Hohl showcases her latest miniature build

PINEDALE – In the miniature world of a dollhouse, a child can play, daydream, rearrange tiny furniture and pretend dolls are doing grownup chores or taking naps.

For Sukey Hohl, as a child, playing with her family’s cardboard dollhouse entranced her for many hours. Hohl, now director of the Sublette County Libraries, has since spent many hours exploring worlds through literature and her travels.

When she began searching for a hobby some years ago, she kept in mind the words of author Gretchen Rubin, who advises looking back at your best childhood memories. Hohl said in 2012, she decided she was going to build, decorate and furnish a British dollhouse, which opens from the front.

“I didn’t want to do a Victorian dollhouse because everyone else did that,” she said. “I purposely went against the tide on that one.”

She chose a classic Georgian-style dollhouse – which in that era was not a plaything but more about status to display precious miniatures or teach a young woman how a household was ordered. With author Jane Austen in mind, Hohl considered every detail.

The dollhouse kit arrived, “a box with 200 pieces of wood in it,” and she researched the Georgian period, 1714 to 1830 during the reigns of four King Georges – to make it as historically accurate as possible.

Her favorite books gave her clues and as a nod, one tiny portrait on its wall is a very small photocopy of Cassandra Austen’s silhouette. Some pieces come from her travels and her life “with extra meaning” – the doorknocker was her mother’s earring and the stairs are covered with a silk band from an Indian sari.

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Hohl decided to focus on a second dollhouse, an American turn-of-the-century, three-story farmhouse. This one’s interior rooms and walls are open like a cross-section and the front of the house is the dollhouse’s back side.

Hohl aimed for 1910, inspired by “Anne of Green Gables,” and knew she wanted a sewing machine to depict its meaning in her life. There are tiny kittens, lamps, books and other period details like the pressed-copper ceiling and green-painted cabinets in her kitchen.

“You have to say – ‘what year did they go from cooking with a wood fire to cooking with a stove? When did home milk delivery start?’”

She incorporates objects from her childhood dollhouse, stores and websites and makes very creative and serendipitous finds.

“Everything has a little story,” she said.

Hohl’s Georgian and American dollhouses are on display at the Pinedale Library where stepstools and bright lights welcome kids and grownups to examine tiny details, paint colors, antique “fabrics” and techniques to age them. She credits husband Dave Hohl and artist Mary Thompson for their extensive assistance.

Dollhouse Tour

On Wednesday, Jan. 12, at 5 p.m., Hohl will give a close-up free dollhouses’ tour, “A House of Miniatures,” for anyone of any age interested in knowing more about the hobby. She will share tips – like how to choose, build, decorate and furnish a dollhouse. Hohl has uncovered simple and unusual sources for furnishings and will give tips on designing toward historical themes and how to use color, space and light when arranging interiors.

The event will be in the Pinedale Library’s Lovatt Room, located at 155 S. Tyler Ave.

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