Friday, December 4, 2020

My Childhood Dollhouse

Over the summer, I acquired the book Make Art Every Day by Katie Vernon from my local bookshop.
It's a planner of sorts, but focused on one's creative life. While I find that writing is a deeply creative task, I also find it's good to change things up regularly and exercise other parts of the creative brain. I don't usually have a lot of time in a given work day to make art, but this book is a proponent of doing just that. It suggests making art a habit, however short or simple it may be. So I've been taking more nature photos, doing colored pencil sketching, and fiddling with some more haiku, hoping to open up to more creativity. 

A few weeks ago, when I saw my friend Andrea Lani's post on Facebook that she had dug out her childhood dollhouse and was beginning a renovation, a lighting bolt of creative inspiration struck. Never in a million years would I have thought to work on a dollhouse, but already feeling open to creativity, the images she shared sparked something new.

I asked my mom (who lives in the next town over) if she still had my childhood dollhouse in her basement, and lo and behold, she did! It was a terrible mess, kept in a big plastic bag to ward off some of the ravages of time. And everything was topsy turvy. 

I emptied the house, spreading out the tiny furniture and knick knacks to see what was there. With it all, came a flood of memories. There used to be a store that sold miniatures in a town nearby where I grew up, and I went there with my mom on weekends. I'd pick out one item to add to the collection, then go home and rearrange things to make room for the new bit. We also made numerous items, like Care Bear pillows, and tiny bath towels, and a foam bed with silky sheets. She even sewed up a white cloth doll lady with a blue dress. 

I also remember as a child thinking that this house was too small. I'd seen the big, deep, tall dollhouses with lattice-covered front porches and windy staircases. That's what I wanted. This? Well, this was a box with some paint on it. I made do, and as everything does in childhood, eventually the dollhouse fell to the wayside. Then it sat untouched for 35 years in my mother's basement. 

I cleaned the house, wiped off all the dust, and now, I see a blank slate. Some of the items are broken or raggedy, many may not fit the style of how I want to redecorate. I still think the house is most definitely too small and I'm slightly shy to share that I'm playing with a dollhouse, but the lightning bolt has hit. I wanted to add some daily creativity to my life and this project will offer me that. An hour here or there to paint, build, and imagine what could be. Sometimes we don't have a choice in which creative muse speaks to us. So I'm gonna go with it, and trust that this is what I need to get me through the long winter of quarantine ahead. Perhaps along the way I'll find a few surprise packages with my name on them. 

1 comment:

Andrea said...

Hurrah! It's a new trend sweeping the nation! Can't wait to see how the remodel progresses.