Meet Karen Allyn – Telling Stories from the Palm of Her Hand

by | Sep 23, 2019 | Closeup

Taking large-scale life stories and transforming them to fit in the palm of your hand is what Karen Allyn does best. In the form of miniature houses and items, the 30-year Santa Clarita resident aims to encapsulate the joy of childhood and to find calm in a busy world.
Karen has always had a love for crafts. Since she was a child, she always found herself possessing the desire to create. When she was younger, she designed clothes for her dolls. Tiny designs and dollhouses fascinated her, but only once her sister gave her a miniature house, when she was 25, did she begin to indulge in the craft.
The houses that Karen creates are riddled with hundreds of miniature items such as crayon boxes, perfume bottles, wedding dresses, letters, photo frames, and more. These houses are ongoing projects for her as she finds herself continually adding to them.
“I can go into a room that is fully designed and always think of last-minute details,” said Karen. To illustrate this mindset, Karen once found a feather on the ground of her home then decided to turn it into a miniature quill pen to place on a desk in a room.
Currently, she has two miniature houses of two different scales. One contains eight rooms while the other contains four. Different miniatures take longer to create than others. Some take only 15 minutes while others take hours. For instance, miniature crayon boxes take less time than embedding wood floors in a room. Because of the daintiness of her miniatures, Karen has recalled dropping some in her rug and never finding them again.
The significance of a story is essential for Karen’s creations. Each room has a story. In one example, she’s created a room with love letters falling from the bed that are barely bigger than your fingernail. It tells the story of a girl who misses someone, perhaps a boyfriend away at war. Karen describes her miniature house creations as a way to go back in time or to create a dream.
It’s important to note that Karen does not feature people within her creations. She wants to focus solely on the items and design of the house rather than who inhabits it. Creating items for the houses is an ongoing process with Karen. She is always thinking, designing, and creating.
When she creates a room, she often pretends that it is a place where she could go. “The houses I’ve designed are places where I could imagine myself relaxing by the fire,” said Karen.
For Karen, envisioning, designing, and creating miniature items brings her joy because it allows her to feel calm even in her busy world. When she is not creating, she teaches culinary arts in elementary schools all over the city. At the moment, Karen has not created a house based off her own life experience, yet she is open to ideas and imagines she’ll do it eventually. Karen’s ability to capture stories in the palm of her hand is not only imaginative, but magical.