Local miniature artist Ann Cooper will be the Ellen Rice Gallery's first guest artist in its new location in Ocean View Saturday, June 24. Light refreshments will be served and everyone is invited. In her first gallery exhibit, Cooper will share with guests her inspiration and intricate methods for creating remarkably realistic miniature beach cottage interiors or "happy worlds" as she calls them, from 10 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 5 p.m.
A part-time resident of Bear Trap in Ocean View, Cooper says her inspiration for creating miniatures came from her dad, who was a mechanical engineer by trade and an artist by nature. She said, "He taught me the love of miniatures. He loved model trains, and his train gardens were just beautiful. His precision and attention to detail were remarkable. From the earliest age, I loved to help my dad, arranging and rearranging the houses, trees and people in the garden while Dad tinkered with his trains and tracks."
When Cooper was 7 years old, her parents gave her the dollhouse of her dreams. It had been built by German prisoners of war in Britain during World War II. "I played with that dollhouse every day for years," she said.
After she grew up and left home, her family and work responsibilities left her with little time for miniatures. "I always dreamed that someday I would have dollhouses again," she said. One of the first things she did after retiring in 2015 was have her childhood dollhouse restored at Happily Ever After in Ashburn, Va.
"I had so much fun furnishing that house with a mixture of its original furniture and new things I found. I was amazed at the quantity and quality of miniatures available today. One thing led to another, and soon my dollhouses had no more room for furniture, and my real house had no more room for dollhouses!"
Today, Cooper enjoys all the details of miniature creation, from making miniature linens to hand finishing and antiquing the wood of miniature cabinetry, and creating and finding tiny accessories to go on and in them to complete the themes she's working on. She shares them with others under the name Darling Displays.
The new location of the Ellen Rice Gallery is 111 Atlantic Ave. (Route 26), Ocean View, 2.2 miles west of the Bethany totem in Coastal Plaza (look for the red shutters).
For more information, call 302-539-3405 or go to www.ellenrice.com.