Daily Mini Interview: Ittyblox Miniature Buildings

Miniature Architecture by Ittyblox

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1What’s your earliest memory with miniatures?

That would be as a kid walking through Madurodam, a theme park in the Netherlands with Dutch miniature buildings. You can walk around them and even control some actions like opening a dam and so forth. It’s really great for kids and parents. Kids see the miniatures as big toys, while parents recognize the buildings and are fascinated about how detailed they are.

What are 1-2 pivotal experiences you had with architectural design?

As a kid, I always made buildings with Lego or paper and cardboard. I always thought they were great, but when I was a kid there was no Internet to post them or get inspired by the designs of others. Now, when everyone sees what others make by posting pictures and instructions, I think it’s easier to get inspired by the work of others. Hobbies are easier to get involved in.ParijsSC

How did you first get started making Ittyblox miniatures? 

I started making Ittyblox miniatures after I came across the 3-D printing platform Shapeways. I was 3-D designing for render-purposes during my study in architecture, but when I found out that this software allows you to create physical full color models without all the painting and gluing hassles, I was hooked. I could never get the right amount of detail I wanted in my miniatures, but now with 3-D printing, I could. On Shapeways, I could even sell the prints to others, so other people can grow a collection too without having to make them (either physically or digitally).

6Did you ever work in a larger scale? 

I have tried different scales, but the 1:1000 scale allows me to make both houses and skyscrapers within the reasonable boundaries of 3-D printing. For instance, the regular railroad scales are nice for villages and farms, but a city would be too big. I only make buildings in the same scale, because they can all be connected with one other. I take a lot of time to make a building; it would not be as satisfying if ittyblox buildings couldn’t be used together.ittycropsmall

Do you have a favorite building you’d like to mention?

Well, I am currently running a Kickstarter to get three sets of Paris buildings funded. One of them is the Sainte Chapelle. In this Gothic chapel, I really tried to get everything out of the current 3-D printing possibilities. Little details or too thin walls will break, so it is always a choice between printablity and detailing.
What’s the most challenging aspect of your work with Ittyblox?

KSprojectImageParisThe most challenging is to model buildings within certain technological constraints without making these constraints visible. It’s like building a sand castle: you cannot make thin parts, but you can add detailed reliefs. Details of only .1 mm are visible, but walls have to be 20mm in order to stay intact. The trick is to make buildings not too bulky by adding chimneys that don’t stand out much, and so forth.

Ittyblox was created by Stef de Vos of den Bosch, Netherlands. You can have a look at more miniature buildings by checking out the Ittyblox Facebook, Ittyblox Instagram, Ittyblox Twitter and Shapeways store. Support these design efforts on Kickstarter!

Daily Mini Interview: PetitPlat

Miniatures by PetitPlat

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What does “Petit Plat” mean?
It literally means “Little Plate” in French, but more figuratively translates to “a nice meal.”dailymini-Patisserie_Modern_Framboise

How did you first get started in miniatures?
In the summer of 2007, when still a student, I failed to find a summer job and went to stay with my parents. After two days, I realized I had to spend my time doing something crafty, so I looked on the Internet for a new craft or art of some kind. At that point in time, I had already tried various activities, such as beading, painting, knitting, and drawing. Being creative was a big part of my life.

By chance, I stumbled upon a miniature mango cake and thus discovered the world of miniatures, and more specifically, the world of miniature food. dailymini-BO_Fruit_BloodOrange-3This wasn’t something I was completely new to, as I did sculpt miniature food for my barbie dolls as a child. I had just forgotten about that hobby. So, after a bit more research on how to get started, I was out and about, purchasing some fimo clay. And from there, the passion started to grow.

dailymini-NL_Corals_GrandWhat types of miniatures do you make these days?
Almost only food. I completed a series on miniature coral for art jewelry pieces, and I loved that too. And, I love buildings, so I like to work on this as well, though I rarely find the time. No figures or flowers so far. Don’t have interest in sculpting either of these.

Right now I’m working on a daily challenge where I sculpt one fruit or vegetable each day. Exhausting at times, but mostly fun and my skills are evolving faster. You can follow along each day at dailyminiveggie.tumblr.comdailymini-2015_DailyVeggie_70Days-2

How long have you been creating miniatures?
I really started to sculpt on a regular weekly basis in 2008. Before that time, it was more playing than anything else.

Do you create and sell miniatures on a full-time basis?
Yes, I do. I also sell a lot of miniature food jewelry as well.

How has your work evolved over the years?
I create a great deal of miniature jewelry, as it’s the easiest for me to handle, since I’m able to replicate pieces. As for miniature food, this evolved based on my own interest.

dailymini-Savory_All-3What materials do you use to make your miniatures?
For food miniatures, I almost exclusively use polymer clay. For a whipped cream effect, I’ll use air dry clay. For other scenes or props, I use wood, paper, and anything else I find that might work.

Advice for beginner artists?
Follow your own path and obsessions. Work hard, improve a lot, but also rest. Enjoy this, and if you don’t enjoy it, just leave it be. Success is only possible if you’re passionate about what you do, as it’s the only way you will work really hard to make it work. dailymini-2015_DailyVeggie_65_Ananas-1And of course, the usual: find your own style and twist it to be unique. Don’t just become another artist making the same things that all other artists do. Not saying that this is necessarily bad; we all need to copy first in order to learn and make something original and many will only sculpt for themselves. However, if your goal is to live from your work, then you’ll need skills and ideas.

dailymini-Mon Atelier_Fev2-¦15-2Tool you can’t live without? 

What artists do you look to for inspiration?
Oh, there are so many! Kandinsky is on my wall, so he has to be the first, but I enjoy colorful abstraction in general. I very much like street art these days. I love graffiti artists Os Gêmeos, but there are many unknown ones too. I like to browse the site Colossal for new art finds.

Lori Nixdailymini-Miniature_Kitchen_Abandoned-4 made a series about a forgotten world that is brilliant. This brings me to my love for forgotten and abandoned buildings. I’ve visited and photographed a few with my mother. I love the raw honesty of those places. dailymini-2015_DailyVeggie_100Days-2Still thinking of showcasing these pictures online, but then I don’t always have time to showcase all the stuff I do.

As a general rule, I like art when it’s colorful and/or miniature.

Follow along for more fantastic adventures in miniature by France’s Stephanie. Head to Instagram, shop her store, visit her website, check out the blog and daily Tumblr, or enjoy the latest updates and images on her Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Flickr.