Rosemary Eakins has been creating art in three dimensions since around the time she started school. Her apartment overlooking the Suwannee River at Advent Christian Village is a testimony to the skills she learned and has honed over the years. On tables and shelves, and in bookcases and cabinets, are tiny rooms full of tiny furniture, clothes, and faux food, animals and people. The realism and creativity is astounding.
Rosemary says her mother taught her and her two older sisters to sew when they were young. At age five, Rosemary starting making doll clothes and thoroughly enjoyed it. Her oldest sister also enjoyed drawing and painting, and Rosemary began to do that as well. She took classes in school and excelled. She especially enjoyed drawing with pencil and charcoal. She ordered art books to learn how to draw people. During her sophomore and junior years at Suwannee High School in Live Oak, Florida, she served as vice president of the art club.
Rosemary’s family moved after her junior year, so she completed her high school degree by correspondence. One of the courses was art, and an assignment she remembers in particular was to choose a photograph from a magazine and to redraw it. She sent in her completed work and received back an accusation from the school that she had traced the photograph instead of redrawing it. She took the letter to her parents with tears in her eyes — not tears of sadness, but joy that she had done such a good job, they couldn’t believe she had done it. The school asked her to redo the assignment, but at two times the size to prove she wasn’t tracing it. She did it again and received an “A A,” said Rosemary. “An A-plus-plus,” she smiled.
Rosemary’s attention to detail and precise eye served her as she became a bookkeeper after high school. But in her spare time, she continued to work on her craft. Something Rosemary always wanted was a dollhouse. Her family couldn’t afford one, so she would use shoe boxes and spools of thread to create rooms. She would cut pieces of cardboard to make furniture. Rosemary’s grandmother convinced Rosemary’s mother to enter Rosemary into The House of Miniatures’ kit of the month club. Each month, a box of wood and hardware would arrive. Rosemary sanded and painted or stained each piece of wood and then assembled the tiny piece of furniture.
On their first wedding anniversary, Rosemary’s husband made her dream a reality by surprising her with a dollhouse kit. She assembled the house, even adding a bay window that wasn’t part of the original plan, shingled the roof, decorated the walls, and made all of the furniture, including a very realistic refrigerator, complete with shiny exterior, shelves, and a working light. Her husband, a mason, helped her add a chimney and tiny planters.
Besides wood and fabric, Rosemary also uses clay in many of her miniatures to create people, animals and other items. She learned techniques by attending a monthly miniatures club. She’s learned a lot of techniques from others first hand this way. She also used to have a group of friends who would get together once a month for a craft night.
In her mother’s (June Houston) Advent Christian Village apartment, are three especially loved pieces of Rosemary’s handiwork. The first is a landscape done in bunka shishu, a form of Japanese embroidery. The second is a three-dimensional recreation of Nita Showers’ Sarah’s Quilt folk painting. The third is a small clay sculpture of a lion (complete with hairy mane) with a lamb sleeping on his back and an angel lying back against the lion’s side. All three are captivating. All three are masterpieces.
Rosemary will soon begin sharing her gift with the Dowling Park community by lending tiny rooms to the Rustic Shop in the Village Square for display. We encourage all area residents to visit the Rustic Shop during its normal business hours of Monday–Saturday 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. to appreciate Rosemary’s skill. Those who receive the Friendly Neighbor News will see announcements within. Those who do not receive the FNN may call the Rustic Shop at (386) 658-5273.