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Wis. woman makes intricate dollhouses

  • Article by: JUSTIN McLAUGHLIN
  • Associated Press
  • February 15, 2014 - 12:05 AM

MANITOWOC, Wis. — Roberta Klaeser works with miniatures to create intricate scenes of life inside dollhouses. She was inspired to start working with miniatures when she visited a shop in Milwaukee, and saw a dollhouse in the window.

She thought, "I bet I could do that" and she then created a similar dollhouse. "One thing just leads to another" in making miniatures, and eventually she won several ribbons in exhibitions of her work. She also has shown her collection in private venues and in shows in Milwaukee and north Chicago.

Klaeser, a Manitowoc native and retired teacher, has been working with miniatures since the 1970s. She was a librarian for about 30 years in Milwaukee until she moved back to Manitowoc 13 years ago. She earned her first degree in fine arts, and degrees in art education and library science.

"I buy what is called a naked building," Klaeser told HTR Media (http://htrne.ws/1jqFnIW ), and then she builds the siding, details, paints the building and places the furniture and miniatures. Klaeser creates a floor plan on grid paper to decide the placement of walls and furniture. She says that care is important, and that "you don't just slap it (the project) together." Klaeser said she tries to have a consistent color scheme throughout each dollhouse, starting with a primary color and a secondary color.

Many of the dollhouse scenes are set in the Victorian period, with Victorian style clothing, furniture and lighting. The miniature lights are wired through the dollhouse. The dollhouses show incredible detail, down to tiny jars of mayonnaise and other cupboard products, complete with miniature brand labels. Klaeser also displayed a tiny ration booklet that came complete with pages of ration stamps. Klaeser also designs miniature carpets with intricate designs.

"Needlepoint has always been a hobby of mine," she said.

Klaeser is currently working on a large dollhouse, which she said is 10 years in the making.

An AP Member Exchange Feature shared by HTR Media

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