TRICKS OF THE TRADE
1. Whenever you come across old silk ties or apparel at thrift stores, buy them. Today's silk shirt is tomorrow's chair upholstery; a patterned silk tie can be cut apart and sewn into pillow covers.
2. Want a custom wallpaper? Reduce an actual paper to the desired scale on the computer.
3. Never use hot glue, it's too thick. Use Roo glue, which is made for miniatures; Ultimate Glue for upholstery and wood glue for wood are also recommended.
4. To make a fountain's waterfall, take a thin piece of cellophane and glue one end to the fountain's spout and the other to the base (wherever the waterfall will end). Using a toothpick, guide a drop of epoxy glue down the strip until the "water" has dribbled the length of the cellophane strip. Let set, and it will give the illusion of water when dry.
Source: Janie Galloway
Janie Galloway was downsizing long before it became the buzzword applied to baby boomers' lifestyles.
Galloway is a miniaturist whose specialty is creating tiny room boxes, or vignettes, that mimic actual locations. Rooms from her own home, the White House, even the Palace of Versailles are replicated in diminutive detail within lit display cases throughout her home.
The Hixson resident says her talent is a natural carry-over from her "real-world" career.
"I'm an interior decorator. I design draperies, so I know the construction for them; I know how to upholster. And I love to gold leaf," she says. "I try to get the detail as close to the actual room as I can."
"Janie has a wonderful way of decorating," says Jane Payne of Augusta, Ga., a miniaturist who is retired from federal service. "She's better at color and putting things together in a pleasing way than anyone else I know.
"One of the things she does so well is using miniatures as part of her decorating in her house. You may see a lovely setting that's a miniature on a table top or hidden back in a bookcase. There are surprises around every corner."
Transferring big ideas to quarter-inch scale is tedious work done with X-acto knives, tweezers and needle-nose pliers. What many would consider a sanity test, Galloway says she finds relaxing.
"This has been my love. It nourishes my soul. That may sound crazy, but it's my passion. I have met so many wonderful people and artists," says Galloway.
This self-taught hobbyist has developed her skills over 30 years to the point that she is now a sought-after facilitator at regional and national meetings of miniaturists, especially for her talent in creating draperies from scratch.
"She's pretty well-known, especially in Tennessee and the Southeast area," says Renee Derra, owner of the Miniature Cottage in Nashville.
Derra says she and Galloway have traveled together to miniature events in England and across Europe.
"She is an interior decorator in miniature scale. She has a good eye for decorating," says Derra.
Galloway, who has won four blue ribbons for her designs, is a member of the National Association of Miniature Enthusiasts. She has taught off and on at its regional meetings and annual conventions since the 1980s. She will miss this year's convention, she says, in order to lead a workshop on a miniaturist's fall cruise to Alaska.
She is already booked for the 2014 National Association of Miniature Enthusiasts convention, and she also has been tapped to help furnish 30 miniature Tuscan villas, which will be banquet centerpieces for the "Touring Tuscany" gathering. She will also teach a drapery class.
While hedging on the expense of her hobby, she admits that she once spent $350 on a 5-inch rolltop desk that she had coveted for quite some time.
"It was by a French artist whose miniature furniture starts at $1,000. That desk came on eBay for $350 three years ago and that was my Christmas present to myself -- then I had to build a room to showcase it," she laughs.
Susan Palmer Pierce is a reporter and columnist in the Life department. She began her journalism career as a summer employee 1972 for the News Free Press, typing bridal announcements and photo captions. She became a full-time employee in 1980, working her way up to feature writer, then special sections editor, then Lifestyle editor in 1995 until the merge of the NFP and Times in 1999. She was honored with the 2007 Chattanooga Woman of ...