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Details Of A Dollhouse - Mindy Creates Dollhouses for Sale at Her Exhibit

Aug 28, 2019 09:37AM ● By Jessica Bowman

Photo from the Valley News

Some people have obsessions on a large scale. Mindy Thorpe has obsessions on a small scale at the Library Arts Center in Newport. She creates dollhouses, some of which were on display until July 18th, and for sale at her exhibit “Dollhouses: Obsession on a Small Scale.” A portion of those proceeds also went to the Library Arts Center, a non-profit organization. Thorpe does so to fulfill her one true love of creating something small that tells a story.

Mindy Thorpe, at eleven years old, saw her first dollhouse at a friend’s house during a playdate. She knew immediately that she wanted that dollhouse, the Yield House-brand that lifted the front off to show the rooms inside. Her twelfth birthday was coming up. The only problem, the house cost $39.95, much too expensive for a twelfth birthday.

 As a solution, Thorpe’s grandfather decided to take crafting into his own hands. He began to build her one of her own, “the same thing, only better,” Thorpe comments. She and her mother than painted the dollhouse – thus began Thorpe’s obsession of creating mini lives inside dollhouses.

What makes Thorpe’s dollhouse’s special is the time, and effort put into them for certain, but more importantly the creativity Thorpe brings. Every dollhouse isn’t just a house. They have characters that live inside of them, stories and backgrounds that go to each. Thorpe creates mini lives, decorating the dollhouse based on the way those people live.

In one house, a three-story fixer-upper she found in RI, belongs to a wealthy French couple with an eccentric brother-in-law who lives in the attic. The house has three bedrooms, and each room is intricately designed. No detail is overlooked, and the cluttered houses look lived into a point where an on-looker can imagine the people who stay in these lots as they go about their daily lives.

Thorpe will also decorate her dollhouses based on a periodic style. A dollhouse may be set in the 1960s or it may be more modern. Each creation has a certain amount of research and dedication put into it that bring it to life.

Since Thorpe began creating her dollhouses, a lot has changed. eBay provides Thorpe with access to materials that bring her dollhouses to a new level. Now, 3D printing has fueled Thorpe’s attention to detail for her dollhouses a step further. Anything Thorpe can think of to put in a home, she can make.

In addition to Thorpe’s already impressive dedication, she finds creative ways to create the furniture she needs for each house. Thorpe uses repurposed materials to decorate the homes. Lace dollies can become bedspreads, coasters can make window blinds, pieces of fabric can be made into the top of a canopy bed.

With such work required to make Thorpe’s dollhouses, it can take six months at the longest, three months at the shortest. A lifetime of constructing intricate lives for dozens of imaginary characters all started one afternoon in the 1970s, and a wide-eyed eleven-year-old girl staring at a dollhouse. Thorpe’s story is a testament to the dedication and attitude that can make any hard work turn into fun.


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