Parkland Press

Friday, June 23, 2017
Nadenia Butko, 87, is shown with some of her miniature creations at C. Leslie Smith, Allentown, May 17 as the “Artist of the Month.” Nadenia Butko, 87, is shown with some of her miniature creations at C. Leslie Smith, Allentown, May 17 as the “Artist of the Month.”
Nadenia Butko’s miniature wedding is on display at C. Leslie Smith, Allentown. Butko is the silver shop’s May “Artist of the Month.” Nadenia Butko’s miniature wedding is on display at C. Leslie Smith, Allentown. Butko is the silver shop’s May “Artist of the Month.”

Small in size, big on appeal Miniatures at C. Leslie Smith

Thursday, May 25, 2017 by ASHLEIGH ALBERT Special to The Press in Local News

At C. Leslie Smith, Shops of Cedar Point, Allentown, this month’s artist on display creates with neither a brush nor a pencil, but with miniatures, creating doll houses and other decorative displays.

Nadenia Butko, 87, of Macungie, first found her love for creating miniatures in 1990 after needing a hobby following the death of her husband.

The couple had moved to the Lehigh Valley from New Jersey the year before.

“I was in an unfamiliar place with few local friends, and creating miniatures became a new hobby for me, even an obsession,” Butko said.

During May, the roughly dozen projects Butko has completed throughout nearly three decades are on display at C. Leslie Smith, some for sale, others only for viewing.

Some of the miniatures have stories behind them — such as the “Two for Tea,” which mimics a former tea room in Emmaus Butko used to frequent.

On May 26, the public is welcome to meet Butko at C. Leslie Smith’s “Meet the Artist” 5-8 p.m. Refreshments will be served.

C. Leslie Smith, a silversmith and jewelry shop, has featured a Lehigh Valley artist of the month since September 2015.

Shop co-owner Nadine Smith said although customers are usually receptive of each month’s artists, Butko’s creations are especially unique.

“Miniatures that have lights in them we usually leave off because we fear it will get to hot with them on all day,” she said. “But once we turn them on, it really lights up the display. Her work is different and unique.”

Butko said the creation of her miniatures would not be possible without her longtime companion Bill, whom she met following her husband’s death.

Bill Schimeneck, who serves as Butko’s electrician, carpenter and paper hanger for her designs, calls Butko’s creations a “consuming, rewarding hobby.”

Butko also credits her membership to “Small on Scale,” a local miniature club, as a wonderful way to bond with others who share a love for the unique craft.

Butko has previously chaired several of the club’s events, and is looking forward to its upcoming Dollhouse and Miniatures Show and Sale 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 9 from at the Holiday Inn, Fogelsville.

“My hope is that others can appreciate the labor and time put into these creations,” she said.