This is my favorite writing assignment I ever got from Andrew Mason, a weird, funny guy who allowed me to make a living being a weird, funny guy:
The following are never-before-printed responses from Andrew Mason to Fortune Magazine on the subject of Miniature Dollhouses:
You’re a 29 year-old Internet entrepreneur who majored in music. Not the stereotypical miniatures collector. How did you first get passionate about miniatures in general, and dollhouse miniatures in particular?
First we should clarify for the uninitiated. When I say “miniature dollhouses,” I’m not being redundant about the size of regular dollhouses, which are already relatively small. I’m kind of a stickler in that I feel that “true” miniature dollhouses must be small enough to represent a dollhouse *inside* a dollhouse. I first became an MDH-head on a 6th grade field trip to the fabled Wisconsin oddities museum, The House on The Rock. Their Dollhouse Room is a vital pilgrimage for anyone even remotely interested in handcrafted Victorians. When I saw that the little plates had real little silverware on them, I realized that there was a whole tiny, secret world out there, just waiting to be explored.
How many miniature dollhouses do you own? Where do you store them? Are they kept on display? Are visitors allowed to touch?
A lot of the collection is still at my parents place since they’re so precarious to move. Like most serious miniaturists, most of it stays in private climate-controlled storage, but I rotate my in-house exhibition seasonally, with the occasional holiday flourish. I just commissioned these amazing chroma-shifting fiber optic Christmas lights that are like the size of pin pricks. I recruited one of our development interns to try to synch them to “Carol of the Bells,” so finger’s crossed it’ll be ready before New Years.
What is the most money you’ve ever spent on a miniature? What was it, and how did you acquire it? (got a photo?)
That would definitely be my hand-lacquered Huanghuali ornamental mediation bench I picked up at auction last year as an early B-day present to myself. Supposedly, they had to scale it with a microscope. I’m also, a huge fan of any moving component. Janusz Knopff carves these titanium-weighted windmill blades that will spin for days on their own gravity if you prime them a little nudge. They’re like six grand each, but I’m looking into it.
Will Groupon be offering a deal for the Chicago International miniatures convention this April? Are you going?
I’m not trying to slam anyone in the scene, but can we all agree it’s gotten really commercial? Plus, if I have to watch that glorified whittler Marlene Wertz smugly accept another Minnie Award for Most Historically Accurate Colonial, I swear I’m going to whip a chifforobe at her temple.
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