Sunday, 10 February 2013

Has Spring come early?

Something like a spring clean began in our real house this weekend. I decided that all the old magazines I've kept for about ten years must go for recycling. I hadn't looked at them for ages and they were only gathering dust in a set of very nice wooden file boxes that I can put to better use. Result: the mags are now in the hallway awaiting the weekly paper collection - a heap of magazines on antiques, interior design and some on gardening too. 

But of course, I didn't dump them before tearing out any pictures or articles that could be useful while building and furnishing the Bon Marché shop/house. Second result: I now have a very respectable looseleaf file of references, stored in punched pockets (salvaged from a finished writing project - double halo!). 

In the course of the clear-out, I came across two very old miniaturist magazines from 1995. I've kept them because they are small (A5) and no longer in production. Does anyone have fond memories of The Home Miniaturist? Packed into its neat format were loads of practical articles and projects. 

One article in particular caught my eye, called Miniatures via Internet, it started with the sentence:
 I'm sure most of our readers will have heard of the Internet, but lots I am sure will not know what it actually is, how one could get into it and for what purpose. 

The author, Lorna Payne went on to describe getting help from a miniaturist friend to:
use my PC as a means of communicating with friends around the world  
and how, through the US dial-up system that she signed on to:
it is possible to join various forums for every hobby . . . The system works by the members sending messages on their computers to others of like mind . . . It is even possible to converse by tapping in your message which is immediately transmitted to the person with whom you are in contact, they reply and the message comes up on your computer.

After becoming familiar with exchanging information around the world, Lorna set up what must have been one of the earliest internet forums for miniaturists. Rather disappointingly, she had little response from the UK at first:
I am sure this is because we in this country are not yet into regularly using computers as part of our everyday life . . . it is an incredible way of communicating and making friends . . . of great enjoyment to those who are unable for any reason to get out and about to do so.

Lorna's vision is commonplace now and we've all come far since 1995. We take such a lot of our social networking for granted that it's easy to forget what a mystery the 'Internet'  was to everybody at one time, and Lorna's vintage article certainly took me back with its 'brave new world' approach. 

Lorna Payne currently teaches miniaturist classes for all skill levels in her workshop in Yorkshire and here's the link


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