Saturday, 27 March 2010

Day 136-The Pipe Dream



Katrina-Mark III with Box of Tobacco
2" high, slightly less than 1/2" at widest
This is the 3rd version of the silver range created for the Marlboro Men,
hence Mark III like how they named vintage cars.

Blossom-Mark III
2" high, base 3/4"
(named after the cherry blossoms in the photograph made by Jayne )

Our dear palace craftsman has been rather remiss in coming out with new work. I believe her last was the elephant pull toy only because she had to do it to save her life. Of course, that elephant had run away before she could make a tidy sum out of it.

The gallivanting in Europe did not help the pocket either and without any work to sell, business has dwindled to a standstill. The only good thing is her weight loss of about 3 kg as she has had to just survive on water, so that she could put down the 1st payment for her new house.

Smoking Hot Range 2010
(outside the new mortgage built by Illisha)

Until about 3 weeks ago that is, when there were 2 enquiries for her Piping Hot Pipes made last year. 2 orders in 2 days? Perhaps the wind of fortune is finally blowing her way.

Piping Hot Range 2009

And so our craftsman immediately set to work. And work she did, from 12 noon to 10pm in the evening with only short breaks for water. And as she sweat and teared (from the glue), cursed and swore (hammered her finger so there was really blood, sweat and tears) through her labour of love, it finally dawned on Sans!

Both Old and New Pipes

It is not for lack of industry or creativity that her work is scarce but rather the fact that they are never valued for what they are worth! She thought angrily as she hammered on.

Look at these pipes, she asked herself woefully. Will my patrons see my bleeding finger in them? Can they smell the years taken from me from all that glue sniffing while the smoke spirals from their mouthpieces? In the end, they go home with one of my creation for a fraction of what it is really worth in terms of love and labour. And still they criticised when my pipes rust after 2 years or if the parts fall off because of the bad glue. I think it is time for a change of profession.
Since I have already made the hookahs, I think I will start a shisha cafe, thought Sans! I will begin humbly with just a room and one shisha. Yes, one will suffice for now because everyone has his own mouthpieces and it is common for the shisha pipe to be shared and passed around. You will not believe the incredible bond one can have with another just from having shared a pipe.

Very soon though, I will need to look at expanding my cafe. Of course, I am sure it will be a roaring success, retorts Sans! To the other more sceptical voice in her head.

Whether they are young or old, rich or poor, men or women, I will welcome them all with only the best, be it furnishings or food, conversations or entertainment.

An Artist's impression
(created in an online game called "My Mini Life" by Sans!)

And I will call my cafe "The Pipe Dream".
What? Don't you know the " pipe dream" means "unrealistic fantasy?"The other voice asked
No, no, no, I like it for its allusions to dreams created by smokers of opium pipes.See the connection? Opium pipes? Water pipes?

Whatever, the other voice resigns and goes back into hiding which allows Sans! to dream some more. And so while smoking one of her pipes, she begins to imagine what "The Pipe Dream" will look like.

Rule No. 1 (and only): In order to celebrate the work of all artisans, as much handmade work as possible will be used at the Cafe.

Long blue "bolster" made with bedding by Dale, perfume bottles in ceramic box by Mercedes,Lotuses in Chinese vase by Thai artisan

Starting with the tobacco. They will be infused in the best perfume and soaked in the shavings of exotic fruits for out of this world flavours.

Crate of mangoes and sliced dragon fruit by Laiad. Pot of hot pink daisies next to dragon fruit by Jayne.Plate of Indian sweet cakes , Kalakand by Kiva (better pic here)

And the food, no, I mean cuisine, haute and nothing less. Michelin rated or not at all! From all over the world, the best that money can buy.

Breads by Christel (thank you Helene!) Embroidered pillow and bolster by Rosanna.Cherry blossom bonsai by Jayne. Trunk by Taenia.

And what is a cafe without the chai? I will serve tea befitting royalty, chai with floating saffron worth more than gold. And as for lattes, only the creamiest milk from the teats of Wagyu cows will do.

Tin cups of chai with floating saffron (yes they are really there) and milk tea by Cindy.Fried rice in foreground by Mdm Ang (thank you MarG). More of Rosanna's pillow.

Conversations will flow like the coffee and tea in "The Pipe Dream". Be it religion, politics, universe or mothers-in-law. People will talk and talk and forget to work.

Book of Koran by Helene. Side table by Ilisha, Small bonsai of cherry blossom by Jayne.Rug in foreground by MarG.

And they will come in throngs, the most beautiful, the best brains, the courageous. They will grace my humble cafe filled with handcrafted furnishings, delicate embroideries , all labour of love.
Maya by Sumaiya. Blue long "bolster" and red silk paisley pillows by Dale. Bold red cushions (made for wedding chair) by Ara. Tulips by Sylvia


A smoker's impression


I did create the hookahs because 2 very sweet souls asked within 24 hours of each other, whether I sell them. This is a first since I started blogging. I was of course flattered.

Although 2 enquiries in almost 2 years does not a living make, it did get me seriously thinking about whether I want to sell my creations. At the end of a 2 week deliberation, I have decided against it. At least for now. There are many concerns, mainly quality, pricing and expectations. A recurring problem is matching what you have expended with what others regard as worth. So I totally appreciate what some of you must feel.

To all of you who craft for a living full time, Christel, Cindy, Dale, Grace, Ilisha, Jayne, Jody, Julie, Kiva, Laiad and Sumaiya and many others, I salute you!

And for those of you who are doing this part time like Sylvia and Taenia, I hail you!

To some of you who have just entered into the foray of setting up your own shop, Mercedes and Rosanna, I applaud you!

Lastly, to those who are into dollhouses for hobby only, like Helene and I , come to The Pipe Dream as we have nothing to do but play !


dora said...

Susan, art has never paid, which is why I am painter by profession, (sell paintings at normal scale), I don't want to enter the business of selling boxes in minatura. (If you pay them well Yes, but as I have seen on the web, not worth), I prefer to give away it to friends.
And as your play, and do what I come in WINS with no obligation. Eventually, if I change idea, as well. And if not I'll continue playing with my little houses and meeting wonderful people.
These pipes are great, and the story as always fantastic.
A Carmen hug

Sans said...

Carmen, yours are words of wisdom and experience, as you are an artist by profession too! I think it will do all of us good to be able to share some of these issues which seem to vex most new sellers.

But the truth is until I am of a certain standard in the quality of work, I will not even think of selling. I think that's the main thing. Even then, I will consider for a long time. It is so much pressure when you sell something as opposed to give or even a swap.

rosanna said...

Lovely pics and story. Does Sans really loose 3 kgs? I'll start having only water for lunch!
Your hookkas are WONDERFUL !!! and they are getting better and better. I'm sure that your coffee shop will be a huge success!
Thank you for the applause but there is nothing to applaude at: I am curious to know if someone can appreciate my works so much to buy them. It is a challenge which hopefully will help me to better my work and make up new patterns. Have fun my dear Hugs Rosanna

Snowfern said...

ooooo so many things to see! but yes, your hookahs are impressive indeed :O no wonder you've had requests ;) isn't it a wonderful feeling, though? hee hee, thanks for the feature, i don't do minis full-time, i barely sell anything other than the cupcake liners LOL!

i can really see myself in there, with the aid of a shrink ray gun, relaxing on those cushions, snacking away and i'll have the rose flavoured shisha please thank you very much :D but please install air vents, soon the tent will be smoke-filled till our eyes water!

(oh and i caught the lovely bones, and sobbed my way through the movie T_T i loved it! )

Lize said...

Oh lala, I see your sheesha pipes and my blood goes hubbly bubbly... See I am hook(ah)ed on my pipe, and the smell of my apple and strawberry tobacco makes my heart Zing with joy. I will like hanging with my vast circle of friends in your PipeDreams cafe.

And everything will be 'no problem' if you can supply us with some zing-a-long songs from our favourite artists, along with a continuous flow of sweet delicacies, and something besides water to avoid loosing 3 kilos of our precious buildup of wealth around our hips.

Peach Blossom Hill said...

Oh, Sans! Every detail and every photograph is a feast to the senses--I can smell the exotic perfumes and those hookah's are beyond exquisite--I am sure you don't get what you put into them in monetary compensation! Pricing is such an issue with me. I feel everything I do is sub-standard (and thank you for your kind comments on my work on my blog and here--I actually have a part-time job and mini on the side but hope to do it full time one day) so I never charge what my husband urges me to!

You know, an Indian man (from India, that is, not Native American) is a major supplier to my husband's company and was married a few years ago in his homeland and the company here held a reception for him and his bride. She came festooned in all of her beautiful Hindu clothing with layers of fine embroidered silk, jewels in her luscious dark braided hair and on her arms, many beautiful glittering bracelets, a beautiful jewel hanging on her brow and she smelled exquisitely of spices and perfumes. She was something other-worldly, exotic and quite dazzingly beautiful! I felt like the country bumpkin sack of potatoes I am beside her! LOL! But your work here reminds me of her. You seem to have captured the essence of her. And he was equally exotically handsome like your Maharaja!


Sumaiya Mehreen said...

Maya loves her smoke! :D

dale said...

Too funny, when smoke gets in your eyes!

Sans, I think that new house has been a great inspiration for you. I love all of these pictures.

I've been pulling some magazine pages together for you, as each time I see them, they remind me of you.

Thanks for the mention. ;) I don't craft full time, wish I could, life keeps getting in the way.

I would not be doubting the quality of you work, I would imagine it's very good. :) That's what the pictures tell me.

Pubdoll said...

What a wonderful cafe filled with treasures! And I'm very honoured that my Koran was found worthy to be there! I have been at your blog several times today already admiring the photos and the wonders displayed in the café!

Your 2010 range hookahs are even more elegant and beautiful than the 2009 range, and I loved the 2009 range too! Helmer has spent many evenings in the basement living room this winter puffing on his hookah, until I was afraid the fire alarm would go off, so I had to move Nora and Helmer's house to a room away from the smoke detector. And I think you made the right decision, I never have understood how miniaturists can make a living out of their work!

Sans said...

Rosanna, I am 3 kg lighter than when you last saw me! Hooray! But not on water. I have started eating organic. Brown /red cargo rice and organic wholewheat bread/ sunflower seed bread when I need heavy carbs. And yoghurt (definitely thanks to breakfast in Europe), whenever I need to snack. I still eat meat and other non organic stuff like chocolates.LOL. But now I walk home from work everyday. Run on the weekends. I really hope I can keep this up as I always fall off the wagon where weight is concerned Guess what? I may be dancing again! haha! Will tell you more in email :).

I manage to find better parts this time for the hookahs. They are more proportionate than the last one. I have started to use tools as well, like hammer and file. I can still improve but I think I am getting better :) thanks to practice and passion ! ;)

I also totally agree that selling your work definitely push you to do better. Crafting will never just be a job because pride is inevitable when you craft.

Sans said...

Haha Cindy, thank you :). I think my next challenge where hookahs are concerned is to make the glass ones. But they are really an invention of the Turkish people and not Indian. In any case, I read that the Turkish narguile is so advanced that the design has endured for centuries. So it won't be surprising that the Maharajahs' harems have them. Smoking hookahs there is like a Japanese tea ceremony, you get told off if you can't light the shisha properly! Very stressful :).

Did The Lovely Bones make you cry? Last night I was watching Obama in a documentary and I think everytime he opened his mouth, I cried. LOL!

Sans said...

Lize, no danger of losing any wealth. Everything is on the house, including any unwelcome fats :). We have only exotic fruits (and dancers). So the shisha is mango, dragon fruit (tasteless) or durian flavour :).Strawberries & apple (!) are Ottoman, not authentic India :). Just for you and your vast circle of friends, I will put on reggae. You sure type like a Jamaican reggae-r when you are hook(ah)ed. You can zing a long but absolutely not into a microphone. It is a cafe, not a karaoke (which I absolutely hate, mostly because I can't sing and neither can most of the drunk patrons).

Sans said...

Jody, my beautiful doll is made by Sumaiya Mehreen. I included a link against her name in my post :). She is truly a feast for the eye. She is Maya, the lead character in Mira Nair's Kama Sutra but I have half a mind to change her into Sans! The palace :).

I have checked your etsy and I really mean it when I say your work is impeccable. And that tiny duck is so perfectly country.

Would you believe I have yet to attend an Indian wedding? One of my friend's lasted 10 days!

Sans said...

Can I tell you, Sumaiya that I really wanted to resist putting anyone in this scene but how can anyone resist Maya?

Sans said...

Dale, you are way too kind. I have seen your work life but you haven't seen mine. Trust me when I say when I get to your standard, I will consider selling :).

You cut magazine pages for me? Wow! :) When you are free, you can scan them and email me :). Don't waste money and send them. You are too sweet :).

I am glad someone appreciates my choice of "Smoke gets in your eyes". I am sure you don't know this but I put in 3 versions, the next one is by Bryan Ferry (quite awful but I love his Slave To Love) and the 3rd one is an instrumental by Mantovani, for old time sake. When I was a young child, I sleep to a cassette of Mantovani music. Now I think I am too young of course, for Mantovani. By the way, I am not crazy about this! I just thought it is funny, like you did :).

Liberty Biberty said...

You are the Queen of hookahs!
Love all the beautiful colours in your cafe! It looks perfect!

Sans said...

Haha, Helene :) I hope the "wet look" will be back in fashion for Helmer.

Yes, you are one of about 4 I think (not including Rosanna who never got hers), who has my 1st generation hookahs. They are like the 1st generation handphones now, clunkier and heavy :). I keep one of each "style" so I will remember but you know handmade, no 2 are identical even if you use all the same parts .

You know I was just wondering if my scenes have all developed the same "look" Colours. colours. colours. I really should try something more subdue and subtle.

Just so you know Helene, when I 1st started building this scene, I had wanted to celebrate all my friends who craft for a living (part/full time) by displaying their work. You are the odd one out but I just had to place that book you made me on a table in a cafe. You remember that Oriental room you built? It made me want to build a cafe and if you look back to the post about coffee and your Koran, can you recall my setting?
So are you kidding me? That book you made me is one of my treasures :).

Sans said...

High praise indeed from the Queen of Shabby :). Thank you Mercedes. Now we have the 2nd person who own Hookah Version 1 or maybe Mark II:).

Meli said...

Sans, as always your stories and the photos are lovely and full of colors!!
Always asking Sans, what is Hookak???
Thanks for sharing your knowledge as every time a visit your blog I learn new things.
Warm regards,

Gemma (Gempo) said...

Wonderful scene Susan, congratulations. Best wishes

Sans said...

Meli, I think hookahs are more popularly known as nargile in Europe, especially Tunisia.

I read that there are quite a few shisha bars in Granada usually run by Middle Eastern vendors. Some people say hookahs were invented in India but there were some who says Africa, who knows. Whatever it is, the Arabs have popularised hookah smoking :). Because of the heavy Islamic influence in certain parts of Spain, hookahs/ shisha/ nargile are popular there.

If you want to see images of real hookahs, you can click through here:

My mini ones are not that realistic which explains why you may not have recognise them.

Sans said...

Thank you, Gemma :)

Susanne said...

Susan, the pipes and the small boxes are fantastic, so are the the expression of the decorations and your stories..
PS: I posted the package for you to day, I hope you will recieve it soon.
Love, Susanne

Meli said...

Thanks Susan,
Always helping!!

Sans said...

Thank you so much. I am really looking forward to the surprise :). I hope you wrote a return address on the envelope :).

Have you seen the lantern on Sylvia's blog at lotjedollhouse? I think it is interesting! Do go and check it out.

Sans said...

Meli, the pleasure is always mine :). Let me see if I can help you further. By the way, I bought my mum the cross stitch kit. Will show you when I can get a pic :).

Ara said...

I count myself extremely lucky that I am the owner of one of your wonderful pipes! I know what they are worth as I am lucky enough to be able to hold one in my hands. I understand your decision to not sell your pipes but I am sorry for all of those who won't have the chance to buy them! :)

Sans said...

Ara, from the bottom of my heart, I thank you for that solid endorsement. It is more precious than gold :). I cannot even begin to describe what your words mean to me because getting good at this has become strangely very important to :). I think it's mingling with you great artisans. Everyone's work is par excellence. Seriously.

When I saw my pipe in one your later posts, I thought it look better than what I remember? Did you maybe re-glue it? hahaha. I also noticed recently that one of the smaller parts had rusted! Which may appeal to some, maybe even to the Addams since they may enjoy some tetanus spasms! :) I did not use that particular part in my new ones though.

Sans said...

O Ara, I found this pic of a person with tetanus having a spasm at I am sure the Addamses will love it!

dale said...

Oh, Sans!

When I think about the pull along elephant, how can you say your work is not worthy for sale, and here you have Ara saying so. Yup, I saw her say it. :)

We are always most critical of our own work, this is how we learn and grow. The very heart of the miniaturist to perfect and you do that all of the time, I see it.

Oh, I'd sooner mail than scan. Mailing is easier. ;) For me. :) Unless you wanna call me and hold my hand throught the scanning process, I think not. ;)

I really wish I had use for a hookah. I will be keeping it in mind.

I like all of your colorful posts, don't change them, that is the richness of your blog. If you become subdued.... (sniff, sniff)

Sans said...

Dale, you really are a gem :). And those words of encouragement really could not have come from a better captain :). I will seriously apply to join your team (hope you will have me) when the time is ripe :).

If not the hookah, something else. Surely at some point, you can use something I make? I will be so proud if one of them ends up in your house but now I will only send it if it is good enough. LOL. I am hoping to make a short trip to Bangkok with my dad again next month. I will let you know if I am going :).

dale said...

Sans! One night in Bangkok and the world's your oyster!

Cool! :)

You know, I have touches of Indian and Asian all through my real house, but never thought about it for the dollhouse...hmmmm... you've got me thinking. :)

Sans said...

OMG! That video, I have forgotten how hilarious that was. It is still a good song :) after all these years. Boy, what was I doing then??

Meli said...

Sans, thats great!!! I'm looking forward to seeing it!! Cann't wait to see how lovely it will be!!
I'm waiting Sans,
Warm regards,

Sans said...

Thank you Meli. I have just been gifted with a lovely bird cage. I am deciding whether to use it to house the cafe.OR maybe I should get 3 more of the huge bird cages and build the palace :). But I don't think I have a place to put all 4 of them except the!

miniaturist59 said...

Visiting your blog really is a feast for the senses, Susan!!! You really do create THE most enchanting miniature scenes I've ever laid eyes on, hands down. *Sigh*.

Sans said...

Surely you jest, Kiva ! But jest away, I love it :)! Thank you :):)

Anyway, when you have beautiful creations by so many talented people, you don't need much more to create a good scene. I think I have to be really quite bad to botch this one up ? lol

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