We are delighted to have a future exhibitor in Miniature Settings, Hillary Lee, writing this blog about her experience in trying her hand at designing an exhibit. Her enthusiasm for this project really makes us look forward to her future exhibits. This year she is trying her hand at designing a miniature set for the movie The Music Man. Here is her description of the process and some sketches she used to get started.

Miniatures and plants—what’s not to like!? Miniature Settings has always been my favorite part of the Flower Show. Of course I recognized the craftsmanship that went into the remarkable little scenes as I stared into the viewing windows; I just didn’t fully grasp the amount of craftsmanship involved. As I read through the blogs on what creating a Miniature Setting entailed, it became abundantly clear that there was a learning curve for successful exhibiting. Knowing I’d be an exhibitor in the future, I figured, why not accomplish some of that requisite learning now, go through the process, as if I were exhibiting this February? Nothing like a deadline, but where to start? So I dove in, picked a beloved classic movie (The Music Man), got out graph paper and pencil, and waited for the magical moment the direction of my setting would form in my imagination. It turned into a long wait!
When I first described my idea to Louise, her question was, “Is it iconic?” I realized that I would have to make it iconic with props (a cornet in a music case, the “Piano Lessons Given” sign in the window, etc.). Without any architectural drawings to build from, I had to study “screen shots” of the movie (taken on my I-phone) and make conjectures. After several depressing attempts to replicate the Paroo’s porch (in 1:12 scale), I recruited my husband (an engineer) to make me a CAD plan of the footprint. Very interesting. The set designers took some major architectural liberties with the construction to create suitable backgrounds for the camera shots. Like an Escher drawing, there are impossible aspects of the Paroo house. Oh well, they made it work for their purposes; I will make it work for mine.
I decided to do the mock-up in poster board, and save my gator board for the final construction. Easy as it is to cut a shape out of paper, it only works when you have a correct shape. The columns on the porch were so over-the-top ornate that it probably took me as long to draft the silhouette of one as it took for the lathe operator to carve one! Now comes the challenge. My columns are two dimensional paper cut outs; I need solid columns. Time to seek Ron’s expertise in mold-making. Stay posted for my 3D modeling experience.

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