Here are just some of the questions about the work and ministry of Tee Bylo and of the stories she weaves from the Mouse Parish of St M’s in the Village of Merryworth…
Are the Models Used for the Mouse Parish of St M’s ‘Real’ Models?
Yes, they are ‘real’ models! All have been created in 12th scale primarily with the use of MDF, plaster, strip wood, paints, mountboard, papier-mâché, natural foliage and of course with plenty of glue and lots of imagination!
Can I Visit the Mouse Parish?
As the models used for St M’s have been on private and public display in the past; there are occasions when they can ‘seen’ in person and a subscription to the St M’s Newsletter will keep you informed about our studio open-days and forthcoming exhibitions.
What’s the Story Behind the Creation of St M’s Church and the Mouse Parish?
From her earliest memories the artist has always loved exploring our local parish churches and having worked in many of the churches and chapels in and around the historic town of Malton in North Yorkshire on behalf of the Methodist Church – the opportunity to recreate her world in 12th scale was realised.
It could also said to be ‘in the genes’ as many of the artist’s maternal and paternal ancestors were skilled craftsman, architects and stonemasons who designed, restored and built churches throughout the United Kingdom including the Wilson family chapel in Radford and at York Minster.
And as every parishioner, fictional or otherwise needs a ‘little’ something to buy, eat AND love; the creation of St M’s Parish with its impressive huddle of emporiums has been realised too!
Although the models used for St M’s began life in kit form as simple pieces of MDF purchased from several independent dolls’ house suppliers and having ‘tweaked’ the original designs; the creation of these models has been the exclusive work of Tee Bylo.
Does the Mouse Parish of St M’s Follow the Teachings of a Particular Church?
The world of St M’s Parish is inspired by the Church of England ethos and the festivals and holy days are celebrated in accordance with the ecclesiastical calendar; however, the ministry of St M’s remains a unique one.
How Can I Learn More About the Work of Tee Bylo?
You can discover more about the artist’s work with a visit to her official website Tee Bylo or by signing up to follow her blog Creating Life in 12th Scale… and you can now enjoy exclusive access to St M’s by supporting Tee on the crowdfunding site Patreon as she makes the world a better place one mouse at a time.
Tell Me the Inspiration for the Mice from St M’s…
Since the beginning of her work on the Parish of St M’s in 2010; Tee has resisted the idea of using any form of character ‘doll’ as her vision had always been to set the scene in which the human presence is keenly felt and to also encourage the visitor to weave their own narrative about the unfolding story before them.
However, as her designs have continued to evolve; Tee fell in love with the idea of creating a community of unique characters who could inhabit the world of St M’s and so the concept of those Mice was born!
And Your Plans for the Mouse Parish?
As there are several models in the design and creation process including the ‘Leaf & Maple Flower Shop’, ‘Merryworth Market’, ‘Mollie’s Tea Room’, Alessa Mia Farm Shop’ and the ‘Hub Barista Church’; there is plenty to keep the artist AND those parishioners busy for some time to come!
And with plans for the ‘Mallow & Teasel Gift Shop’ nearing completion, there will be an opportunity to buy and enjoy a ‘little something’ from the Mouse Parish for yourself or a loved one.
Can I Share the Information and the Images from St M’s Parish on My Website or Blog?
Of course! However, all we ask is that you will remember to fully and accurately credit the artist and her work. Thank you!
As my ideas for St M’s have grown, so have the properties and with another church, a chapel and a manse in varying stages of the embryonic design process, I have been happily dreaming up so many new festivals, feast days, fundraising ideas and fun for this 12th scale parish that unless I live until the year 2120, I fear that most are likely to be sadly unrealised!
Fortunately, the vision for St M’s Parish Hall has been realised and this old and quaint parish hall has been created as a place for celebration and busy social interaction for besides the Christmas Coffee Morning to raise funds for Shelter, a UK charity that offers assistance for those threatened with the loss of the very roof over their head and a Shrove Tuesday Feast; St M’s Parish Hall has also thrown open the doors to host a week of campaigning in which to raise awareness about domestic abuse and among the notices jostling for space on the busy parish noticeboard, space will always be found for the poster of ‘Missing’ Claudia Lawrence who vanished inexplicably from her home in York over seven years ago in March 2008.
Although St M’s Church and Parish Hall both took a bit of a battering during the transit to my new abode in York over a year ago; once the bubble wrap was removed and the minor repairs attended to, I decided to give them each a make-over including the creation of a dedicated bell-ringers enclave, a purpose built kitchen, some kinder-on-the-eye flooring and topped-off with a design for some attractive new landscaping for the Memorial Garden which compliments St Margaret’s Church and although the appeal of this scruffy, evergreen and restful place still endures; it remains the best place in which to enjoy a well-earned cuppa.
“Of All Romances in Miniature… Perhaps this is the Best Shape that Romance Can Appear.” ~ Lord Byron
I have been creating small worlds in miniature for many years now and the passion to design and create a miniature world remains just as intoxicating and challenging! Which, I might add has also left me a little lighter in pocket!
Vision and inspiration for the creation of my small worlds comes to me in all different forms, the pages of a history book perhaps or a television drama series or even within the pages of a contemporary magazine I find myself reading while waiting for an appointment!
My small worlds have included the Gothic Castle Dracul perched on a snow covered mountain to the trendy and “hip” Themis, a fashion boutique inspired by the “Swinging London” boutiques such as Biba and Granny Takes aTrip.
There is also Surf’s Up!, a surf store that is complete with it’s own beach and guaranteed beautiful weather…
I have even created Marilyn Monroe’s bedroom as reported by the police officer who had discovered the body of the movie star in the early hours of Sunday August 5 1962…
“When the first baby laughed for the first time, its laughter broke into a thousand pieces, and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies – Peter Pan”
If the author of the enchanting tale of Peter Pan is to be believed then Sir James Matthew Barrie will not doubt be reassured to discover that there is still at least one faerie that can be found skipping about within the stone walls that surround the ancient City of York, although at first glance, she may be mistaken for just another conventional human; appearances can be deceptive!
For nestled in the shadow of Micklegate Bar and within the ancient City of York is where you will discover the studio of the Yorvik Faerie and where I create my ‘Magick in Miniature’ with the design of the All Hallows Hamlet, a collection of fantastical miniature buildings where the weird and fabulous collide.
And over in this world of the Yorvik Faerie, there’s the Harum Scarum Emporium that sells all manner of notions and potions that can be found nestled somewhere within the All Hallows Hamlet…
As the All Hallows Hamlet is a marketplace of emporiums, boutiques and other such establishments for discerning folk with a penchant for retail indulgence and a predilection for all that is extraordinary; it was only right that I should have unlocked the doors of the Monsignor Suárez Vampyre Slayer’s Emporium on All Hallows Eve!
For as long as I can remember, I have always enjoyed a fascination with (and a sneaky regard!) for the Vampyre of folklore and mythology and as such I created something of a fantastical store that seeks to offer those essential accoutrements for any discerning hunter or slayer of the undead.
I confess that I have been more than a little excited about the creation of this ‘Small World’ for not only is it a fantastical store brimming with merchandise of the magickal kind and after a lot of meticulous research on my part (any excuse to read, read, read!) really is seeped in all manner of ancient folktale and superstition!
And as the last weekend of October was one of celebration with the festival of Día de los Muertos or otherwise known as the Mexican Day of the Dead, I have it on good authority that a certain ‘Small’ feline did in fact put in an appearance within this newly inaugurated establishment, along with one or two other folk from the All Hallows Hamlet…
As Tilly Simms has always been something of a creative soul, her imagination was now flying all over the place much like the leaves that had tumbled from the old Oak trees that surrounded All Hallows and she began to wonder if the cat she had seen was not really Murphy at all but a Mundane in disguise as a shape-shifter or could it be the beastly familiar of that most evil witch or… that it had been Murphy that she had seen but that he was now slowly transforming into a…. werewolf!
To Discover the Tales that I Weave About the ‘Small’ Folk from the All Hallows Hamlet for Yorvik Faerie
It was the artist Henri Matisse who said that “there will always be flowers for those who want to see them” and although I am no fan of his work, I do love his philosophy!
For many years I lived and breathed a world of flora and fauna as a floral designer and although my life has taken many strange twists and turns since I began as a ‘green-fingered’ recruit in my teenage years; there will always be a place in my heart for a flower or two.
Having already created ‘Bouvier’s Flower Shop’ several years ago, I have simply been unable to resist the opportunity to design another small world of flowers and so I have created the Brentwood Flower Market which now can be found nestled within a quaint Tudor building that has all the appeal of a typical rustic flower shop and which remains alive with the human presence.
And as I have been known to share the extraordinary tales of a ‘Small’ Cat; I thought I’d share with you a ‘little’ more about this 12th scale feline as he is the ONLY animal, domestic or otherwise that is permitted unlimited visitation rights to the ‘Small Worlds’ that I create!
“Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.” So said Robert A. Heinlein…
The inspiration for a ‘Small’ Cat is a Persian fluff-ball that moves like the speed of light, has a penchant for lime-green feathers and can on occasion be extremely vocal; particularly when a basket of grooming implements comes into view!
He will on occasion answer to the name of Murphy…
AND the exciting tales of this ‘Little Big Cat’ look set to continue with the debut appearance of ANOTHER fluff-ball who enjoys a ravenous appetite, has a fondness for cuddles and will on occasion, answer to the name of ‘Minnie B’!
However, when I’m not troubled by the antics of these ‘Small’ felines; I can usually be located within the annals of Regency history and in particular the year 1815 as the design for my abode for the delightful Lord Byron called 13 Piccadilly Terrace circa 1815continues…
And although the pots of distemper paint, lime wash and brown mahogany wood dye have been packed away for the moment, a large cardboard box containing the gorgeous silks for the soft furnishings awaits…
I can handle fabrics that I can glue but, alas, the art of the needle is beyond me!
It is fortunate that as I am also an enthusiastic social networker who travels through cyber space to the lands of Facebook and Twitter, I have been able to meet other miniaturists whose skills can more than compensate for my shortcomings.
Artists such as Louise Goldsborough of Angelique Miniatures have positively embraced the art of miniature couture on my behalf and Hayley Bedells of MiniMunchies has managed to create a delicious feast or two for my ‘Small World’ inhabitants which is something my own family have been known to long for!
Now what I most long for is a nice cup of tea and perhaps a chunk or two of chocolate!
However, before I disappear, I have one final ‘Small World’ to share with you for I am also the designer of St M’s and the ‘Small World’ that the Mice from St M’s inhabit in which they will be sharing their musings, mishaps and ministry from St Margaret’s Church and Parish Hall, along with the antics of those two Little Big Cats!
I should add that I will be the one attending to most of the arduous work including designing, creating, researching, the blogging and the cleaning up afterward! I am also hopeful that I will get to enjoy the occasional ‘hot’ cup of tea now and again!
However, until these Mice make their presence felt in the very near future, I shall enjoy sharing another story with you about me…
St M’s Parish consists of (for the moment at least!) a church and parish hall, both 12th scale models that have been designed and created by me.
My vision was to create an old church that captures a sense of our history and yet is ever changing…..
In addition to being a peaceful place for reflection and thanksgiving and always with the enjoyment of plenty of good food and lots of cake!
The old and quaint parish hall has been created as a place for celebration and busy social interaction…
… AND one in which the mouse presence is keenly felt!
Complimenting St Margaret’s Parish Church is a Memorial Garden that has the enduring appeal of a scruffy, evergreen and restful place.
It’s also one of the best places in the world (‘Small’ or not!) in which to enjoy a cuppa!