges.

A bathtub.

Time for the weekly bath, eh?

Finally, a note on historical accuracy: one of my readers emailed me, concerned that I was misrepresenting my work as historically accurate.  Specifically, I used the term "historically accurate" in the title of my last tutorial.  Am I, in fact, misleading you, my readership, as to what is, and is not, correct?

Well, I certainly hope not.  As I've said before, while I'm certainly inspired by medieval and tudor--as well as American colonial, and other--influences, my work belongs to, primarily, the realm of fantasy.  Minis are, for me as, I imagine, for others, an escape from reality--a chance to create my own little world.  I've been making and collecting minis since I was seven, but my first serious foray into the world of "adult" miniatures was during my teenage years.  I absolutely fell in love with an historic home in my home town.  I couldn't live there, so, as they say, I brought the mountain to Mohammed.  I endeavored to recreate my favorite place in miniature.  And, well, I've been at it ever since.

These days, the "favorite place" I create is one of simplicity, tranquility, and wonder.  I'm most inspired by the elusive realm of fantasy, for what the very concept of fantasy represents in my own life--in all our lives.  It's nice to remember, once in awhile, that dreams are possible--and our efforts are sufficient to realize them.

No, I'm not building museum models; my work isn't mean to be a history lesson.  No, the thatched roof tutorial doesn't represent how a thatched roof was actually made.  Nobody really used fur, or Quick Grip, or varnish.  My goal wasn't to give you a history lesson, but to help you create something that, when done, would look good.

Real medieval and tudor houses weren't made out of plywood, or MDF, either; nobody used craft glue.  Landscape elements weren't made out of styrofoam and Woodland Scenics products.  Moreover, medieval England wasn't coursing with wizards.  Sadly, these things exist only in our heads--and insomuch as our hands can give them life.  I'm inclined, honestly, to believe there's enough "reality" in the world already.

I write this blog, and sell my miniatures, and contribute the occasional magazine tutorial, because I love all things mini, and want to share my joy with you.  And, truly, I feel very privileged for the opportunity to do so.  I hope you enjoy minis--in all their many multitudes of forms--as much as I do.

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