Miniaturist of the Month – Donald Jenny
Real Good Toys is happy to welcome our February Miniaturist of the Month – Donald Jenny. Donald hails from Bothell, Washington, where he is an accomplished freelance artist, designing book covers and illustrating children’s books. When he is not doing that, he builds custom dollhouses. Donald grew up in a family of artists. His father worked for an architectural firm, building scale models as a side job. Donald’s father also built model ships as his hobby. Donald’s mother was once an opera singer. She dabbled in painting while raising her family. His older brother loved to draw race cars. That love ultimately led to building race cars as an occupation. Donald’s younger brother, who once fancied himself a folk singer, is now the proprietor of a business that builds and sells custom electric guitars internationally. It is quite obvious Donald acquired his love of the arts from his family, being creative in drawing, painting and sculpture. He holds degrees in fine art and computer animation. Although Donald holds down a daytime office job, he continues his freelance business and custom dollhouse building.
In the 1970’s, Donald began building gift houses out of cardboard and other materials. His intention was to use these houses as a substitute for gift wrapping. These whimsical creations were quite popular with their recipients. He didn’t begin building wooden dollhouses until 2000. Donald attended a miniature trade show and was hooked! Beginning with kits, he quickly started customizing dollhouses adding his own special touches. He created, from photos and memory, a miniature version of a Painted Lady dollhouse. He donated his masterpiece to a little girl in foster care. He tells us the only thing she wanted for Christmas was a dollhouse and it was perfect for her. If time permits, Donald builds 2-3 dollhouses a year, donating them to various local charities.
Donald’s most expensive build so far is his Alice before Wonderland dollhouse, filled with custom made figures and miniatures from the Alice in Wonderland fairy tale. This dollhouse originally was the Real Good Toys #2007 Woodland, with the addition of the 602 Montclair porch. He tells us, “I have spent nearly 6 years on this project and it still isn’t complete and I doubt it will ever be. This is my baby”!!
Donald is one of Real Good Toys most active Facebook fans, always jumping right into our annual Real Good Toys Dollhouses Facebook Build-Along. He never ceases to amaze us with his creativity and vision. He can take a basic kit and transform it, making it into something truly astonishing. Our Facebook Build-Along projects allow participants to individualize and design their own dream project while sharing creativity and enthusiasm with a whole group of like-minded people. And that’s just what Donald loves about it. His Build-Along last year started out to be library and ended up as a brothel. He has already ordered our 2015 Build-Along project, The Crafter’s Cottage, and is anxiously awaiting delivery. Donald says, “I have bought many kits from Real Good Toys because the quality out shines other competitors”.
Donald is looking forward to retirement in a couple of years. Then he will devote his time to building dollhouses and working on his other love, gardening. Thanks to Donald for sharing his love of dollhouses and miniatures with us. His enjoyment of the hobby and his creativity inspires all of us. You can see more of Donald’s work, and much more, at www.donaldworld.com.