Let's Get Small with the {NewNew}

One of my favorite museums in NYC is the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD). Located in Columbus Circle, it is a very manageable 4 floors of exhibits. What drew me was their current show entitled Otherwordly: Optical Delusions and Small Realities. It consists of "small-scale hand built depictions of artificial environments and alternative realities" aka dioramas and scale models. Something most of us made as kids, these are grown-up versions that are just breathtaking. Amy Bennett created a tiny hospital floor with different rooms and then makes paintings of her models. Oliver Boberg designed a city block of what looks like the Bronx, circa 1980s. Each diorama has a large photograph mounted near it and looking at them, you can't believe they are actually photos of models and not the real thing. I love hyperrealism as well as dioramas, so this exhibit was made for me.
Here are some NewNew artists' use of miniatures:
Aminyitray's Found Ossuary is just over 1.25 inches tall! What a unique necklace this would make.
Wear a complete suburban dream complete with picket fence on your finger with JDavisStudio's amazing sterling silver ring!
This mini original art by LookCloselyPress will be just the right think to brighten up that little space!

Tiny, magical dragons by LaMuseKalliope can help make your wishes come true. Click here to see how!
For us caffeine-lovers, ProjectsbyCarm has created a teensy felted coffee and hot chocolate ornament!
Until next time, say hello to the johnny-jump-ups (the gorgeous mini pansies)!


How-To: Making a Miniature Artist's Canvas

I have always been obsessed with creating miniature versions of the things I use in my everyday life. I think the extra focus required to make miniature objects imbues the tiny things I make with a special quality--as if they are more charged with meaning than they would be at their regular size. Another reason to spend your time making tiny stuff is that it doesn't take up a whole lot of space, which, if you have friends who live in small apartments and want to give them beautiful handmade things but don't want to burden them with a lot of clutter, is a very good thing!

This tutorial will teach you how to make dollhouse-sized blank artists' canvases from empty tissue, granola bar and cereal boxes, which you can then paint and add to friends' art collections. I am hoping I can spark a whole trendy miniature painting craze!

Here's what you will need:
-empty boxes made from thin cardboard that you otherwise would have tossed into the recycling
-muslin fabric
-white glue
-acrylic gesso
-a normal size brush for applying the gesso, plus teeny tiny ones for doing the actual painting
-acrylic paints
-a gridded acrylic ruler is helpful for making accurate right angles when cutting up your boxes

Step 1: Figure out what size you want your miniature canvas to be. You can just eyeball the size if you like, but if you want it to be the perfect size to fit into a dollhouse, you'll want to do a little math. The standard size for dollhouse accessories is 1/12 scale, which means that you want to divide all your regular measurements by 12. If the full-sized painting would be 18 by 24 inches, then you want to make your mini canvas 1 and 1/2 inches by 2 inches.

Step 2: Once you have cut your cardboard to size, spread it with a thin layer of white glue and stick it to a piece of muslin. Make sure that the sides of your canvas are parallel to the grain of the fabric.

Step 3: Fold the fabric around to the back of the canvas and glue it down.

Make sure the folded fabric edge is glued slightly inside the edges of the cardboard so it can't be seen from the front.

Step 4: When your glue has dried, paint your canvas with a thin layer of acrylic gesso. You want to make sure not to put the gesso on too thickly, because being able to see the grain of your muslin is crucial to having a miniature painting that looks like the full-sized version. If you want to have an especially texture-y canvas, try different types of fabric and see which one looks best.

Paint gesso on the edges & back as well.

That's it! These miniature canvases are so easy and fun to make that you can create hundreds of them in nearly no time, then invite some friends over to have a painting party.

Then you and your friends can have a miniature art show:

Stella (lookcloselypress)