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Ten Things I Learned from Alice Zinn that Any Miniature Enthusiast Can Use — Plus a Contest!

 By Joanna Campbell Slan

Label all your storage containers. It makes
locating items so much easier.
Win this basket by Alice Zinn. Go to Joanna’s Facebook page for details.  and click on the GIVEAWAYS icon in bright blue under the BIG picture of Joanna.

Use plastic storage containers. You never know
when there will be water damage. Especially for those of us who live in
Florida, this is a key. It should also cut down on the risk of mold.

Surround yourself with things you love. Find
unique ways to display them, as Alice did with her shelves above the

Collect fascinating containers. Many of Alice’s
most interesting scenes were inspired by boxes or containers that spoke to her,
such as the kabuki theater that began “life” as a household shrine. She’s
stored more containers in her garage, where they wait for her magic touch to
transform them into mini worlds.

Stick to one scale at a time. That said, if you
have an interesting collection in varying sizes, you might consider creating a
“museum” in which to display these items. Think about it: In a real
museum, you would see full-scale artifacts as well as models of the same. The
sizes of the artifacts might vary, but that wouldn’t be a problem because the
setting around the items is always just one scale!

Eschew miniature snobbery. Some of Alice’s
cutest pieces were found in non-traditional environments. For example, her
Southwestern Storytellers were actually eraser-tips for pencils. Another
storyteller doll was discovered in the gift shop section of a gas station. But
taken together in a miniature Southwestern Museum, their origins don’t matter
one whit.

Hoard cool stuff. (Like you needed permission?
Seriously!) Alice found a tiny jukebox nightlight years ago. It will be a focal
point in her “Piano Man” room.

Embrace verisimilitude. Alice points out that
real denim shrunk to the proper size for miniatures would be the same weight as
silk on our bodies. And that wouldn’t look right. The fabric wouldn’t have
enough heft. So the trick is to find the proper balance between
“realistic” and “real.”

Fall in love and never give up. Alice couldn’t
afford Goebel’s set of three tiny Alice in Wonderful figurines when she first
saw them. Years went by, and she became a successful artist, so when presented
with the chance to buy one of the figures, she did. More time passed, and she
found the two remaining pieces of the set