Miniatures by Jenn’s Minis
How did you first get started in miniatures?
I first started mini-ing a long, long, long time ago… when I was about ten years old. I saw a dollhouse in a toy store—a real dollhouse with working windows and electricity. The details were executed quite well.
I believe that when you see your first minis, you’re either bitten with the bug, or you’re not. I was bitten! I wanted a dollhouse more than anything. Because they were very expensive, I started making my own out of cardboard boxes. I had a lot of fun doing that.
The interest never went away. I started saving money for “real” minis, checked out books on minis from the library, and then started subscribing to mini magazines. My mother gave me the book All About Doll Houses that includes plans for furniture. I still have it!
As I got older and became employed, I always set a little money aside for minis. I’ve been collecting things for several decades now! Which is why I need a lot of cabinet space…
No, I don’t sell anything. Miniatures are my relaxation creativity. For my “day” job, I’m a novelist (and I love it), but it’s creative in a different way. Every once in a while, I need the escape that minis provide me.
What types of miniatures do you make?
I make all kinds of minis: all scales and most mediums. I love woodworking and am trying to learn more of those skills.
Practice, practice, practice. Nothing you do is wasted. Even if your piece doesn’t turn out, you learned why it didn’t work. It’s easy to get discouraged and give up. Don’t!
Tool you can’t live without?
The tool that has helped me the most is an excellent set of tweezers (two sets actually). One tweezers style is “reverse” and you squeeze the handle to open, then release to lock whatever you’re holding in place. The second tweezers are micro in size, with very, very fine ends. I can pick up the tiniest bead with them.
What is your most treasured miniature?
Oh…. probably my collection of miniature pianos and harpsichords. I didn’t deliberately start collecting them. I’d wanted a Partelow piano, and then I kept finding mini pianos at auctions and so forth. I like unusual ones, not just grands. I have a spinet, a box piano, a harpsichord (all by artisans, including Ralph Partelow), and a Bespac baby grand.
I’m also very proud of myself for figuring out how to make a true-to-life baby grand in 1/4 scale! The only thing that isn’t real are the strings (I used a piece of gauze). But I have the soundboard, the plate, a keyboard with all the keys… I did a lot of research! I’m also pretty proud of the harpsichord I created in 1/4 scale, though it’s not as detailed. My goal is to create a 1-inch scale piano in full detail.
Artists you look to for inspiration?
I’ve collected all the back issues of The Scale Cabinetmaker, which contains a whole host of artisans’ and designers’ works and plans. I love the work of Shannon Moore, and was pleased to be able to take classes from her a few years ago. Pam and Pete Boorum make some lovely, lovely Shaker pieces. I also admire the work of April and Ron Gill. They’ve taken realism to great heights.
What is the most memorable miniature you have ever come across by another artist?
Why miniatures? What appeals to you most about what you do?
I think looking at a snapshot of the world, perfectly duplicated—but with something unusual thrown in—is a delight. It’s the silence, the peace inside a miniature scene that can calm the brain and yet excite it. Plus, it’s just fun! You create a 3-D picture from nothing—and that’s cool!
Other activities you enjoy?
I also play music: guitar, flute, and piano. Plus, I love to cook.
Anything else you would like to add?
I try to update my blog as often as possible with my ongoing projects. I hope I can help other miniaturists figure something out, or just give them something fun to view.