Small Talk Tag: Furniture

Miniature Masterworks: Geoff Wonnacott

Chess Table

Geoff Wonnacott has been making 1:12 scale 16th-, 17th-, and 18th-century furniture reproductions for over 30 years. Having apprenticed in two towns with a long history in the furniture industry—Exeter and Barnstaple, England—during college, Wonnacott was ready to leave the commercial side of the industry so, he moved to miniature making.

Wonnacott scours the internet, furniture auction catalogs, and visits some of the finest houses and palaces across the United Kingdom and Europe to find inspiration for his next project. After carefully researching his chosen work and drafting scale drawings, he consults his stock of antique wood for just the right piece. Wonnacott mines his materials from full-scale antique furniture because of its superior color and grade. Everything old is new again, but in this case, it is much smaller!

Geoff Wonnacott is one of over sixty artists participating in Miniature Masterworks, September 15-17, 2017.

Miniature Masterworks: Michael Yurkovic

Michael Yurkovic first trained as an industrial designer, before transitioning his experience with consumer electronics, toys, games, and home healthcare appliances to creating mid-century modern miniatures. In 2013, he started Atomic Miniature. Following in the footsteps of his favorite designers, Charles and Ray Eames, Eero Saarinen, and George Nelson, he strives to match their materials and techniques. He even uses vacuum forming to mold 1:12 scale plastic pieces!

Yurkovic’s current portfolio of work encompasses furniture, accessories, and vignettes that typify mid-century modern and atomic age styles. Recently, Yurkovic collaborated with another artist to create a commissioned replica of Mindy Lahiri’s office from the television show The Mindy Project. Intrigued?! Check out this work in progress and more on the Atomic Miniature Facebook page.

Michael Yurkovic is one of over sixty artists partinciapting in Miniature Masterworks, September 15-17, 2017.

To Build a Better Mousetrap

Mousetrap

One of the earlier works of miniature artist William R. Robertson in T/m’s collection is his simple and beautiful Hepplewhite Mousetrap, created in 1979. Fashioned after a Georgian-era design, the work is comprised of wood and brass. Although it is on display in a separate case in our miniature gallery, it would fit right in to Robertson’s stately miniature Twin Manors.

The mousetrap is slightly smaller than an inch long and consists of 77 individual pieces. Of course, like many of Robertson’s other works, the mousetrap is fully functional. If an extra-tiny mouse (or maybe a small cricket!) were to crawl inside, the arm would unlatch to lower the front gate, trapping an unlucky critter. Since time began, inventers have always sought a way to “invent a better mousetrap.” We think this one really takes the cake, or the cheese as it were.

Inside a Cabinet of Curiosity

Cabinet of Curiosity

Pierre Mourey’s 1:12 scale Antwerp Cabinet is as beautifully decorated on the inside as on the outside. Its two exterior doors unlock to reveal fourteen dovetail-jointed drawers with brass pulls. The front of each of the drawers contains a miniature pastoral scene. The hinged top of the cabinet reveals a secret compartment with two more painted scenes and the letter “M” for Mourey.

Although they came in many different forms, full-scale curiosity cabinets were meant to store objects of fascination and entertainment such as coral, antique coins, and rare gems. Cabinets like these are considered the forerunners of modern museums. The miniature Antwerp Cabinet is on display in the museum’s Masterpiece Gallery, which is kind of like our own cabinet of curiosity.

A Cabinet of Curiosity

Antwerp Cabinet

The bold and ornate details on the outside of the 1:12 scale Antwerp cabinet really make a statement. Created by artist Pierre Mourey in 1999, the leggy cabinet was inspired by 17th-century Dutch cabinets of curiosities. Traditionally, these cabinets were adorned with exotic materials like tortoise shell, ebony, and mother of pearl.

Mourey, however, had to figure out a way to emulate in miniature not only the style of the cabinet, but also the fine embellishments. Reverse-painted red acetate (the kind of material eyeglass frames are made of) was used to resemble tortoise shell. Although it’s made of walnut, the cabinet has been ebonized, or treated with a special chemical mixture to give it the look of dark ebony wood. Stay tuned; we’ll reveal the cabinet’s equally stunning interior soon!

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