April 2009
Featured Gallery
of the Month
Texas Tiny Miniatures
of Cheryl Speck
Photos courtesy of
Cheryl Speck
CDHM artisan Cheryl Speck of Texas Tiny Miniatures

Cheryl Speck of Texas Tiny Miniatures proves that not EVERYTHING is bigger in Texas.

"My mascot is a little cactus with a carved face that is at the base of CDHM artisan Cheryl Speck of Texas Tiny MiniaturesEnchanted Rock State Park near Fredericksburg, Texas. Not only does he lift my spirits, he personifies what I hope Texas Tiny will be, a company known for selling unique handcrafted 1:12 scale collectable miniatures and kits with a heavy accent on Texas connections and whimsy," said Cheryl.

Her pieces range from US$1.00 to US$50.00 with speciality pieces somewhat higher. But she will never use the jinxed 1350.

"At my first miniatures show I saw this beautiful little desk and was informed that it was only US$13.50. Since I could certainly afford that I claimed it only to find out that it was US$1,350. I am sure that someone else is enjoying that lovely piece now," she said with a chuckle.

Then the dreaded 1,350 came back to haunt her again via roof tiles.

"I had been diligently working on a house, a kit-bash Mexican stucco called "Mi Casa Azul" for my daughter to enter into the Texas State Fair. I had an hour before the deadline and was down to finishing the 1,350 handmade multi-colored Mexican roof tiles. Running back to the office to grab the glue gun, I returned and in "fast forward" was able to complete the roof. It won a prize and started my daughter on the road to creating miniatures as well.

"After the fair, my daughter retrieved her house and moved with her husband from Texas to California. She called me after a lunch stop to tell me what happens to 1,350 roof tiles hot-glued to a house in a sealed car in the Mojave desert," Cheryl said ruefully.

This classically trained artist was not a miniaturist at heart, but luckily for collectors has changed her mind about the place of miniatures in the world.

"At first I had a hard time resolving my interest in miniatures. However, only the field of miniatures has allowed me to use all my talents, skills and training in a way that satisfies me and does not take up any more space than necessary," she added.

"For most of my life, miniatures would have been the last thing that anyone who knew me would connect me to. Needless to say my family was very surprised when I started working in the field but they have become very supportive. They are also amused by many of my creations," she said.

It all started with an old dollhouse kit her father started building for her niece.

"I got involved in the project and enjoyed it. Around the same time, my five-year-old son surprised me with a request to climb a lighthouse on vacation. When we returned, I started researching dollhouse lighthouse kits. The ones available provided limited options, so I purchased concrete forms and developed my own. The Spark Plug Style light house is almost seven feet tall, over two feet at the base and is on a rolling storage base. The 13-rooms include a lit fireplace that swings back to reveal a secret room with a treasure and a mummy, a wardrobe that opens to find the lit lamppost into Narnia and a boat dock with an octopus named 'Old Toby'," she said.

With such a vivid imagination it's easy to see how most of the world inspires her - in particular the Central/South American artists who create tiles, textiles, paintings and sculpture.

"I am developing a base line around what I have classified as Texas styles: Cowboy Chic, Cowboy Campy, San Antonio Spanish and 'Olla Podrida' which roughly translates as mixed pot of possibilities. Olla Podrida will contain my free form and specialty styles. In the coming year I will be going back heavily into the San Antonio Spanish line with more tile constructions and more Texas landscape paintings and sculptural elements," she said.

She started teaching classes shortly after the state fair win with a fifth grade dollhouse club. Her local school had fallen on hard economic times and she believed miniatures could help some of the struggling students.

"I had read about a psychologist using dollhouses in her work with children. She said that in today's world our children have no control over their lives and the houses to allow them to develop control over a happy environment," she explained.

The dollhouse club was a success and she has continued to share the hobby in different workshops.

"My belief is that a new hobby should be affordable, adaptable, designed to easily achieve a successful result and introduce a variety of new skills. Crafts and the arts have always been an important part of my life and my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree has given me multi-disciplinary training and flexibility," she said.

In addition to teaching, her cookie-sheet worktables are filled with commissions and projects.

"My workshop is not very glamorous! Most of my work is done in a big Mission chair in the den so I can keep my family company. Usually I have a dozen cookie sheets cantilevered on the shelves around my chair filled with projects and a variety of boxes and baskets around my little nest filled with my current supplies," she said.

"On my list of current commissions is an Elvis painting on velvet for a miniature motor home, a bottle of mescal (agave liquor with worm) and an illegal plant for a 60's vignette," she added.

In addition to CDHM, she is a member of The Downsizers of Dallas, Society of American Miniaturists (SAM-Texas), Etsy and the International Guild of Miniature Artisans, Ltd. (IGMA).

Her pieces will be featured at The Texas Miniature Showcase, May 1-2, 2009 as well as her CDHM gallery.

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CDHM artisan Cheryl Speck of Texas Tiny Miniatures
CDHM artisan Cheryl Speck of Texas Tiny Miniatures
CDHM artisan Cheryl Speck of Texas Tiny Miniatures
CDHM artisan Cheryl Speck of Texas Tiny Miniatures
CDHM artisan Cheryl Speck of Texas Tiny Miniatures

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