Daily Mini Interview: Timber Chouse Studios

Timber Chouse Studios by Rebecca Reeves

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Rebecca Reeves
Dirt Crimes, Drippings

What’s your earliest memory with miniatures?

First memory of miniature objects was when I was in kindergarten. We were studying the letter B and the teacher outlined a simple boat with a single sail on construction paper. Then, a glorious box of antique buttons was presented to us. Everyone grabbed handfuls and glued them down along the outline of the sailboat. As for me, I sifted through and carefully selected only the tiniest buttons. The entire class was done within the timeframe, except me. The teacher allowed me to take my time to finish my first tiny masterpiece. To this day, I wish I still had this piece.

How did you first get started incorporating miniatures into your artwork? 

Miniatures have been in my creative process throughout my life. As a child, I was always drawn to toys that incorporated a miniature doll living in a miniature world. Whether it was toy people living in a tree that popped-up into a house, an ice cream sundae that transformed into a condo or a doll who wore a dress that concealed a circular miniature home, I have always been intrigued by non-traditional homes, precious items and hidden spaces.

The first consistent incorporation of miniatures was in graduate school. I created a series of work that focused on my cleanliness issues and personal space. Dirt Crimes was a series of 25 miniature room sculptures in which a dirt crime had been committed. Each scene is a reenactment of a previous “crime” that occurred in my domestic space. Similar to crime-scene photography where each clue is documented separately, the rooms are presented in fragments. The viewer-turned-investigator is asked to focus on what is important in each scene, where the crime has been committed and what was the weapon of choice. This series was inspired by Frances Glessner Lee’s Nutshell Studies. Her murder models were designed as an instructional tool for detectives. In a similar fashion, my sculptures illuminate my obsessive level of cleanliness, which the viewer compares to his or her individual notion of cleanliness.
Princess and the Pee

Do you remember the very first miniature you included in this body of work?

The first miniature was a porcelain toilet. I made hundreds of miniature disposable toilet seat covers out of actual toilet seat covers and stacked them one on top of the other. The stack was placed on the seat and I titled the piece, Princess and the Pee.

Can you speak for a bit about your desire to control your environment as evidenced in your recent work?

Some things in life are so uncontrollable and I have a difficult time getting past them. Creating things with miniatures or creating miniature environments allows me to have the power; to be the ultimate controller. It also allows me to laugh a bit about my issues.

What’s your preference on how your artwork should be referenced?

I tend to refer to my work as mixed media. In one body of work I might be working with fiber-related materials, another graphite drawings and yet another resin.

What is the most challenging aspect of your work to date?

The technique of cocooning (obsessive thread wrapping) that I use in my current work literally makes me anxious. In previous series working with human hair, the process of lining the hair into perfect strands or inlaying quarter-inch, hand cut tiles into a miniature bathroom, drove me crazy. It’s basically self-torture, but I can’t stop creating in that manner.

Family Preservation

Any favorite artists you’d like to cite?

Rachel Whiteread, Judith Schaechter, Louise Bourgeois, Matthew Barney, Mark Ryden, Tim Hawkinson… ah, there are so many.

Favorite miniature you own?

My most treasured miniature artwork is a hand-painted mourning pin by Mab Graves and a twin seating by miniature furniture artist Nancy Summers.

Gathering My Ghosts

Favorite work of art you’ve made that includes miniature(s) in it?

Gathering My Ghosts is one of my favorite and most challenging pieces from my current series.

What inspires you? What keeps you creating?

It has always been one of my childhood dreams and I don’t give up on any of them. I have to create, period.

What is the most memorable miniature you’ve ever seen?

There used to be a local dollhouse store inside an old Victorian home. The owner made dioramas and had them displayed alongside the merchandise. There was a bathroom diorama that included the typical features: sink, toilet, tub, pink fuzzy rugs, a naked woman reclining in the tub with hand extended holding a roasted turkey (yep, a roasted turkey). I would have bought that in a heartbeat if it were for sale.

What would you like to see replicated in miniature? 

I’d love to have my cats shrunken to pocket size so I can carry them with me everywhere.

What miniature object are you hoping to come across next to use in your work?

I cannot get enough of miniature Victorian and Gothic-style crystal chandeliers and mirrors.


Why miniatures? What appeals to you most about what you do?

Miniatures give me the ultimate control. I use miniatures to represent objects in my home that are too precious to incorporate into my work. Maybe one day, I’m too attached at the present time.

What’s to come from Rebecca Reeves?

In July 2017, I’m guest curating a show in California for 30 artists previously featured in Venison Magazine. I’m working on a new series that I have been pondering for a few years. I’m always open for new opportunities and exhibitions.

Words you live by?

“Don’t ask, don’t get.” My dad taught me this.

Other activities you enjoy?

I adore homes and love working on projects, decorating and organizing. Organizing relaxes me. I’m an avid antique collector, but adore my family heirlooms the most. I love the thrill of the find.

Timber Chouse

What do you want miniature enthusiasts and art fans to know about you?

To know me is to know my home. I truly believe when visiting my home/studio that there is a greater understanding of my art. The “Timber Chouse” (church + house) is my biggest artistic creation. People say that I am essentially living within one of my miniatures.

Timber Chouse Studios is helmed by Rebecca Reeves who’s currently based in Upper Black Eddy, Pennsylvania. To see more of her work, check out Rebecca Reeves’ website. Make sure to follow along on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Tumblr.