Minis, Knitting, Rocket Science–When It’s Over, It’s Over, But Then It’s Never Really Over

“I can’t believe you were actually able to part with (the Greene & Greene house) after all that.  Do you ever go to Tucson to visit it?”– Question from Kathleen after my last entry.

Thanks, Kathleen, that’s one of those big squashy questions—how did we part with all those houses? So big I’ll devote a whole entry to it. Plus, in December, WordPress (our Mother Ship and the blog host) gives me another nudge to write by providing cyber-snow falling on the page.

Cycling back to the 70’s, I’m seeing the first three houses we sold (on consignment to FAO Schwarz).  After we, the dog, and our VW camper towed them down to SFO, we watched them disappear under the street, down into the bowels of the building in FAO’s freight elevator. I felt that sweet sorrow—there went our babies, our work of so many months, the products of this crazy thing we were doing to avoid office jobs. But our babies were also our cash cows. Our work. They paid the rent and put dinner on the table. In that sense the partings became a matter of business–we made something to sell, and sold it. And, we got to enjoy that our work gave  others pleasure. In the artistic sense, it came to mean that by the time we were done with one house, the next was already taking shape in our heads. Like knitting an intricate sweater, or building a rocketship, it was always a matter of next time, what can we do differently, or better? As attached as we became to our work, when a house was done, it was done. What’s next was exciting. The Greene & Greene drained us, perhaps in the best of ways, by helping us create something at the very highest levels of our consciousness,  and abilities, but we were ready to move on. Charles & Henry were dictators. We had been working to emulate genius, their genius, rather than pursue our own quirks of creativity. It was thrilling brainwork, but we were ready to find out what new stuff was lodged in the wrinkles of our own minds. We were lucky enough to have a string of customers waiting their turn, and many mouths to feed.

Our cat Tweed waiting for us to decide what's next.

Our cat Tweed waiting for us to decide what’s next.

Have we visited it in the museum in Tucson? Not yet. Over the years we visited other works of ours, and were shocked–either by how primitive they were (the earliest houses, when we knew nothing), or, later, at the scope and complexity of detail—how did they DO that? How long did it take?  Who were these strangers? It was the shock of un-recognition. “They” were/are us, of course, but they seem more like two other much younger people we once knew but have lost touch with. We wonder what happened to them, and hope they are well.

Please stay tuned–in this blog I’ll continue to explore what “they” did next. Meanwhile, ask more good questions, and enjoy the snow!

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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6 Responses to Minis, Knitting, Rocket Science–When It’s Over, It’s Over, But Then It’s Never Really Over

  1. Catherine Ronan says:

    I have always wondered if you kept (or built) one of your houses for yourselves. Even if it was just a small one. I think that would make having sold all the others a little bit easier. I know I would feel a whole lot better thinking that you had one. Maybe you should skip my question. 😉

    • No, good question. Yes, we kept the Italian Gate from our trip to Venice, and the Aero II Travel Trailer, plus we live with a number of class prototypes, which are for sale. The rest we lived with for almost 40 years, and feel lucky to have found good homes for.

  2. Linda Master says:

    …”lodged in the wrinkles of our own minds”….you have such a great way with words too, this line is classic 🙂

  3. Great answer, Pat — I can totally understand the “been there, done that — what’s next?” mindset! Onward and upward. 🙂

  4. Holly says:

    Hi thanks for sharingg this

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