INTRO: Miniatures at the Philadelphia Flower Show

Each year, the Philadelphia Convention Center is transformed into a garden paradise when the International Philadelphia Flower Show (which everyone here calls simply the Flower Show) opens. During the show, which runs for a week in March, you will find dozens of people in line each day waiting for a chance to see the display of scale miniature gardens. I will be documenting my entry in this year’s miniature setting display.

The theme this year is “Hawaii”  which should be easy to do, or so you might think. There are indoor settings and outdoor setting, 6 of each. I “volunteered” to do an indoor setting because everyone else, dreaming of palm trees and orchids I guess, wanted the outdoor category. I did an outdoor setting last year (see Jules Verne’s garden here or see a few of the images below) but an indoor room is particularly challenging for Hawaii. All the spectacular concepts I could conjure (crashing waves on pristine seashores, lava-spewing volcanos with shocking green plants contrasted with the black ground) are outdoor ones. And who wants to be indoors in Hawaii???

So I thought of something we did indoors when we visited Hawaii and the idea of creating a miniature version of some of the rooms in the Bishop Museum in Honolulu came to me. I was most interested in the exhibits on ancient Hawaiian culture (I am an anthropologist, by the way, and have worked in a museum) and while the Bishop Museum has recently renovated its exhibits, I thought I could focus on topics I was interested in rather than on replicating the actual museum. So, I will be creating a few rooms of a (fictitious) museum of Hawaiian Culture, with a focus on plant lore and mythology.

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3 comments

  1. A few years ago I assisted 2 women from a garden club who were making a mini scene at the Flower Show. They knew nothing about miniatures & scale, so I helped them with that. Then they needed a pinata, mexican bowls and some food for their “fiesta scene”. I made the items from FIMO. I’d love to do a scene myself, but it is too big a challenge. Good luck!

    • Thanks, Susan, for the encouragement. I imagine I will have FIMO permanently stuck under my fingernails for months after I am done making the museum artifacts from it.

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