Belfast shop feeds passion for miniatures

By Rosemary Herbert Special to the News, Special to the BDN
Posted Oct. 09, 2008, at 8:45 p.m.

Jamie Lucas never had a doll or a dollhouse as a child. That’s why she was profoundly wowed when, at age 18, she walked into a dollhouse shop for the first time. When she gazed into the dollhouses packed with miniature furniture and dolls, “I guess my ‘little kid’ came out in me,” she recalled recently. Feeling as if she had entered a different, more magical world, she asked herself, “Wow! Where am I?”

Decades later, Jamie still experiences a sense of wonder about this. But now she shares that passion with others in her own store, Jamie’s Miniatures. She also is the organizer of “Jamie’s Miniatures Presents The Third Ever Bewitching Fall Classic Dollhouse Miniatures and Doll Show,” which will be held 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 12, at the Belfast Curling Club, 211 Belmont Ave., in Belfast. Timed to celebrate National Miniatures Month, the event will draw collectors, vendors and craftspeople who share a passion for miniatures.

Located at 139 Searsport Ave. (Route 1) between Belfast and Searsport, Jamie’s Miniatures is filled to the brim with dolls in several sizes and every kind of furniture and accessory needed to furnish homes for those dolls. From doll-sized canopy beds and leather armchairs to tiny cakes and minuscule whoopee pies, the store is the kind of place that amazes even longtime collectors.

The shop has five fully furnished dollhouses and dozens of room boxes. The latter allow a new collector to begin small in the world of miniatures by enjoying the challenge of fully furnishing a single room. Advanced collectors enjoy filling room boxes, too, as is evident by an antique room box that Jamie has on display. It depicts a Parisian hat shop complete with hats, fancy hat boxes and built-in shelves and cabinets with working drawers. Another room box in Jamie’s store houses a bride and groom dancing in a world of their own, while yet another re-creates a Christmas scene.

According to Jamie, the holiday-themed approach to miniatures is “hot” these days, with Halloween beating all holidays “hands down.” And that’s not just the case in October. People spend months and years putting together haunted dollhouses, filled with everything from witches to pumpkins, tiny bats and cobwebs. Such structures may be wired with tiny orange lights, too.

“Men get involved when it comes to wiring,” Jamie said. “A lot of men are the helpers. They’re the builders. They’re the shinglers. They’re the wallpaperers. They’re the wirers. They’re the ones who ask, ‘How do you like that?’” Many construct dollhouses from the kits Jamie sells. The kits come in a large number of styles and even include a lighthouse and lighthouse keeper’s house. Jamie not only carries all the products needed for building and wiring these structures, but she and dollhouse builder Al Giles are ready to offer square-one advice on how to proceed with these projects.

Her typical customer is a mature woman who may be a longtime collector herself or who is setting up a dollhouse for a grandchild. While she does see some young girls who are thrilled with the world of dollhouses, Jamie says she is sad to see that few children pursue the hobby these days. “Girls these days are not into crafts,’ Jamie said. A typical way for a child to furnish a dollhouse is to make some items herself, from clay or by sewing small items such as pillows and tiny quilts.

Jamie enjoys guessing what people will purchase in her shop, and she loves being surprised by their tastes and interests. “Maine is big for lots of people from out of state,” she said. “Anything handcrafted here is in demand, including miniature pottery, tiny quilts and hand-crocheted dolls’ clothes.

The Third Ever Bewitching Fall Classic Dollhouse Miniatures and Doll Show is bound to draw out-of-state enthusiasts and locals alike. Admission is $3, with extra fees for some of the workshops. For information, visit maineminiatures.com.

http://bangordailynews.com/2008/10/09/living/belfast-shop-feeds-passion-for-miniatures/ printed on September 30, 2014