Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Family history meets minis


One of my hobbies is family history. This 1:12 scale project was made about four years ago in celebration of the journey of my great grandparents from England to New Zealand in 1922, and gifted to my cousin Dorothy in recognition of the generous spirit in which she shares her family history research. I spent a nice couple of days with Dorothy on my recent visit and 'borrowed' the trunk so that I could photograph it. The luggage label on the outside records the details of the voyage.

The inside represents a small room in my grandparents' house which has become the place where things are gathered together in preparation for the voyage. When I was working on it I'd often wake thinking of my great grandmother Elizabeth and imagine her laying in bed planning what they should pack to take to this 'new' country on the other side of the world. Seven children, the youngest just 6, travelled with their parents but my grandmother Alice, who was married with children of her own by 1922, stayed behind. (She and her family followed a few years later). Perhaps the family would have included a portrait of her in their luggage, I like to think so hence the photograph in the gold frame.





The sharp eyed among you will have noticed already that there are a couple of knobs missing from the trunk drawers, as well as the top of the "cosmetic bottle". I knocked the 'missing' drawer knobs of myself but forgot to put them on before the photo - I'll never get a job as a photo stylist that's for sure! After taking the photo I found the pearl top of the "cosmetic bottle" rolling around in the back corner - all have now been restored to their proper places, and the trunk returned to Dorothy. She keeps it on the bookcase in her home office where many pages of genealogy data, family stories and photos are stored, a perfect location for it :) Everything in the trunk was made by me except the little teddy, the sewing machine, the black handbag on top of the travel trunk, the photo frame and the 'high heeled' shoes under the bench (the other shoes are made from air drying clay as are the brown handbag containing voyage tickets, etc, the hairbrush, comb and mirror set, and the shaving mug which is difficult to see but is in the open trunk drawer). The photograph on the righthand page in the album on the bench is of the family - it was taken in England just before the voyage. (My grandmother - my father's mother - is at the back on the right).

11 comments:

Sans said...

I am on a voyage myself :)! Norma, the details are just fabulous! Wonderful work. I wish I have time to say more. For now, Ciao Bella!

Susanne said...

What a great story to be told and a fantastic work you have done.History adds an extra dimension to miniature..

Susanne said...

What a great story to be told and a fantastic work you have done.History adds an extra dimension to miniature..

Francesca said...

Wonderful photograph and wonderful work! Many compliments Norma!

Thmini2 said...

That is so cool! She must be so thrilled to have it. Wonderful work. That is an heirloom to be passed down.

Pubdoll said...

What a wonderful gift! I love family research too, but never have thought of combining my interests like that!
I love all the details you have put in there, especially the photos of your family and of your grandmother, but also the calendar, the gorgeous travel trunk and the suit!

Kate said...

What a wonderful project! I also have combined my love of miniatures with family history...and am happy to find another miniaturist with similar ideas. What a great photo of your family, and what an adventure to make the journey with young children. Thank you for sharing this.

I'm new to your blog, and am really enjoying it!

Kate

Liberty Biberty said...

An excellent way to remember the past Norma, it's wonderful!
Mercedes

minwks said...

Dear Norma, You have developed a meaningful way to use miniatures as an historical expression. Well done, I bet your cousin values and appreciates her treasures.
Regards Janine Minworks.blogspot.com

christine said...

hi norma, lovely work congratulations. i don't have a blog. (YET) its coming... lovely to meet someone else from australia. :0)

cockerina said...

is wonderful album of old photos! My grandmother had just the same, in black card, with the brown leather cover!
Caterina