February 24, 2008

Miniatures of the Month: Dogs in Miniature

Before the month closes, I wanted to get a post in about some amazing animals you have to see - in miniature, of course.

A dog lover in real life, Dutch miniaturist Dolores van den Akker knew she wanted better pets for her own miniature collection than the ones she’d found.

“I always loved pets and had only the plastic dollhouse pets, which I hated,” she says.

She came up with what any miniaturist would agree is a logical solution: “I started to make my own Yorkie, after that I made my own dog in mini, a Skye Terrier.”

Dolores has since made dozens of realistic dogs that will make any dollhouse seem more like home.
“Dolores’ Miniature Dogs” are available at her website. Additional dogs can be seen at her photo site.

Pets Plus

A miniaturist for eight years, Dolores enjoys making not only the dogs, but has branched out to dog and pet accessories such as leashes and horse saddles, as well as ceramic dishes and cups with animal photos on them.

And then there are the baskets, which seem to have taken on a life of their own. “Dog baskets, cat baskets, food baskets, you name it, I make it, ha-ha.”

The dogs range from tiny Chihuahuas, to giant Saint Bernards, and all sizes in-between. Dolores starts with a wire frame and then builds up the body with clay. It can take from 45 to 80 hours to sculpt the body. After that she applies the wool for fur.

She doesn’t discriminate, either. She also makes cats, other animals like squirrels, and even the tiniest of guinea pigs. The animals average in size from 1 to 6 cm. (3/4” to 2 ¾”). Dogs range in price from 15 euros, up to 125 euros for the largest dogs. She also donates 5 percent of each sale to the world animal shelter.

Dogs and More...

Dolores has found a welcome audience for her life-like animals, which isn’t surprising given her artistic background. Besides working in miniature, she paints life-sized decorative art on walls, specializing, of course, in animals. During the summer, it isn’t unusual for someone to even bring a door over for her to paint cartoon figures on for a child’s room.

So far, Dolores has made dogs in dozens of breeds, either by request or after looking in a dog breed book. She’s made Shepherds, Poodles, a King Charles Spaniel, American Spaniel, Afghan Hounds with silky hair, Borzois, Westies, Bassets, Corgis, and more.

The dogs are realistic, with personalities all their own. Looking at her Beagle, it’s easy to see the charm of the breed that made Uno a winner at the recent Westminster Dog Show. She’s also had the honor of having her Dachshund, and many of her other dogs, on exhibit at the Poppenhuis Museum in the Netherlands.

Besides dogs, Dolores creates cats and even the teeniest of guinea pigs less than 1” in size.

That, of course, is just the beginning. After all, she has many breeds yet to make. She loves trying new sculpts and admits that it can be addicting.

“Everything about it is great,” she says. “You work on the head, you give it eyes, and to see it looking at you is a thrill. When you finish and work on the poses, you can’t stop. You keep on working with them.” #

February 11, 2008

Dachshund Petey from "Searching For A Starry Night" has a new friend!

Petey, the mischievous Dachshund from SEARCHING FOR A STARRY NIGHT made a pal!

Bratwurst, (pictured) is a little older (and much wiser!), so here's hoping goofy Petey learns something.

You can see what the two of them had to "bark" about in today's post at The Diary of a Dachshund blog.

Boy, that dog sure gets around!

February 10, 2008

SEARCHING FOR A STARRY NIGHT - Chapter 1 - Meet Petey!

Chapter One of my upcoming mystery, SEARCHING FOR A STARRY NIGHT, A Miniature Art Mystery - coming in MAY '08 - is now online!

Meet Petey, the mischievous Dachshund who has his nose in everything, including finding the missing mini Van Gogh!

Meet Sam, who thinks the end of summer is ruined, but finds herself immersed in tracking down the missing minature art.

Meet Lita, Sam's bff, who loves writing despite her friend's teasing ("too much like homework," says Sam). When Petey digs up a family curse, Lita is sure she's doomed. Is she?

You can read Chapter 1 at http://www.echelonpress.com/chapters/cv-sfasn-chap1.htm .

***Watch for upcoming contests, prizes and more in the coming weeks! Let the fun begin!

February 04, 2008


I got the word!

My upcoming book, SEARCHING FOR A STARRY NIGHT, A Miniature Art Mystery, will be out in MAY!! Once the book is up on Amazon.com (probably before then), let the pre-ordering begin! The book is being edited now. Stay tuned for updates! Online virtual tours and other events will begin shortly!