In the expert hands of Yin Xiuzhen, old clothing articles worn by everyday urban citizens become unique pieces of architecture. So far, the artist has created some of the cities she’s visited throughout the years, including Berlin, Vancouver, Seattle and her home city of Beijing.
Neale M. Albert, the New York collector who has loaned part of his miniature-book trove to the museum for the exhibit, said his interest started more than 10 years ago. He was collecting doll houses and buying fake books to line his faux shelves. Then, he said, “I found that there are really crazy people who make real miniature books.”
From there a passion was unleashed. He retired as a corporate lawyer about four years ago, he said, “because there were more important things to do, like making miniature books.”
He now has more than 4,000. One reason for his collection is practical.
"Look," he said, "I’m a collector, but I live in a two-bedroom apartment."
The patient hobbyist began assembling his collection in 1948, using simple tools of a razor blade, tweezers and sandpaper to carve the matches and boxes and pieces them together using PVA and balsa wood glue.
More than 650,000 matches have been used to create every class of ship in the Royal Navy in incredible detail on a scale model of 1:300. And he has even crafted 1,200 model aircraft out of matches to make his scale-model carrier ships look even more realistic.