The Shasta Shoot

The South Bend on Mt. Shasta, 1977

The South Bend on Mt. Shasta

The South Bend miniature house has a two-part story, beginning with its initial construction in the fall of ’77, and its re-hab in 2005 for a new owner. In both cases it has found a happy home—first in California, and now at The Kentucky Gateway Museum Center in Maysville, KY. We worked long hours between August and November to make a timely delivery to its owner in So. California. Part of the rush was to exhibit it at another NAME miniature show, as we had discovered that was our best way of getting new orders, plus we enjoyed the feedback after the solitary months of bringing a project to life. Normally when we finished a house we corralled some friends to help take it out to the beach for a photo session, but the deadline and a spate of bad weather quashed that idea. Instead we packed the house in the van and headed south along the Oregon coast, hoping to find a likely spot for shooting, but again the November rains worked against us. We pushed through to Weed, CA for the night. Weed is an old lumber town high in the mountains near Mt. Shasta, a place Noel wanted to see because it was one of his dad’s regular stops when he traveled for Long Bell Lumber.

South Bend rear view

We awoke to a cold, clear morning with Shasta shining in the near distance. Time was running out—we would have to locate a picturesque location along I-5. Winding down the mountain we found a siding with a good rise in it that would allow us to shoot the house from below as well as at eye level. They weren’t great shots, but we got a decent record of the house in the hour we spent there.  It wasn’t until we were driving away that it dawned on us we had set the house, and ourselves, at the top of one of those emergency gravel hills they make for semi’s when their brakes fail on steep downgrades. They can steer into the siding at full speed and run right up the rise until, with luck, the weight of the truck stops it before they crash over the edge. The miniature gods must have been watching over us, and the truckers, that morning. Later, in Los Angeles, our friend Harry Liles, a terrific professional photographer, would painstakingly shoot the interiors, as he had before and would many times in the future—thanks again, Harry, you make us look great!

South Bend Interior

When we sent the slides off for prints, the processor (who had printed our house slides for several years, and knew what we did for a living) called to ask where this house was—it was just what he wanted to live in. I had a tough time convincing him this house existed in miniature only, that the photo was of a miniature, not a real house we had made a model of.

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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1 Response to The Shasta Shoot

  1. MiniMaker says:

    Great story and a Fabulous house! I know exactly where you are talking about, I grew up in McCloud, right next to Mt. Shasta. I want to live in that house too, lol!

    Mini Regards,

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