The Trillium Tribune
Life in Miniature
The incredible art of Arla Johnson and Barbie Andreason By Nedra Wicks
What qualifies as a Miniature? Anything small? Not at all! Miniatures are unique scale model constructions. Each element contained therein represents a real object reproduced on a consistent scale, most commonly 1”:12” but possibly as tiny as 1/144th. Each construction, whether diorama, room box, fairy garden or doll house, should be unique in design. Its elements may be either constructed by the designer or purchased. Prices for elements may range from a few dollars to thousands, depending upon both the skill and repute of the creator. These creations are not toys for children! The art of constructing Miniatures requires creativity, fine motor skills, an eye for detail and immense patience. It’s practitioners span the globe and keep up to date through a variety of trade magazines, trade shows and the internet.
Living in Trillium Woods are two widely recognized Miniaturists: Arla Johnson and Barbie Andreason. Neither can trace the actual beginnings of their “Miniaturist Mania.” Their paths crossed some 35 years ago when Barbie moved to Minnesota A Resident and stopped in at the Miniature shop in Fridley where Arla was working. Since then, Newsletter For their shared passion and activism have led to the establishment of a regional And About organization, the Midwest Miniature Guild, and to the sponsorship of two major Trillium National Association of Miniature Enthusiast shows in Minneapolis which drew over Woods 1,000 attendees. Together they have attended many national and international shows. Arla has achieved coveted recognition from the International Guild of Residents Miniature Artisans.
Co-Editors: Charlie Gauck Austin Pryor
Arla focuses on the creation of contemporary and outdoor settings. Her skill at fashioning miniature food led to a business. Initially selling through retail outlets, she now sells only through the internet.
Writers: Alice Barrera Nedra Wicks Most Photos: Austin Pryor
The Art of Miniatures (continued)
Barbie considers her work to be eclectic and whimsical. She too found the hobby led to a business opportunity. For 25 years, wherever her travels took her, she collected unique items for sale in an extension of her jewelry store called “Pixie Tidbits and Trinkets.” Barbie also invited artisans from the U.S. and Canada to teach weeklong classes in her home. Both women have written for, and been featured in, various Miniature publications. Barbie continues to be a regular magazine contributor. In reminiscing about their many creations, Arla and Barbie have fond memories of special gifts they have made over the years, detailed replications of some aspect of the recipient’s life, and of the joy with which they were received. Their work has been displayed in many venues, from museums to churches, national and international publications and conventions. The insistence on the authenticity of elements in the creation of their Miniatures has, on occasion, led to encounters with copyright laws. While Arla received an “OK” from Nabisco to make replications of their products as long as they were not sold, Playboy magazine said “no” to replication of a centerfold (but they wanted several copies for their staff!). For both women, their skill and passion for the art have taken them around the world and opened doors to friendships along the way. They have a wealth of tales to share; their enthusiasm is infectious.
A Singular Honor! - Kent Finanger
by Nedra Wicks Once upon a time a freshman coed loved the late night doughnut treats in her Luther College dorm but rued the resulting pounds. She started slipping out alone at night to run laps on the school’s track. Thus began a story with a very happy ending.
One day the young woman approached the coach of the men’s track team asking if she could run with the men. Kent Finanger not only said “yes,” but a year later, in 1976, was coaching her in a newly-established girls cross country team! Little could Kent realize that these actions would lead to a most amazing 85th birthday present: The Kent Finanger Endowed Chair for Women’s Cross Country and Track and Field That former, unnamed student athlete and her husband made a $1 million dollar gift to Luther College on the condition that it must honor Kent Finanger. It is the first endowed coaching position in the history of the college. A singular tribute to a man who spent his entire career helping young people nurture their abilities!
Kent starred in multiple sports in both high school and as a student athlete at Luther College. After graduation he was asked to stay on as a coach and faculty member, serving as Chair of the Health and Physical Education Department from 1964-1996. His Luther career included some 90 seasons of coaching in five sports. His men’s cross country team won 21 Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference titles. In 1985 it won the NCAA Division III National Title. Accolades from his former athletes speak of his respect for them; his advocacy for women’s sports; his positive outlook; and his willingness to go “the extra mile.”
The Pryors Mid Life Hawaiian Adventure Is this all there is? In Austin Pryor’s 1977 mid life “crisis” a marine biologist cousin begged him to be the business manager for his oyster aquaculture venture on Oahu. Located on an abandoned World War II airfield, fantastic oysters were grown entirely on land and market-ready in 7 to 9 months.
Unlike Eastern oysters, Pacific oysters have very thin shells and large meat. They were grown in commercial dishwasher trays fed by a constant flow of algae-laden water. The algae was grown in ponds. Oysters are “filter feeders” which means they suck in water constantly and extract nutrients. In the East such nutrients are available only in the summer and on the in-coming tide. In this Kahuku system the water was always warm and the tide was always coming in. Thus the rapid growth.
Being filter feeders enabled some amusing stunts. After the oysters were placed in a barrel with blueberry syrup added the result was blueberry flavored oysters. Garlic juice (more appropriate than blueberries) could be added instead.
We lived in a great house with a full view of Diamond Head, the Pali Mountains and the Pacific Ocean with whales and “Trans-pac” sailboats easily visible. The weather was boringly perfect in the mid 70’s. No A/C or heat needed.
Sadly Hurricane IWA blew the farm apart. Oh well we had a great time. Back to reality in Connecticut.
Air view of the oyster farm
View from our patio of the Pali Mountains
Ready for Surfing
Margaret Wold, Former City Council Woman By Alice Barrera
Margaret moved to Trillium Woods from Evanston, IL, where she lived for 53 years. Evanston, just north of Chicago, is home to Northwestern University.
Margaret considered herself an apolitical person being very active in PTA and the League of Women Voters. Margaret had two daughters in high school when the alderman in the ward where they lived was leaving office. “Maybe I should run,” she thought to herself, and she did. Margaret was elected to four years on the Evanston City Council in April 1983, and was re-elected to four more years, finishing in April 1991.
As a member of the City Council, Margaret faced several problems: no funds from Northwestern University to help the city, a “Dry”community, and the emergence of drugs and gangs as a very serious problem. Slowly things started to change. Northwestern stepped up to help the city, the sale of liquor was legalized, and the city worked hard with the help of families to curb gang violence and the proliferation of drugs. The city started a successful job program. Start-up money was provided to the Fellowship of African American Mentors, and to community members interested in helping youth at three community centers run by the City Recreation Committee. Her City Council responsibilities developed in Margaret a sincere interest in the diversity of her city and the need for affordable housing. Along the way, she also received her master’s degree in social work. Today she volunteers weekly at Interfaith Outreach and Community Partners (IOCP) and continues her involvement in promoting the need for affordable housing.
Some Major Musical Event Highlights By Austin Pryor It’s been a fabulous Spring for music here. Tony Andreason and the Platte Valley Boys (Bluegrass), The Genesis Bell Choir, Stefan Wilder who was a phenomenal pianist playing a formidable all Beethoven program. The Trillium Woods Chorale performed to a full house. Featured was the song, “Turning, Turning.” With Words and Music by Dorothy Pryor. But perhaps the best of all was Nai-Chai Chen a soprano from Taiwan who just got her doctorate in vocal performance from the U. of M. Her varied program from grand opera to beautiful Chinese folk songs was truly a gem. Experts view her as Metropolitan Opera ready. Sadly she has returned to Taiwan to take a full professorship position with a major university. But don’t be surprised to see her on tour here.
Platte Valley Boys
Stefan Weiler, Classical Pianist
Nai-Chia Chen, Operatic Soprano
Trillium Woods Chorale
Elderly Challenges A man came home from work on a Friday evening and said to his wife, "Sweetheart, let's go somewhere this weekend - some place where we're not known or recognized." "How about going to church?" the wife replied.
New Residents This Spring
Jim & Jo Cochrane #1208
From Lake Geneva, Wis. Four kids. She a pianist & HS music teacher. He worked for Illinois Bell.
Clinton & Carol Odell #3205 From Edina. One son. She a secretary early on and he President of Cargill Barge Div.
Dick & Eiko Hidani #4211 From Plymouth. They have three children. Both Dick and Eiko were teachers in local elementary schools.
Larry Johnson #3110 From Savage. Two kids. Mechanical Engineer for CarterDay.
Charles & Janet Austin #3315 From NJ. Two children. She many years as a HS teacher and he a Lutheran Pastor and Journalist.