A WORLD OF MINIATURES
By Ann Evans.A WORLD OF MINIATURES
Photos by Rob Tysall, Tysall’s Photography.
If you thought doll’s houses were just for children, think again, as thousands of discerning adults the world over are enjoying the enchanting world of miniatures.
As the skills of today’s miniaturists abound to incredible heights, there’s nothing it would seem that can’t be re-created perfectly in 1/12th, 1/24th, 1/48th and even 1/144th scale (if you want a doll’s house within a doll’s house). And this weekend sees some of the the world’s top miniaturists descending on the Birmingham NEC for another amazing Miniatura Show.
Miniatura was first established in 1983 by Bob and Muriel Hopwood and their son Andy of the West Midlands and the event has gone from strength to strength due to the quality of these hand-made tiny items and the unbelievable skill of the people who make them.
Around 150 – 200 top craftspeople not only from the UK but Europe and as far afield as Australia and South Africa will be exhibiting their fantastic scaled models this weekend.
There will be everything you could wish for in a house, a shop, a castle or a stately home. Imaginative scaled re-creations of furnishings, lighting, ornaments and utensils; tools and plants for the garden; appliances and food items for the kitchen. You’ll find tiny grand pianos, exquisite carpentry and ironwork items, minute wickerwork baby cribs, woven carpets, lace tablecloths. You can be certain that someone will be making everything from working chandeliers to a replica Rembrandt to hang on your doll’s house wall.
Many of these artisans also strive to incorporate materials and methods used for the real thing. Take the 1/12th scale porcelain plates produced by Karen Griffiths and Peter Armstrong. Their Stokesayware range of Chelsea plates are all hand made using the same authentic materials and techniques as real plates.
“They are inspired by porcelain through the ages, using many of the plates from my own collection,” Karen told me. “They are all made exactly like full size real plates, hand made in bone china, glazed and gilded with 22 crt gold and decorated with ceramic enamels and then permanently fired on in the kiln. However, we use test kilns because everything is so small.”
While other craftsfolk are trying their hand at the latest technology, such as Tanya Wakefield-Tuna who laser cuts the filigree features on her wooden furniture.
You may even want to try making miniatures for yourself. If so, there are always workshops going on at the show, and all the raw materials and tools that you might need will be on sale so that you can forge ahead with your hobby or new project.
You might come up with some unique and quirky ideas, such as Kim Murdoch who, for the Autumn 2014 show travelled all the way from Perth, Australia with a group of other ladies who were all members of the Australian Miniature Enthusiasts Association and the West Australian Miniature Association. Kim is also a double Fellow Member of IGMA (International Guild of Miniature Artisans) for figures and for costumes.
She creates wonderful fantasy scenarios such as the artist in his studio painting a reclining nude lady on a sofa, and Sweeney Todd with his next victim in his barber’s shop; and her favourite – a wacky scientist on his steam pump. “They all have names, and his name is Eugene Pennington,” Kim told me, adding that her inspiration comes from books, films, fairy tales and of course her own imagination.
So if you’re looking for inspiration, a new hobby, or just a day out seeing something different, then treat yourself to a visit to Miniatura and prepare to be astounded.
TAKE A LITTLE LOOK
If you want a little peek at what a Miniatura show is like, here’s a link to some film taken at the Autumn 2014 show. Perhaps it will inspire you to take up a new hobby of collecting – or making miniatures. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QXQ71YCpmQc
Miniatura takes place at the NEC, Birmingham on 28th and 29th March 2015. Further details: www.miniatura.co.uk. General enquiries: 0121 783 9922. Ticket hotline 0121 767 4100. Doors open at 10am. No charge for parking.