Miniatures overtake Morro Bay

Were you lucky enough to have a talented parent build a dollhouse for you as a favorite gift? Mike Botkin, owner of the Miniature Cottage Shop in Morro Bay, said most novice miniature craftsmen cut their teeth on their child’s dollhouse.

All things miniature will be at the Morro Bay Community Center on Saturday and Sunday as Mike and Cherrel Botkin and conference partner Linda Shearer celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Dollhouse Miniature Show and Sales.

The interactive displays, themed “Stitches in Time,” are museum-quality pieces guaranteed to transport you back in time. You’ll marvel and smile at the unique 1/4- to 1-inch scale depictions of familiar scenes.

The show runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and closes at 3 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is nominal at $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and $3 for children 8 and older.

“We have door prizes every half-hour, food and an evening barbecue where you can visit with the merchants, who will share trade experiences,” Botkin said.

Their 1260 Main St. shop is open all year long. Botkin makes most of the tiny elements that frame and form the pieces of a miniature display, and Cherrel and Shearer act as designers and interior decorators.

When their son attended Cal Poly 22 years ago, the couple found the property that became their residence and shop. A swimming pool contractor, Botkin had to change careers to make the move.

While participating in the Rose Bowl Doll Shows in Pasadena, they carried miniature products for selected vendors. The miniatures would always sell out.

With room for a shop in their new Morro Bay home, they launched their on-site and mail-order miniature products business.

“We are the only shop to carry miniatures from Monterey to Ventura,” Cherrel said. “People from the (Central) Valley, north and south visit us. They’ll drive second Saturdays of each month to attend classes.”

Botkin explained how his crafty wife convinced him to build miniatures. “Cherrel would always ask if I could make the products I sold. I enjoy power tools.”

She admitted she would deliberately do a mediocre job on a miniature display and ask if he liked it. He knew he could build better than the kit equipment she was using. Today, he creates most of the intricate miniature elements and proudly demonstrates tiny furniture with drawers that pull out and shelves that adjust for a display.

In 2005, they took first place in the Creativity Challenge at the National Miniature Show in Chicago.

“There’s something about taking an idea and making it your own,” Botkin said.

For information call 772-7858.