Miniature Scenes and More by The Ashley Palmer Project
Going to Michael’s in NJ and wandering around the dollhouse section while my mom was shopping for something else. I just remember thinking they were the coolest things and throwing fits because my parents wouldn’t let me have one.
How did you first get started making bespoke miniature gardens?
It actually all started because I needed more space. I have this tiny Brooklyn apartment with all these plants and a few years ago I built this miniature backyard (because I don’t have a real one!) but then had nowhere to put it. I decided to combine the mini yard with a planter I had and it made me so happy that I started making ones for other people based on their personalities. Friends had previously asked me what they could grow at their desk so I decided to use low light plants so people can enjoy them at their office, that’s why I started calling them deskscapes.
What other services do you offer?
I host Plant Party workshops, this is a service tailored to participants’ needs – I show up wherever and do potting and design demos. I also have the Art in the Garden event, which is various art activities in inner-city gardens to expose people to nature in an interesting way. This spring, I will start running a hat making with plants workshops. My background is in accessory design, so I’m excited to combine the two worlds.
Do you remember the very first miniature scene you ever made?
When I was about 6 or 7, I made a shadowbox of my bedroom. I had left over carpet scraps and paint from my full size bedroom and I used it in the scene, it was fantastic.
First, I get information about what space and light the person has along with budget.
Next, I ask about hobbies and if they’d like something specific or if I can just run with what their hobby is.
I do sketches and share with the client, then once they’re happy I go for it.
What is the most challenging aspect of your work with small scale props and miniature scenes?
Finding what I’d like in the right scale. That’s a fun challenge though, I’ve met some great miniaturists that I’ve commissioned to make me things that I can’t find on the market and that’s been a pleasure.
What advice would you give to new artists?
Plan ahead with measurements and layouts, it sounds obvious but I get excited and tend to buy too much for a scene. I need to get better at laying it all out on paper first, just because things technically fit doesn’t mean it won’t look like a cluttered mess!
Do you collect any miniatures yourself?
I do collect, but I’m short on space so I can’t keep much though. My favorite is a Festivus pole I commissioned to sell but I kept one for myself.
Favorite scene you have made?
The Therapist’s Couch that I made is my favorite scene. It’s a faux leather couch with a mini Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams on it.
I’m inspired by people’s personalities, I like talking to someone and figuring out what deskscape will make them smile. It makes me so happy and keeps me going.
What is the most memorable miniature you have ever seen?
In Denver, there is a miniatures museum and when I visited they had a circus on display. It almost took up the entire room and had this beautiful tent that I couldn’t get over.
What would you like to see replicated in miniature?
I’d love to do a Prince tribute scene.
I just finished a mini scene for my friend of her cats doing yoga. I’m brainstorming for a scene that will pay homage to my NJ roots.
What’s to come from The Ashley Palmer Project?
More workshops for 2017!
Favorite miniature quote?
It’s the little things that make happy moments, not the grand events.