Daily Mini Interview: Miniature Sculptures by Willard Wigan

Micro Sculptures by Famed Artist Willard Wigan MBE

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How did you first get started in micro sculptures? Were you always drawn to miniatures?

camelsAt school I suffered from a learning difference. This resulted in me being criticized for not being as able as the other students. Whilst I played truant, which sadly was quite often, I submersed myself into a world of miniatures. I was fascinated by ants, not knowing where they lived. This was the catalyst to me making houses, furniture and playing objects for ants.

How has your work evolved over the years?

I have been creating micro sculptures for 50 years. My work has evolved from its very rudimentary form when I first started. Over the years, experience coupled with more advanced microscopic equipment has allowed my work to become smaller and more detailed.Hummingbird

For a time, I did carve large objects, life size out of wood, but it has always been the micro sculptures that has been my signature.

What materials do you use to make your miniature sculptures? 

Materials vary depending on the piece I am working on. But common materials are gold, glass, Kevlar, nylon and cable tie.

Describe your process.

Usually I create the sculpture, then place it into the eye of the needle, or onto the head of a pin. I work mainly with one high powered microscope, but the control comes from my hands as I work in between pulse and heart beats.

Advice for beginner artists?

Perseverance and dedication. If at first it goes wrong, which it will, keep trying.

273272_last_supper_eFINALTool you can’t live without?

I make my own tools, which vary depending on the piece I am creating. So, it’s not a matter of living without a particular tool. It’s more a case of creating and fitting each tool to create each piece of work.

Favorite work of art you own by another artist?

I don’t have any other artists’ work at my home. In fact, I do not even display my own work after creating it.

Most treasured micro sculpture you’ve created?Prince-Albert-Copy

The Last Supper, because of the time it took to create, the microscopic intricate detail in the piece, and its symbolism.

What has proven to be the most difficult sculpture to create?

Probably the Prince Albert. The necessity to ensure the horse was perfectly and equally proportioned from its head to its hooves and tail. Then, to ensure that Prince Albert was perfectly placed into the saddle with his boots into the stirrups. Whilst the completed piece might not look as difficult as some of my other creations, it was actually probably the most difficult.Coronation-Crown

Artists you look to for inspiration?

Michelangelo and Leonardo di Vinci are artists who I take inspiration from. I can take several months to create a piece. These masters could take years. Their dedication and perseverance should be an inspiration to any artist.

Why micro-sculptures? What appeals to you most about what you do?

Why, as I said before, it stems from my early childhood years. The appeal—it’s not the creating the work, because this is painstaking. The satisfaction comes when I finish a piece and then watching people’s reactions when they place their eyes for the first time over the microscope to view the work.GF02w_ARTPIECE1_Or_Gris_CloseUp_A4_RGB

Tell us a bit about your collaboration with Greubel Forsey.

Watches by the Swiss company Greubel Forsey are perhaps the most bespoke in the world. After 4 years of research and development, they have created a timepiece housing a built-in microscope to view one of my art pieces. This is all encompassed inside a fully functional Greubel Forsey timepiece. It is quite remarkable how they have achieved this.


Upcoming exhibitions or projects planned?

A documentary about my work is being shown on Channel 4 on Sunday, July 8, and I have a new exhibition starting July 6 at Broadway Museum and Art Gallery.

Further exhibitions of my work, both in the UK and overseas, are being planned for 2019. In January 2018, I was humbled to receive an honorary doctorate from The University of Warwick and am greatly looking forward to working with this world-class university on a number of exciting projects.

What other hobbies do you enjoy?Golden-Harley

To relax I listen to music, Motown being my preferred choice. As for hobbies, I enjoy combat types of sport such as boxing or UFC.

What do you want miniature fans to know about you?

I am affiliated to 3 principal charities. The Nelson Mandela Children’s charity, the Siegfried and Roy animal charity and the less know but no less important Adenium Foundation, which seeks to give children a positive start in life via personal development and education.

Willard Wigan MBE’s work in micro sculpture continues to astound after 50 years. To see more of his microscopic creations, visit his website today. You may also wish to follow along on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Daily Mini Interview: Miniatures by Little Architecture

Little Architecture 

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10666207_1639509596337540_156081047_nWhat’s your earliest memory with miniatures?

I have always been obsessed with the microcosm. All my play as a child explored this theme; I loved miniatures because they were small and secret… something most people walk right by without noticing. My favorite game from as early as I can remember was to run around and pretend I was a bird flying in the sky, imagining the patterns on the sand at the beach, grass or carpet were vast landscapes. Crouching down close I could see all their tiny and intricate details as a giant. I also loved to create tiny houses and towns in the garden for the fairies. When I was five, I discovered dollhouses existed and from that point on, I collected anything which looked miniature, including all sorts of junk (bottle cap chairs or shell plates). By the time I was 10, I had a significant collection of random objects which were very precious to me!

Can you share a first memory with architectural design?

When I was 10, we moved from the far north of the Queensland to southern Victoria. The architecture in the south of Australia is vastly different to far north Queensland and it blew my mind. There are no decorative or historic houses up north due to the destructive tropical climate. Victoria however is full of whimsical Victorian era houses with decorative ironwork and beautiful eclectic designs. The age of the houses was also amazing to me. Up north most houses are modern, and there is no sense of longevity or history in them. These houses down south captivated me with their antiquity. From that time on, I became obsessive… drawing houses and riding my bike around mapping their locations and looking for more. By the time I was in my later teens, I was familiar with all the historic houses in my city and could tell you their location if I saw them in the real estate pages of the newspaper. My fascination with architecture and building history has never relented.

12301423_833081353467051_1937535383_nHow did you first get started making miniatures?

My interest in miniatures stems from my interest in architecture and my fascination with microcosms. I began to seriously try and make miniatures when I was around 13. I planned a large dollhouse, and got as far as making the shell. However, I didn’t really know how to complete it and it was left unfinished and had to be thrown out (it was also structurally unsound!). However, I tried a few more times and had properly finished my first dollhouse by the time I was 19. The architectural style of my dollhouses is always in accordance with the architectural period I am interested in or studying at that time. I have finished about six more houses in the decade since: three Victorian houses, two mid twentieth century, one Georgian and one Swedish Gustavian Style house.

Do you remember the first miniature you owned? 

The first “proper” miniature I ever had was a tiny plastic cognac bottle which came off the decoration on the front of a full size bottle which my Uncle bought in Switzerland when I was five. He took the real cognac and threw me the tiny one. I treasured that bottle because it looked so realistic to me and I still have it today!

What is the most challenging miniature to make? 

For me, furniture is the most challenging. I move through phases with miniatures. At the moment, I am focused on 1:24 furniture, in particular chairs. Before that, it was 1:24 houses, and before that 1:12 houses. I expect I will get back to the architecture side soon, after I have mastered furniture! Furniture is difficult because you must build it from many constituent parts, all of which must be designed so they fit together properly and are at the right scale too. Sometimes you can create a piece of furniture which looks nothing like what you set out to achieve, and so it is a process of trial and error.

Make your own Victorian hall lantern: DIY tutorial here!


12357394_1699847450249283_263771742_nWhat’s your favorite period and type of architecture?

In my architecture studies I have been most interested in pre-industrial revolution architecture. The great thing about miniatures is that you can explore whichever historical period or modern movement you are interested in in a tangible way without having to spend lots of money or travel around the world. I am coming out of a two year phase of serious interest in neo-Gothic architecture. It has been so interesting to study the genesis of the movement in Britain, but then learn how it mutated when it arrived Australia and later the U.S., and how each country has interpreted it through their own sense of climactic conditions and social. I have been exploring this period at the moment while having fun making Gothic style furniture and a 1:24 middle class American style Carpenter Gothic house.

Currently, I am working on a project in which I am trying to create an exact miniature replica of a pre-fabricated colonial cottage producing in 1833 for settlers to Australia from Britain. I found details and plans of the cottage in an historic book published in 1833 (Loudon’s Encyclopedia of Cottage Farm and Villa Architecture, Vol 1). I am halfway through the project and you can follow my progress on Instagram. It has been a great way for me to learn more about colonial architecture in Australia, as well as the framing and structure of the building.

In addition to neo-Gothic architecture, I adore the austere colonial Regency and Georgian Architecture of the early settlement of Tasmania. Tasmania was the first state of Australia to have a significant settlement, and most of the oldest buildings in Australia are there. I have spent many trips traveling to Tasmania to study and photograph these beautiful (and often forgotten) buildings.

Who are some of your favorite miniaturists?

My favorite miniaturists are usually those who have managed to achieve a great degree of realism and quality in their work. These include some obvious names, such as Mulvany & Rogers, Pat and Noel Thomas, as well as Tarbena Miniatures and Small-Time Miniatures. These miniaturists are professionals who only produce miniatures of the highest quality. Another favorite of mine is Patty of MinisX2 on Etsy, who produces wonderful handmade mid century modern furniture.

12328314_881727081943644_1855657230_nFavorite architects you’d like to cite?

I particularly love Sir John Soane. He was a British architect practicing in the late 17th and early 18th century in Britain. His impact was so great that buildings built by some of the great twentieth century architects, such as Venturi and Kahn were influenced by his work. I find it fascinating how architecture is a fluid thing. One movement influences another, sometimes imperceptibly, but it is always possible to trace the kernel of ideas back in time, sometimes even hundreds of years.

What advice would you give to new miniaturists? 

I would advise miniaturists to immerse themselves in experiencing and/or looking at real images of the objects or buildings they want to recreate in miniature. Too often, poor quality work is produced because the maker does not have a good visual understanding of the real object they are trying to recreate in miniature. When I find a new topic of interest (for example, Victorian parlour furniture) I study it obsessively, and immerse myself in images of that type of furniture. I will borrow dozens of books and relentlessly scour the Internet for reference material. I visit antique shops and study the shapes, sizes and materials. This is because I always strive for realism in my miniatures, and this can never be achieved without observing life very closely.

What is the most memorable miniature you have ever seen?

I visited the most amazing dollhouse shop in London while I was there this past June. The shop was run by an elderly lady and was packed from floor to ceiling with incredibly high quality miniature things. The lady who owns the shop is famed for her habit of not selling a tiny thing to a customer whom she does not deem worthy of the object. After about 30 minutes in the shop chatting to the lady and her devoted assistant, she must have decided I was worthy because she called me over to see “her best miniature.” It was a tiny working Swiss army knife created by miniaturist Laurence St. Leger. The object had won him the 2015 Perfection In Miniature Award at the Kensington Dollshouse Festival. Notwithstanding the object’s significant value, she allowed me to hold it and photograph it. She also told me that he had made another one a couple of years before, but it had fallen out of his hands and took him three years to find again…

12142037_899082560162024_151320875_nWhat is your hope for the field of miniatures? 

I would like to see more realism in dollhouses in terms of architectural accuracy. I hate it when companies create mass-produced houses which look awful because they are out of proportion or because the designers haven’t bothered to understood how houses of a particular style actually look. The Jasmine Victorian Dollhouse Kit by Laser Dollhouse Designs Inc. is the perfect example of this. Unfortunately, there is too much mediocrity in the mass-produced, cheap market. It can be difficult to get an authentic and well-designed house kit which does not cost the earth. In the long term, I plan to create a line of dollhouse kits which are architectural accurate but also inexpensive, for collectors and architectural enthusiasts who can tell the difference.

What would you like to see replicated in miniature that you have not yet seen?

I would love to see more architecturally accurate dollhouses from a range of periods beyond the standard Victorian and Tudor. There are so many wonderful movements and styles from throughout architectural history that are never really explored in miniature. I would also like to see more miniatures which are not just focused on English or American architectural styles as well. For example, traditional Japanese and Chinese architecture is incredibly beautiful and would translate wonderfully into miniature houses.

What’s to come from Little Architecture?

In addition to the new website, I have begun research for a range of commercial dollhouse kits which are architecturally accurate. I want to produce a wide range of houses, both from historical time periods as well as different cultures.

Emily Boutard of Melbourne, Australia is the creator behind Little Architecture, formerly known as Architecture of Tiny Distinction. She quit her job as a corporate lawyer to study architecture. You can see her miniature architectural designs and mini creations on the Little Architecture Website, blog and Instagram. Make your own by following her latest tutorials!

Daily Mini Interview: Miniature Sculptures by Jill Orlov

Miniatures and More by Jill Orlov

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KitchenBox2_1920x1280-960x600What’s your earliest memory with miniatures?

I had a Barbie townhouse, does that count? My mother assembled a kit dollhouse when I was in elementary school, I believe. I was very crafty as a kid, so it was more about fitting it out than the dolls. I never really was into the doll part of it. I was more interested in putting the furniture together, getting the miniature patterned wallpaper, making tiny food out of Sculpey, laying a miniature brick floor and grouting it.

Describe your return to miniatures later in life.

About five years ago, I saw a cigar box diorama art piece at a friend’s house and mentioned to another friend that it was the type of work I love. Coincidentally, she had a friend hosting a themed cigar box art show annually. My friend got me in touch and I did those shows for four years in a row. The last one was my most involved. It incorporated about 10 cigar boxes and I made little scenes in them, one was a miniature room using some of my childhood dollhouse furniture.

cigar-box-mirror-tea1_1920x1440-960x600How would you describe your work in a few words?

As a former architect, I would describe my artwork as the built world… in miniature. A description of my work in a couple words is hard to nail down: whimsically modern and industrial. I make functional art and whimsical objects.

What is the most challenging aspect of your work with industrial design?

Most of it is welded steel and due to the (tiny) size of some of the components, it is extremely time consuming and tedious… but I love the minutiae. Some of the artwork incorporates old wooden drawers and crates, such as the Rooms in Boxes series. So welding around the old dry wood is a challenge, trying not to set anything on fire.

Powder1What advice would you give to new artists?

I’m pretty new at it all myself, the part where I consider myself an artist and am now selling my work. I think having a supportive network of artsy friends is worth a lot, whenever I get stuck, I can run an idea by someone and it loosens the gears to have a new set of eyes looking at the work. Stepping away from a piece is also important when I hit a road block. Also, reach out to other artists that you admire. I have gotten great advice from several.

Favorite miniature work you own?

Library-Box-progress2_1920x1440-960x600I have a couple pieces that I’d like to give a shout out. Cathy Evans, the woman who curated the group Cigar Box shows, made a piece that I always coveted and now proudly display in my home. It is an altered doll made into a racecar driver. The racecar is a wooden shoe mold. The second piece is one of the cigar boxes that was displayed in the first group Cigar Box show that I participated in. It is by children’s book illustrator Kevin O’Malley. The piece has these miniature bowling pins colored and painted to look like an orchestra. It is beautiful.

What inspires you?

The delicate juxtaposed with the everlasting. Work that shows a sense of time and thoughtfulness.


What is the most memorable miniature you have seen?

So many to choose from, here are a few that stand out: apparently several artists are excelling at this – the carved pencil lead while still part of the pencil and the daily miniature calendar work of Tatsuya Tanaka.


What is your hope for the field of miniatures?

I would love to be “discovered.”I think my work crosses into several areas, the world of miniatures, industrial, modern, fantastical and of course, the whimsical. My hope for the future in general is that the art of craft is not a lost art form. Pride in the workmanship, craftsmanship and quality of materials comes back in the forefront versus the throw away culture that seems to be all too common.

What would you like to see replicated in miniature that you have not yet seen?

As some say, I’m afraid everything has already been done, but I hope not.

Why miniatures?

Somewhat embarrassingly, I’ll admit to what I’ve always called my Thumbelina complex. I have a secret but kept quiet admiration of the fairy world. Didn’t every little girl wish she was able to live in Genie’s bottle?


NestingChair_1000x758-997x758What’s to come from Jill Orlov?

I have two new Rooms in Boxes: Library in a Box and Powder Room in a Box. Barely started is the Laundry in a Box and Window Seat in a Box.

Motto you live by?

Do what you love for as long as you can so there are no regrets

Other hobbies you enjoy?

Traveling, walking our dogs in the woods, finding and reading a book that I can’t put down (unfortunately, I have a hard time focusing so they aren’t as frequently found as I’d like).

Anything else you would like to add?

I take commissions.

Jill Orlov is an award-winning sculptural furniture designer/fabricator and artist based in Baltimore, Maryland. You can have a look at many more of her mini and mega creations on jillorlov.com as well as on Instagram.



Daily Mini Interview: Fine Art Miniatures by Natasha Beshenkovsky

Natasha Beshenkovsky Miniatures

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IMG_2892Can you describe your background in the arts?

I have been a professional artist all my life. I started my professional training at the age of 11 when I entered an art school in Moscow under the supervision of Academy of Art, where I continued my training for 7 years. After that, I studied film at the Moscow Film Institute. I graduated as a director and focused on short, 3D-animated films. I designed, wrote and directed the films which were shot on flat tables and used props approximately the size of 1:12 dollhouse scale. Through my work in animation, I got great experience painting and sculpting in small scale.

When I came to this country, I was first trying to work in textile design. It wasn’t interesting or satisfying for me. My friend had read a New York Times article about the Guild Show. It was 1980 and there was tremendous interest in miniatures at the time. Museum-quality collections were kept by lots of collectors. I saw that new artists were welcome at the International Guild of Miniature Artisans’ Guild Show so I attended and saw what artisans were creating at the time. I thought, “I could do that,” and the next year, I was a dealer at the Guild Show and my work was featured on the cover of Miniature Collector. I started selling to collectors from the get go. I couldn’t create enough miniatures! I was always working on orders months ahead and my work sold immediately at shows.

IMG_3028Twenty years ago, I came up with decoupage prints, “Natasha Mini Decoupage.” These were sheets of decoupage for people to decorate inexpensive pieces of furniture. When glued onto furniture, it looks handpainted. It’s a way for people to own work they consider mine, though it’s a reproduction. They were very popular and sold all over the world. Today, you can find them available through a few dealers and vendors.

Through miniatures, I’ve met lots and lots of people. I have traveled all over this country and Europe. I’ve represented American miniatures in France where I was a guest of honor. In 2000, the Nassau County Museum of Art held a retrospective of my work. My current show at D.Thomas Fine Miniatures is a “15 years later” exhibition of my miniatures.

She grew and grew...What is your favorite type of miniature to make?

When I started working in miniature, my specialty was painted furniture of all styles, from the Renaissance to Art Nouveau. I made hundreds of elaborate screens, cabinets, French commodes, and so forth

I had an exhibition at Flora Gill Jacobs’ Washington Dolls’ House and Toy Museum where I showed environments with figures in them. I started making figures and became more interested in sculpture about 15 years ago. I would create small, cartoonish characters in different historical styles. I would make three dimensional images out of flat planes of wood. My most important work in this field was the Central Park panorama that included rollerbladers, families, strollers, trees, the landscape of New York, and more. Featured in Miniature Collector, it’s four feet long and belongs now to Holly June Browne, who commissioned this work.

What is the most challenging miniature to make, and why is it so difficult?

185978_1acbd65fc2874f068c0ca80e4fd6746eMy shadow boxes, which are also often called 3-D paintings are different from most shadow and room boxes because they are designed to create a complete optical illusion. Trompe-l’œil or “Fool the Eye” style painting, distortion of proportions and shapes, forced perspective are used to create a magical space behind the frame, an illusion of much greater depth. Also, these shadow boxes are reproducing not the real world, but images in different artistic styles. These are the most challenging works for me.

Can you tell us a bit about Still Life in Miniature, your work currently on display at D.Thomas Fine Miniatures?

IMG_2672A variety of pieces are on display at D.Thomas Fine Miniatures, not only from different genres but also from different periods of art. One interior featured is the Kitchen in Delft, a Dutch-style shadow box in forced or exaggerated perspective; it is essentially a 3D painting.

And there are two still life works, as well as painted furniture, animal sculptures and miniature paintings.

What’s your favorite period of art history?

My favorite is the work of 17th Century Dutch masters.

IMG_4155_opt (1)_opt (1)What advice would you give to new miniaturists?

You cannot do miniatures unless you enjoy the process. If you pursue miniatures exclusively as a career or living, you must enjoy the process as it is insanely time consuming. It has to be play not work for you. Nowadays, people pay me for what I’d be doing anyway. Unless you have this feeling, it’s very hard, repetitive, and time consuming.

My advice is to challenge yourself, change subject matter, and change styles.

What’s your hope for the field of miniatures in the future?

still-life italian 2I honestly hope that there is a new wave coming. When I was starting, miniatures were booming. There was definitely an old generation of collectors who have since disappeared from the scene. There were no new artisans for awhile. I have a feeling it’s coming now: new collectors and new artisans. There’s a growing interest in the United States for handcrafted and artisanal things, and miniatures happy to be one of them,

Miniatures were mostly historical, but it’s challenging and interesting to reflect our own contemporary life in miniature.

What inspires you?

IMG_3937Art and thousands of years of miniature history inspire me. I enjoy visiting the The Cloisters branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and often spend time looking at the reliquaries there; I find these religious objects to be inspiring.

Why miniatures? What appeals to you most about what you do?

I started doing art when I was a child, so it’s a life function for me: sleeping, eating, and making art. I try to keep challenging myself.

What are you working on these days?

audreyRecently, I started creating assemblages, which include full-size paintings on canvas, very realistic, almost photographic, combined with shadow boxes containing 3D miniatures of the same subjects. I showed some of these at Good Sam this past October. My largest work was sold to a prominent collector; people loved it even though part of the work was a little larger and not in 1:12 scale.

What’s to come from Natasha Beshenkovsky?

I’m showing work in a local art show by the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance taking place in February and March. This organization gave me a grant to create miniatures, specifically the Central Park panorama. I believe I’m the first miniaturist to receive a grant from an arts organization to create miniatures.

My next major show will be at the Good Sam Showcase in October.

What do you want miniature fans to know about you?

IMG_2939I think miniaturists know quite a lot about me, because I’ve been in this field for quite a long time, over 35 years, in fact. I’ve participated in all the major shows and my work is in the Kansas City National Museum of Toys and Miniatures, as well as other miniature museums.

I have this saying which has become a motto of miniature clubs: miniatures are not beautiful because they are small. Miniatures require that we concentrate our attention in this contemporary world where people rush and rush. They cause people to stop and think about how beautiful the world is, and how much time was put into the work. That’s the joy of miniatures. The intention and joy of the artist demands attention by the viewer.

Master artist Natasha Beshenkovsky creates a wide array of miniature art including shadow boxes, paintings, sculptures, decorated period furniture in 1:12 scale. Her miniatures are included in many museum collections in the U.S. and abroad. For more on her process and works of art for sale, visit the Natasha Miniatures website.

mama cat

Daily Mini Interview: 19th Day Miniatures

19th Day Miniatures

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Mrs. Lovett’s meat pie counter.

What’s your earliest memory with miniatures?

I had a sort of underprivileged childhood, minis didn’t happen until I was in my thirties.

How did you first get started making miniatures?

I picked up a partially built dollhouse at a tag sale and began looking into how to finish and furnish it. My interest grew from there.

Do you remember the very first miniature you ever made?

My first miniature I ever made was a Professor Van Helsing study room set. There was a cabinet full of books and medical equipment, a desk and chair decorated with things a man would have on his desk, as well as a vampire hunter’s kit with wooden stakes, crosses, and more. There was also a caged bat. I no longer have the set because it sold quickly.

A Willy Wonka inspired candy cart filled with ice cream cones and candies of all sorts.

What is your favorite type of miniature to make?

Fantasy miniatures are my thing, because my childhood was very rocky, and fantasy books and movies were an escape for me as a child. Things like that hold my interest and make it so I get to use my imagination far more so than regular household miniatures ever could. In a way, it’s me staying childlike inside, holding on to that part of me now that I can enjoy it.

What is the most challenging miniature you make?

For me the most challenging miniature to make is a regular household item, as I said before. For me there is little scope for imagination and it feels very dull and boring to me. If I want to decorate a normal house, I have my own real house to work on instead.

What advice would you give to new artists?

I needed to figure things out for myself. The Internet is a vast place to learn almost anything. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try new techniques. Some of the most unique aspects of making miniatures distinctly mine came from trial and error. Necessity is indeed the mother of invention. I am especially proud of my own unique water effects. I came up with a layering process that makes water unlike others I have seen anywhere else. People stop in and ask me a few times a year to divulge that secret, but I worked hard for that knowledge and I like to keep it as my own.

A Harry Potter themed Christmas tree with gifts and an owl and golden snitch tree topper.

Favorite miniature you own?

My absolute favorite has to be a pie counter inspired by the movie Sweeney Todd. I built it from scratch from the ground up, and it was as close as I could possibly get it to the movie version. I made every tile by hand with clay. It was filthy and buggy and had human parts on it. It was gross, quite frankly because the movie version was utterly disgusting and I was following that example. And therefore totally fun because it wasn’t like anyone else’s pristine perfect miniature. That’s not the sort of thing that I enjoy. In my own house yes, but to me, miniatures are a way to step outside the box and create a fantasy world as unlike the real world as I can possibly get. Give me fairy, witch, wizard, haunted house, vampire, mermaid miniatures any day over the normal every day stuff our own lives are comprised of. Give me magic! I see beauty in the unusual even when it’s not considered beautiful at all.

What inspires you?

Movies are a large part of my inspiration. Fantasy movies are wonderful sources of ideas. My love of them makes me want to make the things I see in them to see if I can do it to my own satisfaction. I am my own worst critic.

my fairy house 10
Driftwood fairy cove house.

What is the most memorable miniature you have ever seen by another artist?

I greatly admire Ericka VanHorn‘s clean workmanship and unique pieces. Her dragon bottles are top notch and her wizard accessories are the best I’ve seen anywhere. She has no equal that I have seen.

Why miniatures?

The mental stimulation of creating something by hand is what calls to me. Something themed and fantasy inspired. No other medium allows me to create the scenes I have in my head like this does.

What’s to come from 19th Day Miniatures?

Wizard cabinet.

I have an Alice in Wonderland tea table I made as closely as I could to the one in the Tim Burton film with live actors. I feel intimidated by some of the characters (making people is not my strong suit). I made a decent and convincing Maliumpkin (doormouse) sculpted in clay, and then promptly quit because I felt burnt out. The table was huge and covered in lots of food and tea pots and cups. The majority of it, I handmade. I liked the old feel of it, as though the table had been there for a very long time. There was a shabbiness to it, the chairs were torn and faded. I copied everything as exactly as I could. I really need to work on it and get more of the characters done.

Words you live by?

Never lose your childlike enthusiasm, or be ashamed of what you like. If I want to watch fantasy films like Harry Potter, Labyrinth, or The Dark Crystal until the day I die, that’s exactly what I’m going to do. I’m nothing if not loyal to what I love and I will enjoy it forever more.

What do you want miniature fans to know about you?

A headless horseman on his horse sculpted by me and my mother-in-law as a fun Halloween project one year.

I really enjoy my relationship with clients, I honestly do. I have kept in contact with many of them through the years and we touch base every so often to catch up. I enjoy friendly conversation and finding out about their projects. As a seller, I feel I am above average, because I give the best gifts I can with orders. There have been many times I have spent an evening or even two making a gift for a client that matches what they ordered. I enjoy it. I tend to charge less for pieces as well because for me, it’s less about the money and more about the craft and enjoyment of it. I want someone to have it, to be able to afford it. I also do payment plans for this very reason. If someone really wants something and will love it, I want them to be able to get it.

Miniatures are not about getting rich, they are about the joy of creation and the enjoyment of making something someone else will cherish and use for purely fun reasons only. They take me a lot of time and work to make. I want them to go to a good home with someone who will enjoy them.

Tara of 19th Day Miniatures is based in Oquawka, IL. Shop her latest creations on Etsy today! Have a look at what she’s been up to by visiting the 19th Day Miniatures blogTwitter or Pinterest.

Daily Mini Interview: Miniatures by miniThaiss

Miniatures by miniThaiss

|  Etsy  |  Instagram  |  Twitter  |  Pinterest  |  Flickr  |

012.JPGWhat’s your earliest memory with miniatures?

My earliest “mini” memory goes back to my childhood when my grandmother gave me a miniature 1:6 scale ceramic tea set. I enjoyed playing with it and I still keep it.

How did you first get started making miniatures?

Well, the first miniatures I ever made were the ones I made for my Barbie dolls when I was a child, such as accessories and clothes. The interest for the ones in 1:12 scale came few years ago, when I discovered the wonderful world of miniatures for real. Ever since that moment, I haven’t been able to stop making them.canvas

What is the most challenging miniature that you make?

The most challenging to make are definitely cherries in 1:12 scale because of their size. But maybe that’s the reason why I enjoy making them the most.

What inspires you?

015.JPGSince I mostly make miniature food, I get the inspiration from real food. Everything around me inspires me, I’m always looking for everyday items that could be transformed into a miniature or a tool for making one.

What is the most memorable miniature you have ever seen by another artist?

Any miniature by Tomo Tanaka.

What is your hope for the field of miniatures?obelix

I hope it develops even more, because there are many people in the world who appreciate miniature art.

Favorite miniaturists you’d like to mention?

I admire Tomo Tanaka (Nunu’s house), Angie Scarr, David Iriarte, Tereza Martinez, Susi Martinez, Sharon Cariola, Maritza Moran and many others.

043.JPGWhy miniatures?

I find miniatures very challenging; they require great attention to details, and therefore they are a great form to express my love for details.

What’s to come from Tajda Tufek?

I would love to take part of a miniature fair in the future, so that I could meet other miniaturists and exchange ideas. In Barcelona, maybe.

Other activities you enjoy?

I enjoy painting, drawing, skiing and playing table tennis.

The miniature brand of miniThaiss was created by Tajda Tufek who is based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Have a look at more minis on Etsy, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Flickr!


Daily Mini Interview: Miniatures by Carissa Rho

Miniatures by Carissa Rho

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Turkey mashed potatoes and cornHow did you first get started making miniatures? 

In April 2015, I stumbled upon a YouTube video of someone making edible miniature food and after a few more clicks through other videos, I ended up watching a polymer clay miniature food tutorial. It was like discovering a whole new world, really. I had some polymer clay left over from a sculpting project I did prior and I made a loaf of bread that same night. And I’ve fallen in love with it since then.

What miniature making technique is most challenging for you? 

For me, and I still struggle with this, it’s mixing the correct color. I have a ton of scrap clay because the colors weren’t correct for what I was working on. All it takes is for a little too much of one color and it can throw everything of. I usually find use of the scrap clay later, so it’s not a loss, but color mixing is definitely something I’m still learning. I look at a lot of my earlier pieces and I can see that the color is a little off for some of them.Earlier miniature in the back and miniature remake in front

What advice would you give to new miniaturists?

I’m still very new to the world of miniatures. I just started making them eight months ago. But I will say things I’ve learned that will help.

1. Research, research, research — Before starting any new hobby, you’d want to learn about it. Learn about techniques, products, and tips. The more research I did, the better my investments became and the less mistakes I made. And speaking of mistakes…

Miniature maki rolls2. Don’t be afraid to mess up. — When I was just starting, I’d be afraid to try new things because I wasn’t sure how it would turn out. However, that’s the only way you will figure out new things; by trying them. Once you keep practicing, it gets better and you get more confident in your abilities. (Even though you probably would still have to scrap a few pieces every now and then.)

3. Study. — You’d be amazed at how you look at food differently and how increasingly realistic your miniatures look once you start studying the textures and colors. Paying attention to the details really makes a difference. I notice so much more about food these days, besides the best part; the taste.Earlier miniatures and their smaller remakes

What inspires you?

Life, really. Everything around me. Almost anything inspires me to create. It may sound cliche, but it’s true. Art, music, food, animals, etc. I find inspiration from all of those. I could see two people laughing and be inclined to draw or write. I could see a plate of food and be inclined to create a miniature. It’s a lovely feeling. Although inspiration doesn’t always come as instantly, I appreciate it when it does come.

Miniature waffles and baconWhat is your hope for the field of miniatures?

I’d actually like to see more miniature work on a local scale. I’m the only person I know that does it in The Bahamas. Not saying that no one else does it, but to know and meet them would be amazing. Having an open network to meet new artists both locally and abroad is important. That’s why I love what the dailymini is doing and I’ve found tons of new miniature artists through this account. So, I hope that The Daily Miniature continues to grow and bridge artists from all over the world together.

Miniature cheesecakesHow can miniature enthusiasts help keep the art alive?

Honestly, the main thing would be to support. Whether it be financially, sharing someone’s work that can lead to opportunities and growth, or collaborations. Support is vital. I’m new to this industry so I’m still learning the ins and outs. However, without the help (tips, tutorials, sharing) or inspiration from other miniaturists, I probably wouldn’t have seriously started or continued because I wouldn’t know where to start. So being willing to share your talents and skills helps artists like me who are just starting out. And the support of other artists helps a lot.

Favorite miniaturists you’d like to mention?

There are a few: sugarcharmshopmadame_patachoupolymerkitchensnowfern, and vilmascrafts.

Miniature GyozaWhy miniatures? 

There is so much I love about making miniatures. I’ve always been interested in sculpting and creating so it really satisfies that desire to create. So, just having the ability to create is something I appreciate the most. The process; taking blocks of clay and making it into small plates of realistic-looking food and putting these things together is a wild ride. It is also very calming for me (even though it does get frustrating at times). I feel so at ease just spending hours sculpting various things.

IMG_20150428_002623What’s to come from Carissa Rho?

Nothing major or concrete right now, but I’m still planning for this year. I have started challenging myself by choosing a specific cuisine and making miniature food of that particular cuisine for the entire week. It has helped me learn about other cultures and it pushes me to go out of the box. Also, I want to create more local (Bahamian) cuisine. I’ve already started and people seem to like them a lot. Because it’s easier to relate to, I think. I also want to open my shop up really soon. So my focus besides the actual crafting would be to start selling my creations. Be on the look out for that!

Miniature pork and beef udon soupOther activities you enjoy?

I love to draw and write. I also dabble in a bit of acting.

Anything else you would like to add? 

I just want to thank the people who have shared and liked my work. It means a lot and it encourages me.

Carissa Rho is from Nassau in The Bahamas. This up-and-coming talent continues to delight with her miniature creations on Facebook and Instagram. Make sure to follow her!

Daily Mini Interview: Miniatures by Cutchi Cutchi

Miniatures by Cutchi Cutchi

|  Website  |  Instagram  |  YouTube  |

image2.PNGWhat’s your earliest memory with miniatures?

My earliest memory with miniatures was going to the children’s museum in Chicago and always wanting to go to the “miniatures” room that they had there. I was always inspired by them, and I started seeing artists recreating tiny miniature babies in clay, and I started sculpting them. I always thought that anything that was miniature was cuter, so I began sculpting anything I could see in miniature scale: vases, school supplies, plates, etc.

What was the first miniature you made?

I don’t remember my first miniature, but I do remember it as being a baby. (A very ugly baby!)

image3.PNGWhat are your favorite miniatures to create?

One of my favorite miniatures to make are pencils, because they are simple to make, and easy to make look realistic.

What technique challenges you?

A very challenging technique I have learned is making anything hollow without a mold, such as a vase, bowl, or container.

Who inspires you?

One of the most inspiring artists I have come across is Sugarcharmshop on YouTube and Instagram. She is incredible, and makes her creations very realistic.

Advice for new artists?

Something I would tell beginning artists is, and I’m sure you’ve heard it one too many times, “Practice makes perfect.” It’s true!

image1.PNGWhat are you working on next?

I am starting and will continue to start on my idea of “scenes.” I have a good description of what they are on my website that I’m currently working on.

Anything you would like to add?

Lastly, what I want to let new and old artists know is that I am constantly learning new things every day, just like you. I always look at the new methods on sculpting, assembly, and selling my miniatures. There’s plenty I have learned, and there’s plenty I still have to learn.

Isabel Newman is the founder and owner of Cutchi Cutchi, based in Vernon Hills, Illinois. To see more of her creations, visit Instagram and YouTube

Daily Mini Interview: Miniatures by Joshua Smith

Joshua Smith of Espionage Gallery

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12391124_10153190717857097_7410971629207238610_nWhat’s your earliest memory with miniatures?

I have been fascinated with miniatures and modelmaking ever since I was little and can remember making miniature things out of cardboard boxes ever since I was very young.

How did you first get started making miniature sculptures? 

It first started about 5 or 6 years ago when I was in a group exhibition customizing dumpsters made out of MDF. I decided to grime mine up and made a miniature version of myself complete with replica clothing and went dressed in the same outfit. The interest stems from building model kits when I was a kid and I have always been fascinated with miniature scenes from model railroads.

Do you remember the very first miniature you made? 

It would have been the dumpster that I created for the exhibition 6 years ago with the miniature version of myself and glue bucket and broom. I still have it displayed in my glass cabinet amongst my art collection.

What is the most challe12390865_10153190719117097_8328960896860052481_nnging aspect of your work with miniatures?

I think the most challenging thing is working out what to make certain things from. This is one of the main reasons I love doing miniature work so much; I love a challenge and the problem-solving skills that come with trying to figure out how to get miniatures to look realistic.

What is your favorite period of art history?

Probably the 80s and 90s. I am very heavily influenced with graffiti and street art and this was when it was really coming into it’s own.

What advice would you give to new artists? 

Research. If you are doing miniature streetscapes like myself I often look at all the things that everyone overlooks like rust coming down a wall or where grime is forming. Things like gum on the sidewalk and discarded cigarette butts are the small things that can make a miniature street scene go from looking good to looking great. It is all these small details that make it.

What wisdom have you learned from your time as Gallery Director of Espionage?

My art career itself spans over 16 years having over 170 exhibitions worldwide but it is my time as Gallery Director of Espionage Gallery for 4 years that I find most valuable. Having that time working out how to put on exhibitions, market myself, do promotion, hanging artwork and everything coming from running a gallery really gave me an appreciation to the other side of the artworld. Very rarely do you see someone who has played both sides both as an artist and as the person selling the artwork. Both sides of the coin can be very difficult financially but gives you a greater understanding to how it works. It also makes you very dedicated and disciplined — something which now extends to my artwork.

What inspires you?

The city! Especially Melbourne. I live for the grime. I love alleyways filled with rubbish, grime and rust especially around the Chinatown precinct. To me, the grime and decay of old buildings really makes it for me and I think it tells more of a story and history than a clean pristine building.

photo (58)What is the most memorable miniature you have ever seen?

This is tough one! There are plenty of great artists that I follow now but Satoshi Araki is one of my favorites as he does things which are a little different. One of his recent works was of a shop front of a used robot shop with a Gundam robot, Wall-E and R2D2 out the front!

What is your hope for the field of miniatures?

It’s funny, when I really started getting into doing my miniature streetscapes about 6 months ago I thought I was the only person doing them. Since then I have come across other amazing artists such as Drew Leshko, Randy Hage, What the Hell and Satoshi Araki. I would love for these artists to come together and do an international exhibition of streetscape miniatures. I think the world is now just coming across this artform and embracing it as miniature sculpture you can display or hang on a wall rather than someone just doing a hobby. I would like to see the industry really come into it’s own in the artworld, and I think people like Drew Leshko are really pushing the movement forward.

What would you like to see replicated in miniature that you have not yet seen?

Again another tough one! There are plenty of amazing detailed beautiful buildings that I see everyday which I would love to replicate as miniatures. Unfortunately, due to their scale and complexity it would take me months or years to recreate at such a small scale!

Why miniature sculptures? 

I think it’s the challenge. I like making things which look realistic and I like to play with perspective. It’s funny when I take photos of my miniatures… people think that it is something that is actual real life scale but then when I take a photo of something in real life, they are wondering if it is miniature! I like messing around with that and it is something that I really enjoy doing.

12390907_10153190718067097_5466857223180694316_nWhat’s to come from Joshua Smith?

I am now looking to have a solo exhibition in the United States in either Denver, Chicago, New York or San Francisco. I am approaching galleries in the USA to make this happen. I’ve also recently been contacted by some leading galleries in London and Paris in regards to showing my work in 2016. I’m currently working on some small works for group exhibitions but aiming to do a solo exhibition in both cities.

I am also working towards a duo show which will be somewhere in the States next year working with Minnesotan based artist, Hanna Newman. Hanna and myself met in early 2015 and have collaborated on other projects in Australia but are now looking at working together in the U.S. The idea at this stage is making miniatures of spaces which Hanna has taken black and white photography of, and recreating these as miniatures and displaying them side by side. I would love to be able to also showcase this work in Japan next year as well.

In terms of Espionage Gallery, I may have another group exhibition most likely in Melbourne but aiming more to focus on my own work. I would love to organize a group exhibition of other miniature artists work here in Australia!

11828748_10152970253267097_4513290603536910472_nMotto you live by?

Never stop and never let anyone tell you what to do.

Other activities and hobbies you enjoy?

I love the cinema, especially old films and Hong Kong cinema. When I am not creating I am usually watching films both at home and in theaters. I love the escapism you get from watching movies where you can be transported to another time and place.

What do you want miniature fans to know about you?

I would just like to thank everyone for their support in my new direction. I was doing stencil art for the last 16 years and needed to move in a new direction which is now miniatures. As much as I love making minis, it is everyone’s support and advice that keeps me going so thank you! I would also love to express my appreciation for other artists such as Ryan Monahan, Drew Leshko and Randy Hage. You guys really inspire me!

Joshua Smith hails from Adelaide, Australia. Joshua worked in stencil art for more than 15 years and now focuses on miniature sculptures and his efforts as Director of Espionage Gallery. For more information, check him out on Instagram!

Daily Mini Interview: Alan Hamer Miniatures

Alan Hamer Miniatures

|  Website  |

brass,copper,tinWhat’s your earliest memory with metalworking and horshoeing?

Learning to weld, repair and fabricate ranching and farming equipment. I was building minibikes and go-karts at a very young preteen age.

At first, I just wanted to learn horseshoeing to do my own horses but, the more I learned, the more I wanted to learn. I studied it in college and corrective horseshoeing grew into a profession.

What’s your earliest memory with miniatures?

My father was an architect and I did some scale models of his buildings for him. I was very young and it was fun play for me then.

Do you have a favorite metal to work with?

Yes. I enjoy working with iron and steel the best. People do not believe me but I consider iron and steel to be the easiest and most forgiving of the metals to work with.

DSC00984What is the most challenging miniature to make?

Spiral staircases can be a bit tricky. if they start getting a little off it becomes a geometric progression towards doom.

What’s your favorite part about making miniatures?

It is most fun to design and fabricate things with moving parts.

Do you ever work in bigger scale these days?

Every now and then for chuckles… but I sold all of my real size metal tools when we moved to France for a while, and they will probably not be replaced for now.

Do you have a favorite miniature work you’ve created? 

Nope. When I finish a piece, I don’t much care about it any longer. On to the next.

ANTIQUE FRENCH FARM CHILD CARTS (1)As an IGMA Fellow, what would you say is the value of International Guild of Miniature Artisans membership?

The Guild is a great thing and it will plug you into the whole world of miniatures. You will make friends all over our world.

Is your miniature metal work for sale? 

It’s all for sale. But a few years ago, Pretty Wife and a few miniature friends convinced me that I should keep some of my things. First rule of life is that girls get what they want, so I started to keep some things. But now, when I look at these things I think, “sell them and add another motorbike to the stable?”

I do two shows a year, usually Chicago International and Good Sam where my work is available, and usually The Gallery Of The Guild has some of my things on their tables. I can also be contacted through my website.

Career highlights you’d like to recount?Child's pedal 'tin racer'

Two things stand out that made me proud. Once, in a rural café, I overheard the oldest rancher bragging to the others that I had ‘turned’ his horse Lightning’s front foot in just a few months after he had been trying to correct it for years. He had been shoeing horses much longer than I had been alive. And the other was the first time Ingaborg’s miniature magazine in Paris featured my work. Written up in Paris; I had arrived!

Favorite metalworkers?

Oh yes. Alexandre Gustave Eiffel of course. Great work all over France. And the great Polish blacksmith Samuel Yellin. Nearly one hundred years ago my Dad once had him for a toolmaking teacher in Philadelphia.

What advice would you give to new metalworkers and beginner miniaturists? 

You just must keep at it, is all. I truly believe what my grand mum always taught me: “it is in the water that we learn to swim.” The tools and materials are the best teachers, and will teach you just how they like to be worked.

childs trike trucksWhat inspires you?


What is the most memorable miniature you have ever seen?

You know when you drive across the desert, and you stop in one of those unkempt crummy gas station restrooms? A very, very well done one of those in miniature once made me cringe and shiver.

What is your hope for the field of miniatures? 

When I first started and when I was teaching at Guild School, the miniature world kind of looked like an old age home. Now it seems to be getting younger and seems much more international. We can help keep it alive by making miniatures that people just can’t live without.

What would you like to see replicated in miniature that you have not yet seen?

miniatures 059Not sure. I see things at shows that surprise me that people will make in miniature… including miniature packages of condoms for the bedside table. There isn’t much left undone.

What appeals to you most about what you do?

Making things is what I do. It really does not matter what or the medium. When I was doing real size work, ornamental iron, cast bronze, cast glass, I was always driving my 2 1/2 ton truck to the steel yard, and spending $800 for materials. I was always burnt up and dirty. Now I can jump on a motorbike, go to the shops and spend $18 on materials, put them in a pocket and ride home. Also the truth is that miniatures are very easy to sell. Anything of quality is sold right away.

What’s to come from Alan Hamer?

What’s to come? Too many commissions now so I must miss the next Chicago Show. I will be at Seattle in the spring as it is very close,, and I have not done it since back in the last century, and everyone says it is getting good again under a new promoter. I will return to Chicago in 2017. I am starting to do more teaching again. I taught a workshop at the Good Sam Show in October last year. The miniature world needs more metalworkers and I won’t last forever.

Watch this video of his miniature in action:

Motto you live by?

Never be afraid. Be good to the world around you. Have fun. Live with cats.

Other activities you enjoy?

Half a life ago when we met, one of the first things that Pretty Wife told me was that I look stupid driving a car, and that I should stick to motorbikes and horses. I still ride, restore, build, and fool with Italian, Russian, and British motorbikes. Too many old injuries coming back to haunt me now to still fool with horses, I’m afraid.

What do you want miniature enthusiasts to know about you?

I simply keep working and try to bring joy to living.

Alan Hamer of Alan Hamer Miniatures is based in Salem, Oregon. To see more of his miniature metalwork, visit his website today!