The Art of the Dollhouse
by Carol Morehead with Naomi Kamiya
Dollhouses are gaining popularity in modern culture. Just go in Pinterest and search "dollhouse". Witness the number of blogs about miniatures. Even HGTV has addressed the topic, and a famous UCLA Children’s Hospital Fundraiser convinced major Los Angeles architectural and design firms to create miniature houses as prizes for the centerpiece of their annual Kaleidoscope Ball Fundraiser.
Locally, a new gallery just opened on Solano Avenue in Berkeley California, featuring the work of Naomi Kamiya.
Out on Solano Avenue just a little exhibit to show you where the gallery entrance is
The laneway leading to the gallery
Even dudes and their skateboards liked it.
A closeup of the dollhouse outside the front door, to show you were in the right place!
Inside, ten furnished dollhouses displayed on rotating platforms live within four concrete walls covered with artwork.
The immediate installation upon entering.
The public reception has already been very favorable. “Adults and children alike, become giddy when they discover the dollhouses in the art gallery. It’s really fun to witness.” said proprietor, Naomi Kamiya.
Naomi Kamiya – behind her on the wall is work from Cal Berkeley students
Naomi and her mother Nancy have begun to refurbish over a dozen dollhouses, found at garage sales & relatives’ attics. Their oldest one is a Rich Tudor, which has not yet been restored. Naomi considered “upgrading” it with stairs, but has been advised against it.
Check out that beautiful luxury model of the Rich Toys Tudor on the right. Can anyone identify the house on the left?
Here is another unique doll house. The next picture shows the front. I have never seen a roof like that before.
Naomi is an engineer & a general contractor. As you might suspect, she did not have much interest in dolls as a girl. She was more likely to play cops and robbers with the boys, or try climbing the nearest tree.
Nancy, however, never lost her childhood love of dolls and miniatures. She admired her grandmother’s success creating miniature holiday scenes for libraries and public buildings back in the 50’s, and started doing the same for her own house as an adult.
Nancy recently broke her foot and needed to find something to supplement her tutoring income. Naomi wanted to help. That’s when they stumbled into the miniature world, which seemed the perfect place for Naomi’s technical skills and Nancy’s love of miniatures. At the very least, it was something they could have fun with, and do together.
They share the art gallery with other artists.
Naomi Kamiya surrounded by art and patrons at her opening recently. Naomi is so much fun to talk to and has so many ideas.
Don't you agree galleries and dollhouses are a great match?
The Doll’s House Gallery, in Berkeley California
1861A Solano Ave., Berkeley, CA, USA www.thedollshouseco.com