While I am sewing my husband can get a bit bored. So he has started a long term craft project of his own. Nick loves Victorian “toys” and fancied making a butcher’s shop diorama. You can see many of these on the internet and in museums.They were often used as a display item in the butcher’s shop, but now they are highly collectable. A really nice one recently fetched £30,000.
One of the attractions of making something like this is that the style is “naive” rather than realistic, so allows for imperfections. So far Nick has made the casing from a couple of Ikea trays. He has started carving the figures, using lime wood which is fairly hard but can be modelled. He is using Fymo for the hands (and one of the heads that came out a bit small). I have agreed to clothe the little fellows once they are carved and painted. The small butcher lost his arm in a terrible accident. Nick discovered that, when screwed back on, it can now articulate. Ideal for serving the sausages.
Did you spot the Fymo hands on the floor. And the shoes? Last weekend Nick finished a side of beef. Just for fun I made a little apron for the master butcher. As you can imagine I have been given the role of providing outfits for the men, and curtains for the upstairs windows. I will give you an update on dressing the figures once everything has been painted. The pig and turkey made in modelling material have now been discarded in favour of wooden meat articles.
The habit of making small scale models has been popular for ages, not just for children to admire and play with, but also to entertain adults. I made a doll’s house and a green grocers at evening classes in the past. My ex-husband John has a model railway in his garage, while his car is parked in the road. There are dioramas put together with Barbie dolls, and scenes using small stuffed animals too. I am not sure why we find these diminutive worlds so compelling but I love them.
Almost every day now I inspect the shop and find something new has arrived. Like five perfect little flower pots, and then this weekend the whole thing was encased in an old picture frame and mounted on the wall.
The evolving scene, made in wood, is so interesting, it almost seems a shame to paint it. I will update you when it is a bit further along. Have you ever made a dolls house or shop?