Where It All Began

Our new home.

In 1974, the OPEC embargo/oil crisis seemed as good a reason as any for Noel and me to pack up, leave the city (Los Angeles) and our jobs in advertising (Noel’s as art director, mine as copywriter), and head to the rural coast of Washington State. Noel was born in Washington, and his father lived at the time on the Long Beach Peninsula, a place that seemed magically free of smog, traffic and the need to punch a time clock. We were classic “drop-outs.” We cut up our credit cards, gave away Noel’s suits, our watches, and headed north in one VW camper and one VW bug, along with our plants, two cats and a vacuum cleaner (to clean up the kitty litter in motels along the way). Our idea was to build dollhouses for a living, based on the fun we had building one for Noel’s daughter the year before. It seemed a lot better way to use our creative energies than writing ads for people to wrap their fish in. If it didn’t work, then ok, we could always go back.

About smallhousepress

In 1974, my husband Noel and I began building aged miniature houses for collectors and museums. We were 70's dropouts. We quit our careers in advertising--art director and writer, respectively--and escaped Los Angeles in a VW camper and a Bug for a simpler life on the coast of Washington State. From a tiny studio in our home, we built 64 houses and buildings. Our specialty was aging--making a structure that reflected the scars and wrinkles of time, the elements, and human habitation. In the 80s we began teaching our techniques in workshops around the country, and I began to write our how-to's in Nutshell News and Miniature Collector. In 2000 we migrated across the Columbia to Astoria, OR, where , in 2011, we retired from miniatures. We are Fellows of the International Guild of Miniature Artisans and taught at their annual school in Castine, ME. By avocation I am a writer and poet. The blog is my way of working back into a writing routine, as well as recording what we did, and what we learned along the way.
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4 Responses to Where It All Began

  1. Stephanie Frieze says:

    I love reading about people who take a leap of faith and head for the unconventional! As a child I loved going to the Museum of History and Industry in Seattle because they had a beautiful miniature house on display there. It was facinating. I hope you will tell us more about your journey and where we might be able to see your work.

  2. Thanks, Stephanie,
    I plan to blog about once a week, and will include more about where our work can be found.

  3. This is so very interesting! The houses are stunning. And oh wow a bug and a bus!!!! I’m a VW fanatic . I’ve had 6 bugs, and right now I have that exact light yellow ’71. Thanks for blogging, I love reading it.

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