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).
I'm not sure if I should describe miniatures as a hobby or an obsession, but it's the best escape from the cares of the world that I know - and an opportunity to indulge a love of vintage decor without breaking the bank.