Julia M. Dendinger | News-Bulletin photos
1: Small enough to fit in your watch pocket, pottery by Jan Pacifico will be on display and for sale during the Miniature Show at the Tomé Art Gallery. The show runs through July 9.
2: Tiny books can lead to big musings during the Tomé Art Gallery’s Miniature Show.
3: Tomé Art Gallery artist and Miniature Show organizer Pati Woodard puts the finishing touches on a display of miniature artwork that will be on display through July 9.
4: A petite pot is featured on a necklace on display at this year’s Miniature Show at the Tomé Art Gallery.
5: Miniature pottery dinnerware by Jan Pacifico.
6: Paintings on Wood by Lori the Nomad
7: A mini murder in a matchbox by Pati Woodard.
Julia M. Dendinger | News-Bulletin photos
Joyce Johns, Heidi Snell and Pati Woodard — three of the artists featured in the Miniature Show at the Tomé Art Gallery — finish setting up for the second tiny showing.
TOME — After a small interruption due to a microscopic virus, the Miniature Show at the Tomé Art Gallery is back and as tiny as ever.
The first mini show was in late spring 2019, and as COVID-19 washed across the world, the gallery temporarily shuttered. Now, show coordinator Pati Woodard is in her element, reveling in the creation of tiny, fun stuff.
She and 14 other artists will fill the gallery with miniature paintings, pottery, dioramas, jewelry and more for this year’s show. The idea for the initial show three years ago was Woodard’s, who says she’s always “thought tiny. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve collected miniature things. I’ve always loved tiny things and my motto has always been to make ‘fun stuff.’”
Much of Woodard’s “regular” work, such as her jewelry can be defined as “fun stuff,” and much of it has a miniature aspect to it — necklaces adorned with epoxy encased postage stamps, charm bracelets jangling with tiny pencils and books, bottle cap earrings with Frida Kahlo portraits.
“It’s really impressive to see other artists take their work and see how they make it small,” Woodard said.
Houses, hearts and birds are among the items at the Tomé Art Gallery’s Miniature Show.
A pint size pitcher in this year’s Miniature Show at the Tomé Art Gallery.
One such artist, Monica Kemsley, has reduced her mixed media collages to about 3-inches square as opposed to her usual 12-inches by 12-inches or larger. When working at a “regular” size, Kemsley said it’s all about working small details into the space.
“When you’re doing small pieces all the small details are small details,” she said, laughing.
“You have to think little,” Woodard said.
Growing up in Chicago, Woodard remembers visiting Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle — displayed at the Museum of Science and Industry. Dubbed “the original tiny house,” the display features a miniature dream house built by silent era movie star Colleen Moore.
“There’s just something about tiny things,” she said. “I have pieces my grandmother collected and gave to me. It’s has always intrigued me.”
While Kemsley said making tiny pieces was quicker than regular sized pieces, alcohol ink artist Jen Godbout said even on a smaller scale, her paintings take the same amount of time for her.
Dropping the inks on a nonporous and “waiting to see what they do” has been an exercise in patience, Godbout says, but it’s getting easier.
Her finished works are typically fairly abstract, Godbout said, and reducing them in size makes them completely abstract.
“Sometimes it’s hard to tell what they’re supposed to be,” she said.
Mini garden gnomes under glass earrings are just one of the many tiny treats at the Tomé Art Gallery’s Miniature Show this year.
Long-time gallery artist Joyce Johns is displaying her mini watercolors, some of which are smaller than the change in your pocket. Her works are framed by Susan Dubiel, who was located inside the gallery before relocating to a stand-alone shop in Belen.
“When I had my shop in Montana, someone once asked me if I could paint something as small as a stamp. So I said, ‘Let’s see,’” said Johns of her introduction to the world of miniature art. “Susan framed these, and they even have hangers on the back, which just adds to the cuteness.”
A group of artists meets weekly on Johns’ patio and they all look forward to what Woodard will have to show them.
“Every week, it’s ‘what is Pati going to bring?’,” Johns said with a chuckle.
Godbout said since making pieces for the show, she now has an array of supplies at home just to create miniature artwork.
“This has sparked something, inspired me to make small things,” she said. “It’s nice to think outside the box.”
The show will run through Sunday, July 9, at Tomé Art Gallery, 2930 N.M. 47, which is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday.
Tiny tomes are among the many offerings at this year’s Miniature Show at the Tomé Art Gallery.
The idea for a miniature show at the Tomé Art Gallery came from artist Pati Woodard, who specializes in small things and “fun stuff.”
Artists featured in the 2023 Miniature Show
Pati Woodard: Polymer clay, handmade books, matchbox dioramas
Monica Kemsley: Mixed media collages
Lori the Nomad: Paintings on wood
Matih D. Moriwiez: Pottery
Susan Axel Bedsoul: Cyanotype on fiber
Deb Schwirtz: Fiber collage and jewelry
Joyce Johns: Watercolor
Susan Dubiel: Framer for Joyce Johns’ watercolors
Anne Marie Werner-Smith: Pottery (tiny animals)
Nei-Nei Freeman: Pottery, mixed media
Virginia Vasquez: Gourds, mixed media
Jan Pacifico: Pottery dinnerware
Heidi Snell: Pottery tiles
Jen Godbout: Alcohol ink
Lavae Aldrich: Glass
Julia M. Dendinger began working at the VCNB in 2006. She covers Valencia County government, Belen Consolidated Schools and the village of Bosque Farms. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists Rio Grande chapter’s board of directors.