Almost as soon as I discovered miniatures (in 1987) I wanted to build "Jupie's" house. My mother had read the story of "The Good Cat Jupie" to me many times, and it was our favorite. The story was in a child's reader c.1930, written by Gates and Huber and the delightful illustrations were by Kate Seredy. I felt I could build the cottage, but I needed a cat dressed in clothes! From time to time, I checked leads, but to no avail, and I got involved in other projects. But that Friendly Stories book always called me be back to try again.
What a joy when I met Sue Veeder, whose miniatures business is "Custom Cats"!
I met her at the 2001 Bishop show in Chicago, and told her, "I need a cat in clothes". I took copies of pictures in the book, and when I explained to Sue what I wanted, she said "I can do that!" She said that the clothes wouldn't be fabric, but texturized as part of the sculpture. She suggested that Carol Kubesh, a fine doll artisan might make Jupie's friend, Jean. I knew Carol's work - I had purchased a Tasha Tudor doll from her at the 1996 NAME National in Crystal City. She was at the Chicago show as well, and I ran back and forth between the two, with ideas for size and colors. Sue and Carol worked together closely from beginning to end.
I began to plan the cottage as soon as I got home,and after seven 1" scale prototypes. I realized that Jupie needed a "cozier" scale - so a Timberbrook double-casement window became a French door, and things fell into place. However, the scale had become 3/4", so many parts including the door, windows, shutters and furniture had to be specially fabricated.
I wanted a total environment, so Jupie is showing Jean a garden full of flowers, both purchased and home-made. Work on the cottage and garden continued while I waited for the occupants.