Hello. I am Bill Niver, an amateur miniaturist specializing in the design and construction of insanely detailed, ridiculously accurate, and sometimes actually impressive pieces of dollhouse furniture. I look forward to membership in this august community.
In the 60s and early 70s, I, like many of my friends, built cars and planes from plastic model kits. I developed some skills, but suspended my hobby at about the exact moment I realized that girls, rock and roll, and a driver's license could produce a truly wondrous synergy with which no polystyrene handiwork could ever seriously compete.
My mother was a life-long doll nut... I mean, collector. She would sometimes ask me to slap together some piece of furniture for her dollhouses. I started with House of Miniatures kits, turned my back on plastics, and embraced my inner woodworker. I soon tired, though, of kit builds: I realized that I was chasing someone else's vision, as were dozens of others who, like me, strove to make something as good as the picture on the box.
So I made a choice and took a chance: I started to scratch build, and my life as an artisan really began. Since that moment I have only built from my own vision. I am engaged in every aspect of my process, the planning and research, the constant challenges, the daily learning, the cultivation of new skills and sensibilities, and, of course, the absolute joy of creating art from chaos. Some of my stuff is commissioned, other things are auctioned on-line, and too much I simply give away. I am not a collector. Instead I take my pleasure from the creative act, from the making rather than the having. Some friends think I am serious, patient, and strangely talented; most others, however, conclude that I am, in fact, quite clearly nuts. I do not argue the point.
I make whatever piques my interest, without regard to saleability or ultimate use. I welcome challenges, learn from every project I have ever done, don't make what I don't like, and strive to achieve ever higher standards. I use simple hand tools and eschew electric "conveniences.". I strive to be authentic so that the pieces themselves can become authentic. Thus, if the original furniture was joined by hidden tenons, I make my miniature reproduction with hidden tenons as well. No one other than I would ever know if I cut corners and used Super Glue rather than deal with a 0.2 mm pin vise, but I believe that doing so would fundamentally alter the piece and my relation to it. Is this my true inner Zen, or merely some pedestrian OCD? I don't think it matters.
So... I have a great love for Craftsman/Arts & Crafts style furniture. This odd, small niche is underserved in the broader doll community, and I often enjoy good praise and support. I invite your comments, apologize for my verbosity, and look forward to continuing this strange and sparkly journey. I will post some pics of past and current projects when I learn how to. Thanks for reading!
PS: By the way.... I actually, really and truly DO live on Skid Row in Los Angeles. A homeless shelter, in fact, near San Pedro and 6th St. How I got here is another story for another time. But returning to and nurturing my creative aspect has made life here on the Row something I now can embrace and own and, yes, even enjoy. Let's talk sometime. I have really cool stories, not to mention mad street cred unavailable to most 61 year-old men.