It's a Small World
New England in miniature.
Milford artist MaryLyn Yonika gets all the details right in her stoneware candle houses - all just inches tall. Shutters, clapboards, chimney bricks and the weathered barn boards of classic Yankee barns are studied and reproduced in clay. The small details are a joy to behold. The church has glass windows and barns are topped with hand-hammered copper weather vanes while houses have lintels, pediments and sidelights.
When lit with a tea light inside, windows of each building are illuminated with a soft glow. One can almost imagine Thanksgiving dinner being enjoyed by tiny denizens inside.
Yonika has degrees from the Rochester Institute of Technology and Massachusetts College of Art, but it was a request from the local school for a holiday raffle item that started her down the path to creating miniature villages. She borrowed a friend's ceramic studio to complete that first project, a Bavarian village, which was well received. Yonika picked it up from there, but as a lifelong resident of the area, she focused on the simple architecture of classic Colonial houses and farm buildings of New England.
Each structure starts as a rolled slab of stoneware clay. The walls and roofs are cut from her pattern and each building is constructed with the care of a craftsman and eye of an artist. After a bisque firing, Yonika spray paints the exteriors, often adding texture with a light sandblasting for a weathered appearance. Her collection includes more than 24 types of buildings - each signed and dated. She has also completed special commissions for home "portraits."
The League of New Hampshire Craftsmens' Sunapee Fair is the only show Yonika attends, but her studio will be open for the N.H. Open Doors shopping and touring event on November 6 and 7. In this statewide event artisans of all types open their doors to the visiting public.
Maps are available online at nhopendoors.com to plan routes through Monadnock and other regions of the state.
- Susan Laughlin