One glance at Lauren Delaney George's Etsy shop and it's obvious the NYC-based artist is into more than just the standard dollhouse fare. Interspersed among the tiny notebooks, magazines, and bookshelves are more curious finds: miniature Egyptian grave goods, butterfly collections, ancient scrolls, and skulls. George creates home decor, accessories, and furnishings for dollhouses and set models, though her wares are known for leaning a little toward the, erm, strange. Her fascination with the curious and the historical—the way she sees dollhouses as "little stages for acting out scenes of fantasy and memory"—is what makes her useful for those who don't necessarily want to fashion any old run-of-the-mill dollhouse.
A few years ago, somebody reached out to George about creating itty-bitty sex toys for his "adult-themed" dollhouse, which was, well, lightyears away from the tiny portraits and quilts that comprised her first foray into miniatures. "I get kind of odd requests all the time," she says. (Sadly for Internet posts that go viral, she didn't go through with the sex toys request—she reasoned that she wouldn't get her time investment back if the ultimate product didn't have mass appeal.) Anyway, her work shows a stubborn dedication to realism, with scuffs on the pencil erasers and a slight yellowing on the book covers. She even sells, uh, well, used tissues. "Dirty dishes in the sink or an overflowing garbage can are not very charming in your real-life kitchen, but there's something so fascinating about seeing these [...] in a different scale."
Hoping to bring in some pocket money making dollhouse items, George opened her Etsy shop the summer before she entered her theater design graduate program at NYU. She had created items for her grandparents' dollhouse every Christmas, and liked it enough to keep it as a hobby year-round. Two years into her program, her shop was more than a side-project; it became a full-fledged business that let her compose the the hyper-detailed scenes she went into theater to create in the first place. "I can't communicate my ideas through full-scale sets with limitless budgets, but I can use these scale sets to tell the stories I want to tell, and as lavishly as I'd like to tell them," she says. With her shop orders stable enough to pursue long-term projects, George is hopes to one day create a book that's illustrated by photographs of fantastical scenes from places like Atlantis and the haunts she fell in love with while visiting New Orleans last winter. Think she would create a creeped-up replica of the recently restored Greek revival manse in the Big Easy? One can only hope.