Mmm… by Selma Mahmutovic
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What is your earliest memory with miniatures?
I have always loved the fine arts and my first contact with miniatures was the moment my dad made a miniature stove for my Barbie. Soon afterwards, I got my first Polly Pocket. At nine years old, I visited my first miniature fair in Germany. I was fascinated by everything I saw, so my love for miniatures remained deeply engraved in my heart.
How did you first get started making miniatures?
Growing up in a country where dollhouse miniatures and dollhouse culture did not exist, I devoted myself to classical fine arts. I drew, painted and printed graphics.
Five years ago, I decided to focus on creating a miniature jewelry. I worked hard to get to know all kinds of materials, in particular polymer clay that I use the most.
For me, it is important not to be superficial in any of the segments of work, so I read a lot, experimented and learned different techniques. Thanks to the new technologies and social media, I met a lot of artists through the Internet. We exchanged experiences, advised and encouraged each other in creativity. Then the miniatures came as a logical sequence after I was well informed about polymer clay techniques. Nothing makes me more happy today than applying my knowledge to creating miniatures not only for me but for many collectors. Every second I create miniatures and miniature jewelry is pure joy for me.
Do you remember the very first miniature you ever made?
Yes, I remember! I made a miniature tomato that was in a scale 1:6 but that was in a learning phase. I can’t remember if I still have it. Surely, it’s somewhere with lots of other experiment miniatures stored in a drawer. However, I always make sure to have a photo of each and every of my creations in personal photo archive.
What is the most challenging miniature you make?
For me, every miniature is a challenge. Each one is more or less difficult in its own way. The moment I sit down at my desk is the moment I enter my Mmm… world. Something like Alice in Wonderland. She was facing different characters and challenges. I am facing different tools, materials, colors, shapes, challenges — ups and downs. I embrace all of it, but make sure to upgrade myself with every new creation I make. Personal state of mind directly influences the creation. Sometimes, the most simple work can become the most demanding. I know my artisan colleagues will know what I am talking about.
What is your favorite type of food to eat?
I love to eat all the traditional food from my country. We have quite rich and varied cuisine. I love Italian food too. I love pizza! Mmm…
Who are some of your favorite miniaturists?
Kiva Atkinson, Tomo Tanaka, Almaira Palmero de Jonge, Caroline McFarlane-Watts, Sharon Cariola, Maritza Moran and Angie Scarr.
What advice would you give to new miniaturists?
Do not be afraid! Mistakes will happen and materials must be spent. Yes, I know that mini materials are not cheap. Many people panic that their first creations will not turn out well and that they will spend the material for nothing. However, without maximum dedication to the work and experimentation, there is no progress. Over the years, I made quite a lot ‘scrap’ clay but I use it and apply it as much as a new packets of clay. So… Relax, work and enjoy your creation.
What inspires you?
It’s so easy to find inspiration in everyday life, as long as you know how and where to look. I pay attention to small details I see around and I ask myself a lot. I love to read. I have never stopped reading children’s literature and it has never stopped inspiring me. Magazines and books about cooking play big role in the process of making my food miniatures. And stop motion animation. After all, I am a lover of miniatures and modeling.
What is the most memorable miniature you have ever seen by another artist?
Kiva Atkinson‘s miniatures I saw many years ago. Apart from being well made, they always bring a smile to my face. I remember bad time for octo miniature where she presented the octopus who drinks milk and reads a fish tales book before bad-time. It’s really fantastic! She is fantastic!
How can miniaturists and miniature collectors help keep the art alive?
It can happen only if we never give up on art. We have to respect each other and encourage creativity. Each of us is unique, but with our individual effort, talent, and ideas, we all can make this world a better place.
Because it is a small world in which reality and fantasy collide, resulting in pure love.
What types of miniature food will you be working on next?
The next miniatures I plan to sculpt are fruits and vegetables. I want to refine my work in this sphere. Certainly, I will make more cakes. I love to sculpt cakes.
What’s to come from Mmm… by Selma? Any upcoming projects?
Soon I will hold my first workshop in Belgrade, Serbia. I’m very excited about it! After that, I plan to devote myself to the private project: ‘miniature a day.’ Recently, I opened my Etsy shop where I want to place more of my miniatures and miniature jewelry. My first doll is in the works. That’s another reason why I’m looking forward to going to Belgrade — to get all the necessary materials and tools for my future dolls.
Motto or words you live by?
“When we do fantasy, we must not lose sight of reality.” —Walt Disney
Reading and listening to the music — this comes under my daily routine. I visit exhibitions and go to the cinema. I love soccer and enjoy going to matches. Long walks re-charge me. I love being surrounded by people I love and it always goes to the abnormal dose of laughter that invigorates body, mind and soul.
Mmm… by Selma was created by Selma Mahmutovic who is based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Shop her work now on Etsy. To see more of her miniature creations (and lots more mini food!) check out Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Flickr. You can follow along on Twitter and see what’s new on the Mmm by Selma blog and DeviantArt.