Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Tudor Dollshouse, Part I

When I returned to the dollshouse hobby a couple of years ago, I had it firmly in my mind to recreate a  Tudor interior.  I had discovered a perfect source for much of the furniture at Ashwood Designs and had a long history of Tudor fascination dating from a childhood reading of Mark Twain's The Prince and the Pauper.

As with my storytelling endeavours, I found the research to be one of the most rewarding aspects of the whole project.  I watched films, read books -- shelves of books! -- and studied every aspect of  sixteenth and seventeenth century English life.

Little boxes filled with dark wooden furniture started to appear.  Then tiny, exquisite people made of porcelain.  A friend visiting from Canada was set to work carving vast amounts of miniature wooden beams.  I experimented with various  masonry techniques -- did I mention that I am a horrible perfectionist?  I was never satisfied, and kept trying new approaches for fireplaces and floors.  It began to look as though I would never be able to actually finish the dollshouse as the "means" had so overtaken the "end" in my mind.

(Funny how the whole enterprise became a microcosm of my problems with writing stories.  I second guess everything!  One step forward and three steps back is my basic formula.  You would think that something as inconsequential as a dollshouse would at least give me a break from that awful voice in my head.)

Working on the house was fun, but it was also a bit stressful.  I am not an artisan, after all, and I think my vision of what I wanted stretched a bit beyond what I could realistically achieve.  Still, I loved trying.  (Even when it started to get expensive and I wondered if I might not have been better off paying someone else to do the whole thing.)

I am learning more about myself with each week that goes by.  I think I need to have an ongoing project to think about, to work on.  I love the problem-solving part of it even when the problems do not get solved!  (Downstairs Floor, Third Version comes to mind.  But somehow I just know that Downstairs Floor, Fourth Version is going to be better!)

You know, I really did not want to write about Multiple Sclerosis in this blog at all, wishing more than anything to escape the reality of it at least here.  But here's the thing:  it's all connected.  My life has shrunk to a fraction of what it once was, as I can no longer move about freely and can no longer make too many long-range plans.  So the dollshouse, with its tiny battles and tiny victories is just what I need to keep going in the larger struggle.  There are few (if any) victories with M.S. and I have to live with that.

But maybe I can still make something of my own, something that says I was here.

And if Floor Number Four does not work out, there will just have to be Floor Number Five.

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