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Small Stories: Dream House

May 21, 2016 - January 22, 2017

The Dream House installation is the finale of Small Stories: At Home in a Dollhouse, featuring a variety of imaginative and finely crafted rooms by American artists, designers, and architects. These twenty four unique rooms were commissioned by the Museum to showcase a diverse array of perspectives, demonstrating the limitless creativity of building in miniature. Visitors will see designs that are instantly familiar, completely fanciful, and even slightly eerie. Some were made using traditional furnishings, others from materials such as clay, insects, 3D-printing, and even Peeps marshmallow candies!

Together as one Dream House, the rooms bring dollhouse construction up to the present in fascinating new ways.

Dream Rooms are available for purchase at the close of the exhibition, which supports the Museum’s educational mission and programming.

Contributing Artists

Bridget Sue Lambert KUBE Architecture PC
Cuddles and Rage L. Delaney
Daisy Tainton Louise Krasniewicz
Debbie and Mike Schramer Marshall Moya Designs
Eileen Doughty Mars Tokyo Designs
J. Ford Huffman The Mouse Market
Jill Orlov Nix + Gerber Studio
Kendall Dorman, Wiebenson & Dorman Architects PC Olvia Demetriou, FAIA
Paige Hathaway Resource Furniture and Ollie
Paris Renfroe, PRD Miniatures Samuel C. Miller III
Patrick J. Baglino, Jr., ASID Sushmita Mazumdar
Rebecca Heaton and Suzan Maher Wendy Evans Joseph and Fleet Hower

Small Stories: Dream Rooms

Dream Room Artist Statements


Reverie of the Stars

Mars Tokyo Designs
Baltimore, Maryland

In my dream room, Reverie of the Stars, I chose to highlight two pieces from past series of my work. The walls are covered with one of my “Coastline” paintings-- the coastline of Turkey, to be specific. I cut the painting into pieces that would fit on the walls. The other is from a series of over 200 miniature theaters I created a few years ago. This one, “Teatro della Fantasma,” or the theater of fantasy is standing on stilts to benefit the lighting provided in the ceiling of the box. Inside the theater the figure of an old man walks, as if sleepwalking, between an open window frame and an all seeing eye. Also in the Dream Room stands a bed covered with a blue velvet and diamond coverlet referencing the stars on the walls. In the background stands a card of Our Lady of Lourdes, the Blessed Virgin Mary, mother of all creation; her halo is a diadem of stars. Nearby is an empty chair out of scale with the bed, and a tiny workman who paints the floor. Near the front stands a pedestal topped with a crystal gazing ball used for seeing into the future. From above, a key hangs in mid-air as if to provide answers to the puzzling questions of our dreams. The checkerboard floor adds a graphic element but also recalls a game of chess.

Combining these elements, in the manner that I have, creates a dreamlike air of mystery and foreboding. It is a place both within a dream and without a dream. Are we voyeurs looking in on the dream of another, or are we the dreamers ourselves?


Hideaway

Paige Hathaway
Hyattsville, Maryland

I wish that I had a room to which only I would have the key. A room apart from the restless, hectic world. A room where I could let my daydreams run rampant and uninterrupted.  A room that would fill me with a sense of possibility and hope and wonder. A room that would inspire me. A room where I could hide away.


Transforming Micro-Micro Apartment

Resource Furniture and Ollie
New York, New York

This micro-micro apartment is an artistic interpretation of an actual apartment in Carmel Place, a new micro-apartment building in New York City. Featuring transforming furnishings from Resource Furniture and an all-inclusive living experience from Ollie™, this apartment shape-shifts throughout the day, allowing the tiny little occupant to seamlessly move from sleep to work to entertainment without missing a beat.
Carmel Place was built by Monadnock Development and designed by nArchitects.

Resource Furniture is North America’s largest and most comprehensive source for cutting-edge, space-transforming living solutions. For more than 15 years Resource Furniture has offered the finest technologically innovative, space-saving and sustainable products available in the world. Showrooms in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal and Mexico City.

Ollie, a micro-housing and co-living specialist platform, is pioneering housing solutions for renters in urban markets.  The company owns, designs, markets and manages innovative rental properties under the Ollie brand in partnership with leading institutional real estate investors and developers.  Ollie’s “all-inclusive living experience” combines thoughtfully appointed furnished micro-studios and co-living suites with extraordinary lifestyle-relevant services, abundant amenities and unique community engagement activities. 3D printing by Georgia Tech School of Architecture.

 
Should All Dreams Come True

Eileen Doughty
Vienna, Virginia

“Canopy bed” was the first thing to pop into my head when asked to create a Dream Room – that is, a tree canopy bed. Perhaps not surprising, as trees are my favorite subject, whether a forest landscape art quilt, or a teapot set of birch trees constructed entirely of thread.  As a fiber artist, I had plenty of materials right at hand in my stash, and experience in making three-dimensional objects. My signature style of “thread sculpture” worked well for the tree-stump chair and potted plants.

The room evolved into a combination bedroom/playroom of a preteen who likes to draw. The world starts to open up at that age, and children begin to dream about their future – anything is possible. But awareness of bad events comes too. In addition to childhood fears of scary things in the closet and under the bed, there are fledgling fears of real dangers, represented by the tornado, flying saucer, and mushroom cloud. No wonder she has the covers pulled over her head.

Though this is intended to be the bedroom of any child, it became somewhat autobiographical. Astronomy has been a hobby since grade school (ceiling); The Lord of the Rings books remain favorites since 7th grade (on the dresser and nightstand); I worked professionally as a cartographer and married another cartographer (globe on the dresser); my son's drawings are included (reduced versions on desk and closet door); my daughter's artwork publications are also on the desk (she and her boyfriend have a page in the Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream book, cover courtesy Locust Moon Press). If you don't know why Little Nemo is so fitting for this Dream Room, please look him up. The startled rocking horse was made by her boyfriend, Jonathan Tune, an animation artist.

This room honors my grandfather George Duprey, who was a paper mill worker, and an inventive carpenter in retirement. He made two wonderful dollhouses for my sisters and myself. I never cared much for dolls, but the miniature worlds of those dollhouses was endlessly fascinating.

 
Banana Bath

Cuddles and Rage
Elkridge, Maryland

Banana loves waking-up and starting his day off soaking in a cool tub of milk and cereal while devouring a great book. As a single banana living in Snuggle City, he embraces the morning quiet before heading off to a long day at work.

Liz & Jimmy Reed are the husband and wife team behind Cuddles and Rage, a disturbingly cute comic about food and animals. They're best known for their mixed media style, telling stories through both illustrations and sculpted dioramas. Their work has been featured on HelloGiggles, BuzzFeed, and The Huffington Post. Their debut picture book, Sweet Competition, comes out November 2016 with Harper Collins.

Learn more about the artists www.CuddlesAndRage.com.

 
Apartment 6D

Nix + Gerber Studio
Brooklyn, New York

Available now: Charming, self-supporting flat for single occupant in well-established, peaceful neighborhood. Conveniently situated on Level Six, above transit loop, between seed library and downtown community replicator. Features unique plasticated kitchen and dining area, like-new battery bank and recumbent power generator. Cozy sleeping loft connects to spacious, encoded workstation. Vintage 2040’s style throughout! Integrated security system and independent water collection module provided. Original native plant wall maintains average AQI of 4! Fully digital/retinal/voice enabled- continuous monitoring included! Owner must relocate. Won’t last long.

 
The Age of Magic

The Mouse Market
Columbia, Missouri

As a child, I spent countless hours lost in books, and the worlds within those pages were as real to me as the town we lived in. This room is my homage to the magic that shaped my childhood, to my fervent faith in the power of imagination—that, if only I believed hard enough, my toys really would spring to life and tiny worlds would tumble out of my wardrobe, from under my bed, and out of every bookcase. The belief that anything is possible has followed me well into adulthood, fueling the creation of businesses, books, and other projects that initially looked improbable when viewed through a “responsible,” pragmatic lens. So, even if talking sandwiches and wardrobe woodlands are merely a pleasant fiction, my faith in imagination has served me well, urging me to wander outside of the comfortable, mapped-out regions of life and to search for magic… everywhere.

 
Family Reflections

KUBE Architecture PC
Washington, D.C.

Reconnecting with one’s family history has become very important in recent years – understanding our family background and ancestry. Present generations are searching for generations of the past. 

This Dream House room spatially illustrates the structure of genealogy, a 3-dimensional representation of a family tree

Thin white vertical members support acrylic panels representing monitors with images of ancestors, which seem to go on infinitely through the use of mirrors on the vertical faces of the room.  Heavy black structural members hold a stepped pathway where family members experience the space. The living person, weighed down by gravity, is limited to the walkway, while the images and memories of loved ones, sit much more lightly in the space – almost floating.  The room becomes a living memorial, unifying the past generations with the present through shadow, light and reflection.

 
The Exile of Prospero

L. Delaney
Kalamazoo, Michigan

I find my zenith doth depend upon
A most auspicious star, whose influence
If now I court not, but omit, my fortunes
Will ever after droop.
Here cease more questions...
The Tempest (1.2.182-85)

Originally from the great state of Michigan, Lauren now lives and works between New York and that curious bend in the Mississippi---New Orleans.  In 2015, she helped to develop and design a secret museum there, hidden within the passages of New Orleans’ famed parfumerie, le Nez Creux (www.nezcreux.com).  She is giddy as a schoolgirl over the upcoming release of her DIY book with Dover: a frothy concoction of vintage dresses, paper dolls, and improbable locales.  You can follow her adventures at www.ladydelaney.com, Facebook, and Instagram (@lady__delaney).

 
PEEPS Playing Poker

Rebecca Heaton and Suzan Maher
Montgomery Village/Silver Spring, Maryland

There is often a room in each home where people gather casually to chat and play cards or board games, whether it be the kitchen, den, dining room – wherever.  That is this “dream room”.

Inspired by the famous “Dogs Playing Poker” paintings by Cassius Coolidge, we decided to create the room using five marshmallow bunny Peeps and two marshmallow chick Peeps to represent the dogs.  In this case, we based it on Coolidge’s “A Friend in Need” painting in which the two bull dogs are cheating.  They have their pipes, cigars, beer – all just as in the original painting – except these Poker players are all marshmallow candy.  With the use of lots of balsa wood, wood stain, Sculpey, pipe cleaners, paint, and scraps from around the house, everything was hand-made to match the items in Coolidge’s famous painting – all scaled to the size of the marshmallow Peeps.

Since Coolidge’s painting does not show the entire room, we completed the scene as we imagined it should be by adding baseboard, crown molding, and hand-made wood flooring.  The poker-playing Peeps’ two favorite framed pictures are hanging on the right and left walls.  One is “Hidden Peeps” which won the 2015 Washington Post diorama contest, and the other is the painting on which the room is based.  And of course, what is a proper Poker game without a package of Peeps on the table to share?

Rebecca (Becky) Heaton grew up in Laurel, MD and has spent most of her 66 years in Montgomery County, Maryland.  She and a friend started creating Peeps dioramas six years ago after attending a Peeps exhibit in 2009. Inspired by the creativity that they viewed, they decided to go for the challenge and have twice made semi-finals in the Washington Post annual Peeps Diorama Contest, exhibiting at the Artomatic.  They won the 2015 Grand Prize with “Hidden Peeps” in which a dozen marshmallow bunny Peeps were camouflaged within the woodland cabin scene.  As a result, they were featured on CBS news and, according to a New Yorker magazine article, their diorama “may well raise the conceptual bar on the competition circuit”.  This win also led to their participation in this year’s “Dream House” portion of the Small Stories exhibition. For her day job, Ms. Heaton is a Senior Management Analyst for MIRACORP, Inc. located onsite at the U.S. Department of Energy in Germantown where she is known as “the Peeps lady”. She is married and lives in Montgomery Village, Maryland.                                                               

Suzan Maher, a lifelong artist and recreational crafter, loves to paint, create pottery and craft in a variety of mediums including wood, clay, ceramics and acrylic paints. This diorama work is the first time, however, using marshmallow as the primary medium.  It was challenging turning edible candies into non-edible miniature recreations of the famous Coolidge painting –A Friend in Need.  The bunny Peeps were relatively easy to paint, but the Chick Peeps are such an unusual shape that artistic license was used to redefine their shape with clay to look like the bull dogs in the painting.  But, the Chick candies are there under the clay. Retired from Montgomery County Government in 2012, and living in Silver Spring, the artist spends time with many of her 17 great nieces and nephews and other family members who also like to paint and craft. She comes from a family of artists and crafters, including her mother and two sisters who are both accomplished artists.

 
An Ordinary Evening
Wendy Evans Joseph and Fleet Hower
New York, New York

Do you look under the bed before you go to sleep? Maybe you should look further?

A child is sleeps soundly while surrounded by creatures looming in a crawl space surrounding the bedroom. Tonight is not a special evening. Tonight is an ordinary evening in an ordinary house, in an ordinary bedroom. There is an ordinary bed and an ordinary chair behind an ordinary door. Tonight is an ordinary evening.  In dreams, the child escapes the ordinary.

The model is made of white, laser-sintered nylon. It is printed on an Eos Printer by Shapeways.

 
Gothic Bath

Samuel C. Miller III
Alexandria, Virginia

The original notion of the Gothic Bath was simply of an indoor space where family and friends could take a soak in the grandeur of a gothic setting and sing their songs with natural reverberation.  A happy stained glass window would provide the light.  A house cat would provide a homey touch.

I built the piece from polymer clay, wood and glass.  The figures were based on live studio models and my cat, Annie.

On being challenged to provide a more extensive statement, and after consultation with my friend/poet Mark Barton, I realized the piece I had constructed was really a superposition of temporally diverse and competing background narratives.   Analysis revealed that this Gothic Bath is, in sum, a model of a cat’s box.  To explicate requires a bit of history.

By the 13th century most monks in Britain had come to accept a celibate lifestyle. However, and perhaps in respect for their vocation and their vows of poverty, other sensualities might have been charitably indulged.  An apocryphal Abbot had a dream cell (celia de somnium, L.) constructed on the ruins of an ancient Roman bath using a contemporary gothic design. The Abbot is best known as the patron saint of house cats.

In Victorian times the Abbot’s gothic bath was rediscovered and excavated.  At the urgings of an apocryphal, cat-loving duchess, a British museum reconstructed the Abbot’s Gothic bath, but without the stained glass windows, which had been lost to time.

Schrodinger’s Cat (cir. 1935) commissioned a box containing the Abbot’s Gothic Bath as an escape from her now-famous thought experiments.*   It pleased the cat that her theoretical merowlings could echo through the vaults.  The cat stipulated that the box contain stained glass windows of an art noveau motif, depicting herself, the duchess and the Abbot.

Most importantly, the cat specified that the box have one open wall so that she would not be subjected to being simultaneously alive and dead while taking refuge in the box.

The object presented here in this exhibit is a scale replica of the cat’s box, including a figure of the cat and an anachronistic figure of the duchess, both enjoying the comforts of the Gothic Bath.

www.SammyCWhat.com

* Schrodinger’s Cat was involved in a thought experiment used by theoretical physicists to explain an apparent paradox in the field of quantum mechanics. In the experiment, the cat is both alive and dead inside a closed box with a vile of poison.  The cat’s condition is indeterminate until an observer looks into the box.
 
Fairy Princess Bedroom

Debbie and Mike Schramer
Sandy, Utah

We began creating our nature art in 1987 while living on a small farm in Washington state. We loved gardening and spent most of our time outdoors, so when winters came we missed our gardens and the inspiration they gave us. On our walks, we had collected many different kinds of wildflowers, grasses, wild herbs, leaves, branches and other “treasures” from nature and stored them in the rafters of our garage. We even hung dried hydrangeas from the ceiling in our living room, which created a beautiful garden-like feeling and reminded us of our many hours in our garden.

We felt so inspired by all of our lovely nature gatherings that we began to create little fairy furniture: small chairs, beds, tables and other intricate pieces. Soon, we had quite a menagerie of amazing little creations from natural materials. We began to do art shows and boutiques to sell our unusual pieces. In 1991, “Victoria” magazine published a wonderful article   about our nature art. We received over 800 letters and hundreds of phone calls from excited collectors and from there, our art career with nature really bloomed.

Since that time, our fairy furniture, fairy houses and woodland characters have been featured and sold in many shops, galleries and museums all over the U.S. and in many other countries. Our nature art was exhibited at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore in two of their amazing year-long exhibits and was voted as the 4th favorite work of art out of the 400 artworks in their first inaugural exhibit in 1995. We have since gone on to work in sculpture, painting, collage, film and other mediums as well. But our greatest inspiration comes from the beauty and artistry in nature.
We were excited to have another wonderful event in our art career in July of 2015: our first published book! “Fairy House”, a beautiful and very detailed instructional book on how to create our nature art was an amazing experience to work on. “Fairy House” has already gone into its 3rd printing since it first came out, so we are very grateful for such wonderful success! We are working on our second book about our nature art which will be a beautiful coffee-table book with a fairytale feeling.

The world of nature is beautiful, filled with amazing and intricate design, texture, color and creativity. Each flower, leaf, stone, shell and every other treasure found in nature has the greatest artistry and beauty any artist could ever create. We are moved by this lovely and amazing world and feel blessed to create from it. This vast and beautiful world will never cease to inspire us. We are also inspired by fairytales and the childlike spirit in each of us that gives us the ability to see joy and happiness in life. We hope to share a love of life and a sense of hope in our art that will heal others and bring them a rekindled inspiration of their childlike spirits.

Learn more about the artists www.debbieandmikeschramer.com.

 
Mouseum in a Box

Jill Orlov
Baltimore, Maryland

Remember the original Borrowers movie from 1973? A resourceful family of tiny people lived under the floor boards. This Mouseum in a Box is inspired by that movie. Within the wood stud walls and safely under the electrical wiring, away from the hustle and bustle of the Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood’s Small Stories exhibit, mice have borrowed and scavenged materials to make their own museum. Tall glass enclosures showcase extra small dollhouses young mice played with throughout history. The roofs and staircases come in a variety of classic architectural shapes, just like children's dollhouses. One combines a barrel vaulted roof with a straight run stair and the other combines a gabled roof with a spiral stair.

The Mouse Stories dollhouse exhibit is juxtaposed with ten 1” cube Rooms of Mouse Dreams – half display glorious cheese sculptures while the other half celebrate deconstructed mouse traps reconfigured into modern art.

In the corner, across the terra cotta floor tiles, we peek through a hole in the wall into the National Building Museum’s Great Hall.

 
The Paper Trail

Patrick J. Baglino, Jr., ASID
Washington, D.C.

A Family. Lives defined and documented. Three generations of certificates, clippings, correspondence, diaries, diplomas, emotions, feelings, ledgers, love letters, mementos, photos and remembrances. Treasures irreplaceable. What kind of Paper Trail will you and our forthcoming generations leave?

Patrick is an award-winning interior designer. Learn more about him, his firm, and work: http://pbaglino.com.

 
A Room to Dream

Olvia Demetriou, FAIA
Washington, D.C.

Rung by rung, I climbed to my aerie to await him, to gaze at night sky, to remember daydreams, and to warm myself by the fire without and my fire within. Then, my imagination summoned him.

A lark winged in to sip the wine I spilled. She sang and whistled my passions large while embers glowed and night sky cooled. But I was warmed, then warmer still, then drowsy passion came fulfilled. Or at least I dreamed it.

Stars and moon, lark and ladder, wine and sky, wind and him.Fire and slumber, blue and umber—all of this, within.

 
Time Warp through Coraline’s Door and into Treasure!

Sushmita Mazumdar
Arlington, Virginia

When Sushmita left India to come to the US to marry her sweetheart, she had to tear herself away from a family, a place, a culture, and an identity that had formed over 29 years. As she started her new family in a new culture a new identity started to form. She was now also a wife, and immigrant, a foreigner, and a mom. And then, she was an artist and writer. When her friend asked her why all the stories she writes for her handmade artist’s storybooks were about a girl from India, Sushmita realized that a physical move hardly represents places where the soul resides.

In her Dream Room: Time Warp through Coraline’s Door and into Treasure! Sushmita imagines a place for the unfinished conversations, the constellations of untold stories, and the characters from her life that are lost in time. She dreams of a tiny Coraline’s door of her own that would take her into another world, through a tear in time, where she could meet people like they were “back then” so she could finish the conversations and record the stories from that vast treasure she left behind.

#ru4everhappyyet?
Kendall Dorman, Wiebenson & Dorman Architects PC
Washington, D.C.

Solving the world's problems is an admirable goal - solving a problem for someone of limited means is a loftier goal.  The goal of a dignified shelter for everyone has yet to be achieved no matter how small we make it....although we keep trying with rediscovered old ideas that are rebranded into new ideas with renewed fanfare - clashing together the latest fads, with recycled parts, modern technologies, hype and extremes.  In time these ideas will be refuted and then retired until they are reimagined again with a reinvented name.  We keep trying.

 
The Cupboard Under the Stairs

Louise Krasniewicz
Belmar, New Jersey

Poor Harry Potter had to live with his awful Muggle relatives, the Dursleys. They put him in this cramped cupboard under the stairs until he received his letter from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. For fans of the Harry Potter story, leaving this cupboard was the beginning of Harry’s dream of a better and more exciting life. In my miniature reproductions of scenes from popular movies, I like to depict such moments which can suggest an entire story and the world that generates it. Rather than seeing miniatures as childish playthings, I like to see them as physical models of imaginary worlds that adults as well as children use to experience alternative realities.


#unicornsarereal
Bridget Sue Lambert
Washington, D.C.

My work explores personal interior space and voyeurism.  Using scale, specifically dollhouse miniatures, I create a tableau simulating the emotional and physical clutter surrounding romantic relationships and a woman’s relationship with herself. I imagine, and meticulously construct, vignettes that manipulate the sense of time and space, and allow secret/cinema-graphic moments to unfold while suggesting a living narrative.  Messy rooms, spilled drinks, and strewn clothing echo lust, desire, fear, love, faith, anticipation, and expectation.

I create scenes in which viewers can draw their own conclusions and examine and explore their own experiences.  I strive to inspire joy and desire to give meaning to the stories suggested in each vignette. 

#unicornsarereal is a self-portrait that recreates my personal dream space:  my artist studio. It is an homage to my studio at the Arlington Arts Center, where I recently completed a six-year residency. For an artist, the studio is, at various times or all at once, mystical, challenging, exciting, depressing, and ecstatic.  It is the place to which artists retreat to create, wrestle with inspiration, battle self-doubt, and search for calm. It can be a loving space, or horrible, futile, and frustrating. An artist’s studio is a snapshot of the tumult of magic, creativity, and inspiration battling within her soul, as much as the actual artwork that she creates. I am my studio and my studio is me.

To learn more visit www.bridgetsuelambert.com.

 
My Castle and My Keep

Daisy Tainton
Brooklyn, New York

Daisy Tainton is a former insect preparator and database digitizer at the American Museum of Natural History (13 years working with true bugs in the permanent collections). She currently teaches anthropomorphic insect shadowbox classes at the Morbid Anatomy Museum in Brooklyn while attending graduate school for Library Science at Pratt. This diorama reflects her dreams and hopes for the future, influenced by recent developments and visits to Montsegur, France, where her fiancé lives. He is not, in fact, a beetle. The historic sites there are now under threat by the tourist industry, and Daisy is working on outreach to protect the land and archeological remains in addition to her other work. This is a dream/fantasy room in a place that really occupies every waking moment!

The beetles shown are Chalcosoma atlas beetles from Southeast Asia. The castle doorway is a replica of a Dire Wolf jaw fossil. Can you spot the bumblebee? It was found on a sidewalk, naturally deceased.

 
Rejuvenate

Paris Renfroe, PRD Miniatures
North Las Vegas, Nevada

Bathrooms are not just a place for cleansing the body. They can be an escape, a sanctuary for renewal, or rejuvenation. In this room, the viewer becomes the user, drawn in by the clear, calm blue waters that lie just beyond. They might imagine soaking in the large blue tub for two. Maybe they are relaxing in the chaise lounge contemplating whether or not to take a quick swim. Or taking an extended shower in the indoor/outdoor shower equipped with body jets and oversized rain head. Picture your very own private beach getaway each time you step into your bathroom. As the viewer ponders the possibilities, the ‘Dream’ becomes reality.

 
White House, White Room

J. Ford Huffman
Washington, D.C.

The National Building Museum curator wants to know: Who uses this Dream Room?
The answer: The artist, whose dream is to fill a room – or a blank page or a theater or, in my sculptural work, a box – with objects that stimulate a viewer’s imagination, intrigue a viewer’s thoughts, capture a viewer’s visual attention. The viewer uses this room.

The room is titled White House, White Room.  (I had considered another title – A Woman in the White House – but opted for something apolitical during this election year.)  The mixed-media assemblage borrows – in concept and composition – from architecture, theater and history. The works tries to respect for the host, the venue and the occasion:  the National Building Museum, the Pension Building, and the Dream Rooms section of the Small Stories exhibition. “White House, White Room” is what I call a little theater, a dream stage, art that ArtSee DC describes as "typically playful, sometimes provocative, and always clever little theaters (that) take the viewer on a delightful journey into a tiny, magical world beyond his own.”  Art Registry of D.C. says the little theaters are "sculptures in the form of assemblage shadow boxes . . . Enigmatic, and address the formal elements of art: Line, color and form." Sometimes my works might initially seem whimsical, and that’s all right. I like it when people smile.  The longer a viewer looks at the art, the composition usually begins to communicate something poignant. The works tell or provoke visual stories, visual dramas.

Most of my works are created with found objects, usually vintage or antique and often disregarded.  The works give the objects a second life. Old perceptions and uses change to new ones. Scale often differs.  Spatial quality is paramount. For example, this work includes a miniature White House place inside a White House room. In this work you see wood, paint, fabric, and frames (including one "Made in Germany").  There’s plastic toy furniture marked "Japan," "Ideal" and "USA." The portrait of Florence King Harding, "whose ill-health made it difficult for her to cope with heavy social duties which fell on her during (President Harding’s) administration," is by Mochi and is from a 1950s World Book Encyclopedia volume.  The maps are by Rand McNally map and published in 1935 in Collier's World Atlas And Gazetteer. The thin lines on the paper are 1/2-point and 3/8-point lines from "A Book of Rules" (1983). The miniature house is marked “1996.”

The ArtSee article is here: http://artseedc.tumblr.com/post/44006957870/artist-spotlight-j-ford-huffman
Images of my other work are at www.pbase.com/jfordhufffman/stages

 
Design Meditation Room

Marshall Moya Design
Washington, D.C.

Though the design process represents the freedom of artistic expression, at times working in the design field can become overwhelming and stressful. The dream room we created is a space where one's mind can rest and reflect. A room where one can take a step back, focus in a relaxing atmosphere, sort out the stress and calmly examine the problems that need to be solved in a design.

The room itself is also a source of inspiration; the blank walls and simple furniture allow for a creative's mind to ideate without being distracted by color or unnecessary detail. The open window to a serene garden is there to provide natural light, and our main source of inspiration, which is nature and natural sound and movement. In a dream world, time would stop when one enters the room, giving a sense of calm and peace before stepping back into the fast-paced, hectic world of deadlines and demands.

The materials used for the creation of this dream room are the same materials our studio uses to create our architectural models. Creating and envisioning ideas in white or blue, depending on the material used, helps us design the form and function for our projects. We create several different form studies that lead us to the final, more refined form in an architectural design.

At our studio, we value the role of meditation, fine arts, music and martial arts in our design process. We derive inspiration for our work from all of these places and more, while trying to also keep a healthy head space and build our "design knowledge bank". Our "design knowledge bank" is the term we use to collect ideas and solutions from a variety of sources, adding to the "bank of ideas" that we can then use to create connections, find solutions and derive true inspiration.