ROCK SPRINGS – The Community Fine Arts Center in Rock Springs has a new display of miniature tea sets and items from the collection of Green River resident Hilarie Bramwell.
Bramwell collected them since she was a young child. She loves the amazing attention to detail and all the “tiny little pieces.” The collection has grown as her family has gifted her other sets throughout the years. They are much smaller than traditional dolls and children’s tea sets, however they’re perfect for dollhouses.
During the 16th century, wealthy people started collecting Dockenhaus or “baby houses” as they were called. These tiny houses and furniture were meant to display wealth. Sometimes they replicated the owner’s home or just a beautiful house. The first dollhouse tea sets were not made for children but for adults. In Western Europe tea became popular and the first tiny tea sets were made to grace the tables and dining rooms of beautiful dollhouses.
The owners had them custom built and they were quite expensive. They were created from silver, fine porcelain, brass, clay, and wood. It wasn’t until the 19th century that industrialization and mass production methods made them more affordable, and they became children’s toys.
The CFAC also displays most of the art collection which was started by the Rock Springs High School students in the fall of 1939. It hung in the school until the CFAC was opened in 1966 for the public to enjoy the hundreds of pieces of art collected over the years.
Residents are invited to see the tea set collection through the end of January as well as the GROUNDED exhibit of 15 indigenous artists through the end of December. Located at 400 C Street in Rock Springs, the CFAC is a department of the Sweetwater County Library System.
Hours at the center are Monday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Friday and Saturday noon to 5 p.m.