As the nation celebrates its birthday, I am taken back to one of my favorite years-1976! The Bicentennial was a very important year for all kinds of handcrafts and especially the art of scale miniatures. Dollhouses and the myriad of items that go with them were at one of the first peaks in their history. There were miniatures available at all kinds of places from the major catalogs which many of us remember as “Wishbooks” to roadside venues such as Nickerson Farms…I remember traveling with my family and looking at the rows of little things displayed at my eye level…all temptations for a young boy with a limited spending capacity. 1976 saw several publications in operation but it was also the year for The Scale Cabinetmaker to make its debut. October 1976 saw Volume 1: Number 1 of TSC. From the very beginning, a reader could tell this was a different kind of animal. With a kind and knowledgeable voice came an introduction from Jim Dorsett about the issue of “Scale”. The magazine featured how to directives for a number of different projects. From the early ideas of what would become known as “kitbashing” to the first of three articles to build a reproduction 1:12 model of a Connecticut Colonial house called the Whitman House; the journal for the miniaturist offered something for a number of different types of hobbyists. Helen Dorsett who had started her creation of miniature furniture in 1964 in my hometown of Columbia, Missouri was also an important contributor to the magazine.
Combined, the Dorsett family diligently strove to explain, demonstrate and encourage others to make scale miniatures. The Dorsetts felt that anyone could learn how to build and create scale miniatures. Early contributors to the magazine went on to become known for their work in the hobby. TSC became an important resource for the exacting craftsperson and for those who wanted authenticity in joinery and skills in building and creating their own pieces from scratch. I was exposed to the magazine about 30 years ago by one of my mentors Cindy Malon. I treasure the dog-eared copies that have her notes on them. As I grew as a miniaturist, I became an even more ardent reader of TSC. Every time I go back to re-read an issue; I learn something new. It is still the ultimate go-to guide for learning how to use tools and build your own scale items. I am a firm believer that the more the things change the more things stay the same. Solid information and knowledge will always serve the miniaturist, so why not give an issue a try and see what you can learn?
Happy Fourth of July and Happy Creating!