Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Magical Dollhouse of My Shabby Streamside Studio by Cinderella Moments

About once a year or so, I see art or decor in print or on the web that 
completely galvanizes me with its beauty.    I’m excited to introduce you to 
Caroline Dupuis of Cinderella Moments , who contacted me with a link 

As a shy person, I’m quite embarrassed by all the ‘limelight’ my studio 
has shone on me – the very sweet comments from my gentle readers, 
magazine editors, a pair of big-time design gurus, and getting recognized 
at yard sales and stores, for example – but I’m learning to feel worthy of it.  
But, when I saw the pictures of my studio on her blog I gasped and cried out 
(at work, mind you, that’ll teach me to not goof off) like the first time I was 
contacted by some (Cindy of My Romantic Home) for my little studio. 

I immediately forwarded the link to my family and closest friends, 
and now I share it with you: a dollhouse so realistic I feel like I’m in my studio 
just staring at the pictures.   

This is art the only way it should be – labored, heartfelt, inspired.  
Caroline actually installed the woodwork board by board, just like I did 
for my studio, so I know something of what it took to make this. 

The best thing about her is she doesn’t stop looking for solutions 
when she’s stonewalled.

Caroline graciously granted me an in-depth interview, please see below.

Sandy  -  What touched me the most was the obvious work you did to get so many details right; the tissue roses, the sachet, all three chandeliers.   They bear your stamp of creativity rather than slavishly copying.   Can you comment further on that?
Caroline  -  The chandeliers!   I looked around for chandeliers to buy (this is what happens to me with everything!), but I couldn’t find anything like I wanted.    So I decided to try making one.   First, I looked up miniature chandelier tutorials online and found one to try.    I did it and didn’t like it.    So I went on my own!    Got inspired by looking at Horchow’s site.    I just start bending the metal and it takes me wherever it wants to go!    This is true of all my art work.    I listen to what the piece wants to be.    I don’t try to control it. 
Sandy  -  What ‘scale’ is this? 
Caroline  -  This is 1:12 scale. 
Sandy  -  What size doll would fit inside?
Caroline  -  I think 5 to 6 inch dolls.    I don’t even have one!  

Sandy  -  What materials are used on the exterior and roof?
Caroline  -  The roof is wood shingles, the regular ones you get for dollhouses.    The siding is a cardboard box that I cut open to get that ridged part.    I used the same material inside, but a smaller scale.    When it’s painted it looks like the real thing. 

Sandy  -  The ‘tin walls and ceiling’ are so sweet!    What are they made of?
Caroline  -  The tin is just cardboard and hot glue.    First, I cut out the little 2” square pieces of cardboard.    I drew a simple leaf and dot design and applied the hot glue.    This one gets me a lot of emails!    The secret is twirling so you cut those annoying hot glue strings.    Then I painted them white and lightly highlighted with silver.  
Sandy  -  Did you cut all the planks for the floors and ceiling out of wood?
Caroline  -  All the planks are craft sticks that I cut out one by one.    I always like when they split or break.    It looks so rustic! 
Sandy  -  How long have you been making dollhouses?
Caroline  -  I have only been making dollhouses since April 2010.    I had been making my paper (cardboard actually) cottage models for 13 years.    But my Etsy customers kept asking for houses to put their furniture in.    So I finally gave in.    I didn’t even think I would like it!  I don’t…I love it! 

Sandy  -  If someone wanted to get started in this art, how and what would you direct them to?
Caroline  -   Start with a kit.    A simple, little one.    I started with the Corona Primrose kit .    It’s still my favorite.    You want to do one with not too many pieces.    One you can see yourself finishing.    I use this kit all the time.    I just put more windows and doors to customize it.  
Sandy  -   I enjoy making decorative houses for Christmas, but mine look like the influential Coty Foster houses.    Do you make anything for the holidays?
Caroline  -   I love your houses.    I saw them on your Christmas post.    I’ve tried a couple of those myself!    I do have one Christmas dollhouse on Etsy.    It’s very whimsical.    Red with white polka dots, pink hand-painted interior, and even a Christmas tree I decorated.    It’s really in the Mary Engelbreit style.    I hope to do more as soon as I get hit by some inspiration! 
Sandy  -  Do you do custom work, for example, if someone wanted a dollhouse of their home, would you take it on?
Caroline   -   I don’t think I’m quite there yet.    I still think I need more woodwork practice.  Your little studio was my very first try at copying an existing structure.    It was sweet and small.    I never want to overwhelm myself with projects I’m not sure I can accomplish.   Also, I’m happiest when I work on houses that I fall in love with.    I did a lot of custom paper houses for people and I came to the conclusion that I’d rather do projects my heart tells me to do.    It makes the work so exciting and fun.    Like your studio.    I couldn’t wait to get up in the morning and start working on it!    That’s what art is all about! 

So true.
Visit Caroline at her blog Cinderella Moments, or her Etsy shop.

Until next time, stay shabby!

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