Finally, the Old Blue Barn goes electric, thanks to Ikea and their LED bookcase lights.
Move the chairs and tables, there might be dancing.ย 
For some reason, I’ve been a compartmentalizing doll houser. My two houses are irony free, I’ve
separated my art world from my hobby almost completely. They’re little fantasies of the ideal attic studio, and the cafe stacked with the cakes and pies I seldom ever eat. They’re aspirational, for things I only partly aspire to: no one would ever trust me with food service in the real world.

I’ve had moments of disappointment in myself after seeing the astounding work of artists, (Do Ho Suh, Charles Matton, Adam Makarenko),ย who work in miniature, not doll houses, but dioramas and animation and sculptures and vitrines. I fear that I should have allowed myself to melt my hobby with my artwork when I was younger. Why had I made distinctions back then? Who was I trying to convince, or impress? But ultimately, the fact is, I didn’t. I indulged other aspects of my world. I went towards the microscopic instead. And the size of things just underfoot.
ย That’s just the way it is. So my hobby remains my hobby, and that’s fine. It’s a place of pure play instead. And pure play is a rare thing nowadays.


  1. June 2, 2012 at 4:56 pm Daydreamer

    Oh, Amy!
    Such JOY should have no Definitions!
    No “Art” and “NOT-Art”! No Boundaries or compartments to keep them apart! But I Understand…. and do the same… somehow keeping the Play for myself… not letting myself Call it “Art”!
    That is where we are Fools…. or led astray… because Really…. it is ALL “Art”! EVERY Creative act is “Art”! And the more Play-ful or Fun or LOVED …. the Better!
    I am ENCHANTED to see your Studio again! THIS time with LIGHTING!!!!
    I think it makes it so much More REAL…. easier to get lost in that Dream…..! And why NOT? Your Tiny studio is filled with your Art on a Tiny scale…(Have I mentioned that I want a “mini-scale” Amy Orb for my dollhouse…? I even have the tiny bell-jar….!)
    And the fact that one would not hire you as a waitress does not for a minute lessen the appeal of your Perfect Little Cafe!!! What is Really Important is the JOY that it gives…. to ourselves and to others!
    And your Little Blue Barn Studio and Cafe give ME Great JOY!!!!

  2. June 4, 2012 at 3:04 am Daydreamer

    Amy, This Old Barn is Truly Lovely.
    The electricity makes it even more special!
    When I look at all the amazing details here….. there is something So Familiar….. It feels like coming Home!
    (I keep coming back for another visit!)

  3. June 4, 2012 at 2:12 pm Amy

    Betsy, I know you’re right, I always listen to other voices with at least one of my ears. I think it was because I wasn’t sure what kind of artist I wanted to be when I was in art school, though I maintain that no one should know at that age, and kept my hobby separate because it seemed too feminine at the time of the Riot Grlzz and too much about my childhood, which I was trying to distance myself from. Joy was something I thought would make me seem less serious, and less worth taking seriously. But thankfully, at some point, I started thinking, oh come on, what the heck, have some fun. And it has been fun, which you know all about to a profound degree. I have such a good time witnessing your creative process that it just multiplies the value of all of this!

    And thank you, my Electricity Guru! I took the easy way, with bookshelf lights, but my inspiration is one hundred percent you. The lights in your houses, (and now, tree) makes the intimacy much more convincing, makes me look even closer.

  4. June 4, 2012 at 3:30 pm Anonymous

    This is amazing!! Just followed a link from etsy – so glad I did! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. June 4, 2012 at 3:40 pm Amy

    Thank you for stopping by-I’m happy you did!

  6. June 4, 2012 at 3:47 pm Martin Lane Designs

    Wow – this barn is simply amazing! I have an old dollhouse that my grandfather made for me when I was a child. I’ve been toying with the idea of restoring it to it’s original glory and beyond to pass down to my daughter one day. Your creations definitely inspire me to do so!

  7. June 4, 2012 at 3:51 pm Martin Lane Designs

    Wow. I want to live in this barnhouse – it is spectacular. I have an old dollhouse that my grandfather built for me as a child that has been sitting in my parent’s attic. I’ve been toying with the idea of restoring it to pass down to my daughter and you have definitely inspired me to do so. Do you have any favorite sources that you get your pieces from?

  8. June 4, 2012 at 4:07 pm Amy

    Thank you so much! If you can restore your Grandfather’s dollhouse, it would be such a beautiful gift to your daughter. My Dad and I built a doll house together when I was a little girl. We had always painted side by side, but this was more special because it was something that he did just for me, and just with me. It meant the world to me…

  9. June 4, 2012 at 8:58 pm Amy

    Hi again, Martin-I was lucky enough to live near a doll house store, but it just went out of business. I do make some of the easier furniture, like the bookshelves and cafe tables and work tables and shelves, things that involves right angles. But the internet is a good source, Etsy has some amazing miniaturists, ebay mixes vintage pieces with newer things, http://www.the-doll-house-cafe.com, (they even have fake snow)…

  10. June 5, 2012 at 11:08 am poetryofobjects

    I’ve just learned of your work! This is just stunning!

  11. June 5, 2012 at 2:09 pm Amy

    Thank you! Your blog is beautiful…

  12. June 5, 2012 at 4:43 pm Sandi ~ Love From Cape Cod ~ etsy

    oh. my. god. Where have I been?… I have JUST discovered your wonderful blog THIS minute (from the ‘Get the Look Decor’ section of etsy today. (I love your design style … well…it reflects mine, so why not?) ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you, Thank you, Thank you Amy… your blog is abSOULutely GORGEOUS!!! Wow. with Love From Cape Cod…. Sandi

  13. June 5, 2012 at 5:18 pm Amy

    Hi Sandi! Thank you so so much for stopping by, I’m so glad I did, because I got a chance to see your Beautiful hand painted stones, they are wonderful. Etsy has opened my own world to the most outstanding and creative people. And hello to Cape Cod. My entire family has such love for Massachusetts, Cape Cod being my brother’s first vacation, my second. I learned to walk on Cape Ann, and we went every year, sometimes in the spring, sometimes in the summer, sometimes when the leaves were changing. You live in an extraordinary place, Sandi.

  14. June 6, 2012 at 1:10 am Rachel

    Wow! Now thats a doll house ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. June 6, 2012 at 1:33 pm Sandi ~ Love From Cape Cod ~ etsy

    and a big, warm hello right back to you Amy! ๐Ÿ™‚ How wonderful that you have been to this little corner of Paradise here… Cape Cod… where I still give thanks every single day for the blessing of being able to live here. I hope one day you will return… perhaps one day we’ll meet. And.. thank for your visiting my etsy shop and for your kind words… with Love From Cape Cod…. xoxox Sandi

  16. June 6, 2012 at 1:50 pm Amy

    Thank you Rachel–your artwork and jewelry are absolutely lovely.

    Sandi, it was my pleasure!

  17. June 6, 2012 at 6:15 pm Patty

    Amy, Your design style is so fascinating! Everything just flows perfectly. I love the lighting in the barn! It came out wonderful. Are the lights battery operated? They look great.

    What is your next miniature project? I can’t get enough of looking at what you create!

  18. June 7, 2012 at 5:49 am Sans!

    I just love this post. Thank you, Amy for sharing your personal thoughts on hobby vs art. In a way, I am struggling with that as well. Bets, if you are reading this, thank you! For putting in words so succinctly what I have been trying to make sense of, these past few years. Life shouldn’t be so complicated right?

    I love everything about your dollhouse, Amy. I thought I loved the Little Red House more until I saw this one with lights. I am not so sure now but they both ranked way up there in my list of favourite dollhouses :).

    By the way, we both used the same lighting from Ikea :):) Did you just lay 1 on the top level? I used 4 of them. I had a hard time trying to hide the fittings from plain sight :).

  19. June 9, 2012 at 2:06 am Amy

    Hi Patty! I’m a bit behind on my commenting-thank you! The lights are LED bookcase lighting from Ikea, and they plug in. They come in a grouping of four, but you can chose how many you need. It’s a great alternative for people like me, who can’t figure out the whole wiring thing.

    The next thing-to figure out how to hide the wires!

    Sans, the lights change everything just enough. I think I’ll find some battery powered lamps for extra intimacy, and if I ever set up the red house again, I’ll use them in there too-right now it’s a space issue that keeps it up on a shelf. Yes, about Ikea, bless them! I only used two, and hid the strip behind the beams, thankfully it’s a rustic old barn. I’m still working on the wires once they’re outside the barn – might hide them in a new little building I found that may become the bathrooms. I’m pretty sure my not providing facilities for cafe customers is a health code violation.

  20. June 11, 2012 at 11:22 am Shalini

    The details are simply astounding. I can’t get over how much there is to see and wow, how much time you must have spent on getting it to look so perfect.

  21. November 18, 2012 at 5:31 pm otterine

    One of my blog readers sent me over after I announced my new artist studio project in miniature. I love what you’ve done here…wonderful details! ๐Ÿ˜€

  22. November 19, 2012 at 3:59 pm Amy

    Thank you so much! Seeing the skill and artfulness that you bring to your own miniature projects, you should make a masterful art studio. It will be so much fun, and never-ending! For mysterious reasons, the studio keeps changing, more than any other of my rooms, like you’re meant to move the easels around and pin up new artwork, just as in real life. Have the best time ever – I love the easel you blogged about.

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