Aesop is said to have stated, “Good things come is small packages.” As for great things—I think they sometimes arrive in bespoke miniature proportions.
When Anne Marie Ruff Grewal reached out to me about an article idea, her suggestion resonated with me on a personal level. Let me explain.
As the youngest of five girls, most of my toys lived a few lives before arriving in my toy chest. Understanding the downfalls of being “the last,” my mom, also the youngest of five siblings, took special care to make some of my toys “new” or unique to me.
In the weeks leading up to one Christmas, her sewing machine, crochet needles and acrylic paints came to life once I was in bed for the night. My gift that year was a refurbished dollhouse, complete with handmade curtains, hand-crocheted rugs, hand-painted wall art and wallpapered rooms. Tootsie Toy furniture replaced plastic dollhouse furniture, and a new family moved into the dollhouse. It was even decorated for Christmas with a lit tree festooned with tiny berries and properly-wrapped gifts around its skirt. To complete the tableau, a cotton plume of “smoke” curled its way out of the faux brick chimney.
It was a labor of her love. I loved it then, but I treasure the memory of it now. As a parent, who orchestrates Christmas in our house, I can’t image how my Mom found the bandwidth to add the dollhouse renovation to her holiday to-do list.
This brings me to Plymouth’s Dureen Ruff, Grewal’s mother. Ruff holds an interesting place in the world of miniatures. She created an unbelievable series of birdcages turned into miniature homes. They are magical and wonderful and the work of a woman who introduced her imagination to her lifelong artistic talent to come up with The Cage Series, which her children wrote about in a book as a tribute to their mother.
Read about Ruff in Magnum Opus, and be prepared to be amazed and, hopefully, inspired to create your magnum opus.
Until next time,