There are 68 Thorne Miniature Rooms in the Art Institute's collection (including the French Dining Room pictured above), but we presently have 69 on view with the addition of our German Rococo loan room. It is my pleasure to take care of these rooms, as well as research their history and construction. This has led me to take up making miniatures of my own as a means of practice and to further my knowledge and appreciation of the art of fine miniatures. One of my great opportunities to practice comes once a year in a tiny coastal town in Maine called Castine. A group of miniature artists descends upon this town for Guild School, which is part of the International Guild of Miniature Artisans. I just got back from this weeklong study trip and thought it might be interesting to share some of the things I learned.
But first a view of the town. It’s beautiful here but the trip is all about miniatures…
All kinds of skills are taught, from creating miniature furniture to silver- and other metal-smithing to making plants and even miniature gold fish.
We have the opportunity to work with many amazing miniatures teachers and students from around the world. While I was there, I ran into fellow Chicagoan and artist Mary Grady O’Brian.
Some of you might remember her work as a part of our annual holiday decorations for the Thorne Rooms. She created the little Victorian doll and a bulto (or saint figure) for our New Mexico room.
Here I am studying how to make a miniature basket in a class led by Francine Coyon.
and at the end of the week a hinged lidded basket!
And now learning miniature painting techniques with South African artist Beth Freeman-Kane.
Here is my finished painted bird and landscape from her workshop.
My new skills will be put to the test later this year as we bedeck a new Thorne Miniature Room this year for the holidays. Which will we pick? You'll have to wait and see, but feel free to leave your guesses in the comments!
—Lindsay Mican Morgan, Department Technician, Thorne Rooms
Image Credit: Mrs. James Ward Thorne. French Dining Room of the Periods of Louis XV and Louis XIV, c. 1937. Gift of Mrs. James Ward Thorne.
2 hours 38 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago A kiss under the mistletoe? Plant one on that special somebody and share your glad tidings with fellow art lovers around the world.
Post your photos in the comments or on Twitter and Instagram @artinstitutechi.
8 hours 13 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago Happy birthday to the famous artist and chronicler of Parisian nightlife Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
This poster is said to have launched the career of French can-can dancer Jane Avril, whose alluring and unique stage persona inspired Nicole Kidman’s character in the film Moulin Rouge.
See two rarely exhibited prints of Jane Avril along with several other works by Toulouse-Lautrec in Gallery 242.
11 hours 39 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago FRIDAY–Start the holidays off with a roar at the 24th Annual Wreathing of the Lions.
Warm up with complimentary hot chocolate and enjoy the family festivities. Free and open to the public!