The Godzilla Factor developed as a further aspect of the miniature Greene & Greene/Gamble House interpretation saga—the monster/s (reincarnated as the architect/designers Charles & Henry Greene) that held us in their thrall, nibbling away at our sleep, our lives, our very souls.
We repeatedly cancelled social engagements. I blinded myself to the accumulating household beach sand, and dog and cat hair, and decided to take piano lessons. Noel disappeared into our captors’ brains, sitting up until the small hours, absorbing. We were also committed to design and teach workshops, for which we had to escape the monster and re-focus on smaller pieces. Our life morphed into a juggling act. In ways we looked forward to escaping the grip of the big house, in others we regretted losing the thread of concentration—it always took time to retrace the threads back into the main work and re-fire our passion. Plus, each incursion meant our finish date was pushed back one more time.
There were nights we’d worked so long we’d get slap-happy and take on the roles of Charles–Noel/Charles the dreamer/designer and crazier of the two, and Pat/Henry, the more business side of the duo.
We’d argue along in that vein, sometimes feeling as if we were, actually, them. We’d work and blather until we couldn’t see. Both our progress and frustrations are reflected in my work notes: “Dining room light fixture, even sitting on the floor, shows how the Greene’s textural designs all fit together; woodwork, metalwork, glass, tiles all complementing each other”…Can we finish by June/July for the NAME National Show?…”Were aging as rapidly as the house.”
1988 marked the beginning of the “last” phase of construction on the 1909 Greene & Greene/Gamble House interpretation. The deadline for completion was again extended into the unforeseeable future. It also marked the time when we admitted we were over our heads financially on the project—we needed our classes to support the balance of the work, which would prolong the project even more. As fate would have it, one more time, we got a break in the form of an invitation to join a miniatures group on a cruise as their guests of honor. The Arnells, the ever-flexible commissioners of the house, were among our shipmates. Their encouragement and excitement for the work-in-progress rekindled our fervor for the job ahead, as well as making it possible for us to continue at the snail’s pace we deemed necessary. Once we knew we wouldn’t go into debt on the project, we enjoyed the sun, the beaches, life-jacket drills, and the labors of all those who cooked and served us fine food, and made our beds. Our dreams again filled with “what next?” and returning (willingly) to Godzilla. We returned to seeing life through Charles & Henry’s eyes.
Note: A more detailed record of the project and how we did it is available in reprints of January, February and March issues of Nutshell News, where I wrote extensively about the project. If they aren’t available through the Dollhouse Miniatures archives, mini people on chat lines like The Camp, and Small Stuff may have copies they’d be willing to copy for you.