Smallville takes a little bow

Posted on September 28, 2010


I’ve been looking forward to the opening of Smallville over at Raven Hill Discovery Center.  I am fond of miniature things.  That is probably because I am rather small myself.  Vertically anyway.  However, my cold and I had to go miles and miles in the opposite direction to be tortured in the Labyrinth of Commercialism, and I missed the opening and its excellent treats. 

The good news is that Cheri Leach, CEO and Director of Whimsical Vision, sent me pictures of Smallville, and a press release about it too.  Looky here:

Remember the Earl Young Mushroom Houses in Charlevoix? And their landscape boulders?  I love this stuff.  Then there was Creative Reuse.  Below, Karen Brennan of Deer Lake Junk poses by her Found House. 

No, she did not find the house.  She found its cunning building materials.  Look closer. The doors and windows were made from old hinges. How cool is that? Now I’m thinking maybe I could buy some slightly larger used hinges someplace–maybe Deer Lake Junk!–and make a gate for the Duo’s playpen, a/k/a the deck.

And then there’s Bonnie’s Button House, a loving memorial to Cheri’s mom, Bonnie Culver, who died last month. The five-room mini-mansion was crafted by Raven Hill volunteers Georganna Monk, Nancy Hellman and Gayle Levengood as a special gift for Cheri.

Can you see the tiny sewing machine inside? And oh my, how my mother would love all those beautiful buttons.

Like all the whimsical projects at Raven Hill, Art & Architecture in Smallville has a serious purpose, too.  The process invites reflection on what kinds of spaces delight us, honor our past, help us imagine the future.  The miniature houses are crafted from clay, glass, metal, stone and wood in every style imaginable.  The builders are local artists, teachers, students and volunteers with a creative bent.  And . . . there’s still room.  Would you like to add your own vision to the tiny community?  Just call Raven Hill at 231.536.3369.  Structures must be permanent, water and weather proof and able to withstand cold temperatures. The houses will move indoors for the winter months and be re-installed outdoors come spring.  By then there will probably be elves living in them.  Baby elves even. 

The Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts supported this project.  Thanks!

You can go see this marvel for yourself.  The drive over is pretty this time of year.  Raven Hill Discovery Center is located between East Jordan & Boyne City, just off C-48 at Pearsall Road. For more information or questions or for winter road conditions, please call 231.536.3369.