Posted by: marymarthatours | January 8, 2012

Mini Chairs to Help the Boys & Girls Club

Every winter, the Boys and Girls Club in Rochester, Minnesota, hosts an auction fundraiser called the Chair Affair. On February 25, 2012, the event will celebrate its tenth year. Community artisans will once again create imaginative, practical, funky, and stylish chairs to be auctioned to the public to raise funds to support the work of the local Boys and Girls Club.


Rochester, Minnesota, Boys & Girls Club

For the past nine years, most of the chairs that were created for the event were full-sized works of art or whimsy, but this year there will be a different kind of chair to inspire bidding. This year, many of Rochester’s miniature crafters have gotten together to design and create chairs in small scale. Most of these miniature chairs were done in what miniaturists call “inch scale”, i.e., 1” in miniature equals 12” in real size. Some of the mini chairs were done in “quarter scale” where 1” represents 48” or 4’.


Quarter scale chairs and settee by Jo McC

We owe a huge Thank You to Mary Huffer of MJMiniatures in Minneapolis. When I described the project to her and asked if she could give us a discount on some of her chair kits, she immediately offered to donate 20 kits. We used variations of what I would call a standard kitchen-type chair.


In October we held a get-together for anyone interested in making a chair for the auction. Those attending included members of my small weekly group, the Sue’s Day Girls, members of a larger evening club called the Mini Delights, and friends who have done miniatures on their own but are not currently in any group. We ended up with 14 people taking kits, with several taking more than one. We were delighted when Bailey Miller, of American Miniaturist Magazine, agreed to make a chair along with us.

Recently, we all gathered again with our finished chairs for a “Show and Tell” day. It was amazing to see how many different directions the artists went. Each person told about the inspiration for their chair and the techniques that they used to bring their ideas to life. Bailey, Traci, and Eric were with us from American Miniaturist to take lots of pictures and video, so we hope to see an article about the Chair Affair in the magazine soon. Here are a few of my favorites:


A Chair of Bowlies, by Mary W. This chair was made as a Thank You gift for Mary Huffer. She was delighted and asked if we had known that she loves anything by Mary Engelbreit whose work was this chair’s inspiration. (Answer: No, it was just serendipity again.)



The Tooth Fairy’s Chair, by Kathy L. The tooth fairy is taking a little break and has left her wings hanging on the back of the chair. In her haste to get to bed, she has left some dimes and tools of her trade beside the chair. In front of the chair sits her GPS system (a miniature light that will be turned on for the auction night).




Old Sparky, by Lora B. The only chair not using one of the kits, Old Sparky is a replica of the Florida electric chair. Lora was a bit unsure about how appropriate this piece would be, but the rest of us assured her that it will probably bring in the most dollars of any of our chairs, because it is such a surprise.




 Raggedy Ann and Andy, by Barb W. Barb used the chairs as props for two adorable dolls surrounded by other toys. Barb makes gorgeous counted cross-stitch rugs and has added one to the scene.




Sonny and Chair, by Mary W. I couldn’t resist creating a set of chairs to honor two favorite singers from the past. The faces are photos that were transferred onto fabric and then incorporated with coordinating fabrics as parts of the chairs. The words to “I’ve Got You, Babe” encircle the base.

Now that the chairs are made and delivered to the Boys and Girls Club, we are all eager to see how well they do at the auction. We hope the event attendees will get as much enjoyment from seeing them and bidding on them as we did in making them.

(article and all photos by Mary)



  1. I hope the Boys and Girls Club acution is a great success!! Of course it will be because of your “little” contribution!!

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