I am lucky enough to be able to go by train to Chicago; I visit my daughter, Katie. She is the product manager at the flag ship Victoria's Secret Michigan Ave. store. I go to the Art Institute when I am there and sit in front of the rooms! It's fun to listen in on the non-miniaturists' comments. I love the whole Art Institute, the Impressionists make me cry. I always wanted to work in a museum, loved art history.
I bought the book, too. I look through it all of time. I've read the philosophy of the Kupjacks, make it look real, things don't have to work, light comes from somewhere else, you don't leave lights on when you leave a room, you don't leave doors and drawers open in real life so don't do it in miniature. I believe that way, too. Makes it much easier to blame it on a "philosophy" as to why I don't make my kitchen cabinets open! Ha!
Now you would think that I have also been to several Chicago miniatures shows, not a one! I know I would need a LOT of money, so I don't even go. I have never been a "window shopper", when I see something I want, I want to buy it, right then. Now that I am making the furniture and stopped on the corner cabinet I don't need anything. I am a practical person, I work with a budget. I really love making all that I do, but it came from need. I was not satisfied with what I could afford so I taught myself to make the things I liked.
Katie lives within walking distance of "Think Small by Rosebud". It is a very nice miniature store and I have fun shopping there when I go to Chicago. They have a workshop in the basement for the miniaturists to work on their projects. The houses are put on wheels and wheeled away when not being worked on to have room on the tables for others to work on their houses. It's great, you just go upstairs and get what you need, keep a list, and keep on working. You should see the houses! Some are replicas of homes in Chicago; I admire all of the miniaturists there. The last time I was there I needed help picking carpet out to match fabric and paint; ladies came from everywhere to help, even offering from their own stash. Nice people!
Inspiration can come from anywhere, be on the look out! TTYL Kris