Potsdam inspires miniaturist to create replicas of interiors of local businesses
Sunday, June 17, 2012 - 8:05 am

By JIMMY LAWTON

POTSDAM – To some, a picture may be worth a thousand words, but for local hobbyist Lorraine Sinnigen, a picture is no match for a miniature replica.

Sinnigen, a Potsdam resident and artist, crafts miniature replicas of local shops and other places she has grown fond of, over the years.

First Crush was the first shop Sinnigen transformed into a miniature, but many others followed. Miniatures of Argents, Bark Avenue, Lifestyles, St. Lawrence Chocolates, Birchbark Bookshop and others can be found on her website at picturetrail.com/lomini.

Sinnigen once lived in Germany, where she purchased a dollhouse that inspired her work. She said she has always had an interest in miniature displays, but had never created her own, until she moved to Potsdam.

“I always liked doll houses growing up, but as an adult you don’t really get a chance to do that sort of thing,” she said.

Sinnigen said Potsdam’s character was very appealing to her, as many of the local shops are unique.

“The first miniature I did was of First Crush. It’s somewhere I go to a lot and one day I thought to myself, ‘I could do this in miniature,’ and then I did,” she said.

Sinnigen said she then went to the internet to find the supplies she needed.

“It’s not the sort of stuff you can get at the stores around here,” she said.

While the miniatures are not identical replicas of the shops and offices they are based on, Sinnigen takes care to ensure the models reflect the atmosphere of the local stores they represent. Sinnigen goes as far as capturing photos through the windows of the shops, and placing a reduced version in the windows of her models.

“When you look at the window you will see the same thing you would see in the actual store,” she said.

She also includes miniature employees that are similar in appearance to the shops’ actual employees. Small coffee mugs, coffee makers and TV’s and other relevant objects are included in her models. Although most of the details mimic the actual shops, Sinnigen includes her own signature of sorts in every model she makes.

“There is always a German shepard,” she said.

Sometimes the dog is included as a standalone piece, other times its on a picture hanging on the wall, but all of her models include a Shepard somewhere within.

Sinnigen said her decision to create a miniature happens when she walks into a building with a lot of character.

“It just kind of hits me. I can see it in miniature form and then I want to do it,” she said.

While Sinnigen enjoys living in the Potsdam the area, she said she will soon be moving out of state.

“It’s unfortunate because there are so many local shops I would like to do in miniature here before I leave,” she said.

Although her time left in the North Country is limited, Sinnigen said will be hosting a display at the North Country Neighbors flea market, Main Street. Her miniatures are on view until June 22.