Monday, June 9, 2014

John Elsner’s Marvelous Miniatures

It is one of my delights as a volunteer publicist for the LoLa art crawl to discover the wonders of artistic creation and talent right here in Longfellow, Minneapolis; sometimes very close to home, even.

John Elsner's house, where he'll be showing for LoLa

I have often walked to the mailbox on 42nd Avenue and 44th Street, and when I do, I make a point of walking back by way of 42nd Avenue to admire this beautiful garden and charming house near that corner, with its pensive gargoyle perched on the porch steps. How delightful to learn that this is the home of an amazingly talented miniaturist, John Elsner, who will be joining the LoLa art crawl this year for the first time, to showcase his historical dollhouse creations.

The images shown here are from a signature house named Merriman Park, which is also the name of his blog (click here for that), where you can see and read about some of his houses as they have unfolded.

Merriman Park façade, by John Elsner

Where will you be showing for LoLa?
At “The Lilacs,” my vintage 1908 bungalow, located at 4405 42nd Avenue South.

What media do you work in?
I am a miniaturist and create historic period room settings in mostly  1:12 scale. Wood, paint, fabric, resin, plaster and metal are some of the media I work with to produce a complete vignette.

Merriman Park music room, by John Elsner

What inspires/informs your art?
History and art history; period architecture and interior design. Old and new movies; vintage books and novels; plays and TV shows set in the antique past. Magazines of my genre (in fact I have been the subject of some of these publications) and, of course, the internet: the blogs and websites of my peers.

Merriman Park bedroom

What do you like about LoLa? Why did you join?
I was out walking my dog one fine summer’s day, when I happened upon a sign that directed me to an art showing right here in my own neighborhood—literally a block away from my house. I thought, “How cool is this? And right in my own backyard!”

It is truly inspiring to know that there are so many talented, creative people here in my neighborhood of Longfellow. I am thrilled to be a part of this diverse, eclectic group.

Merriman Park drawing room

Are you planning to do anything special during LoLa?
I thought I'd have iced tea or lemonade and maybe cookies or, better yet --bars! (The Midwest in me coming out, I guess). I'll probably have whatever project I'm working on on display.

Merriman Park library

Is there any other news you’d like to share?
I'm being featured in the upcoming August issue of the British publication, Dollhouses and Miniature Scene. I should have copies of it in time for the event.  I'm debating whether to enter my latest project in the Minnesota State Fair, but I would really like to show it at LoLa.

We encouraged him to go ahead and enter the project in the State Fair, with our best wishes. We were sure he could have pictures of it on display for Lola.

Merriman Park dining room


  1. Wow! These look amazing. What fun and the yard is a work of art, too. Thanks, Sharon and John.

  2. Very talented. It's just unfortunate the man himself is such a miserable excuse for a human being. He tried to scam my family on ebay.