Daily Mini Interview: Atomic Miniature

Atomic Miniature by Michael Yurkovic
Classic Mid-Century Modern Furniture and Accessories in 1:12 Scale

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DSC09549 copyMy brand in this world is Atomic Miniature, dedicated to producing museum quality Mid­‐Century Modern furnishings and accessories in 1:12 scale for the discriminating collector and miniaturist. I recently launched a GoFundMe campaign to support my craft with new tools and machinery. You can learn more and donate here!

Campaign Update: The Daily Miniature will match your donation to Atomic Miniature’s GoFundMe campaign! Contact dailymini@thedailymini.com for more information.

My formal training as an Industrial Designer exposed me to the world of design in general, and especially to the great designers/inventors of the mid 20th century, including Charles and Ray Eames, George Nelson, and Eero Saarinen to name but a few. I grew up in a middle class, blue­‐collar family, and really didn’t have the exposure to these works of contemporary art in my everyday world. As I became more experienced as a designer, my appreciation for detail evolved, and I began to realize what made some of these deceptively simple designs so special. That is the major challenge for me in depicting designs from this era in scale: there are few elements to portray, but they must all be done with precision, and sometimes according to the eye and not the raw dimensions.

R8 copyOne of my careers to date has been as a professional toy inventor. I worked with my partner in all aspects of the discipline, from brainstorming initial concepts, to sketching, prototyping, and finished concept renderings. Then there was the presentation aspect, presenting to high­‐level management from Hasbro, Mattel, and more. We sold a few concepts, and even managed to have an item included in the Museum Of Contemporary Art store in NYC. I learned tons about prototyping, electronics, mechanisms, materials, and various processes while doing this. We built all our own demonstration prototypes, so I had to learn many new things, especially about lighting and electronics. Very cool and challenging stuff.

Enough about me for a minute, there are some miniaturists out there who really do it for me. Bill Robertson, whom I had the pleasure of studying with for 6 days in Castine, Maine this past June. So much in the way of pure skill, historical knowledge, and teaching abilities wrapped into one. Add to this a great sense of humor and un­‐rockable patience. It was an amazing time! Another idol of mine is Ichiyoh Haga from Japan. 3 copyHis work, like Bill’s, is so delicate and sensitive. Blows me away. His work in metals, wood, and any number of other materials cooks my mind. I especially like his Parisian shop fronts from the early 20th century. Lovely work!!

Ok, back to me, besides Mid­‐Century, I find myself drawn to any number of styles. A bit schizophrenic yes, but having done a 17th century sewing stand in Bill’s class recently, I had a whole new appreciation of that era. Same with the work of Mark Murphy. His cabinetry is so beautiful and delicate; I want to know more about that. Nell Corkin and her wonderful work in 1:144. I’ve dabbled in that a bit, but she makes me want to dive in headfirst. Then there is Elizabeth Gazmuri and her wonderful claw foot cabinets. Mind-blowing, and something I’d love to try. Beth Freeman­‐ Kane and her wonderful petite dioramas, so delicate and wonderful. I am so drawn to all that goodness.

Ash3 copyI’ll be showing again with Tom Bishop at his fall Chicago Show, come by and say hi. Tom puts on a great event, and I’m happy to be there. Later on in November, I’ll be in Philly, where I hope to play some serious ping pong again with the dailymini team.

Advice is such a curious thing, but if there’s one thing I can suggest, and it may sound cliché-ish, but do what you love. If it’s art deco great, if it’s tiny animals, do it. If it’s something completely different like surfing, do it. There is only one you, damn it!

Industrial Designer and artisan Michael Yurkovic has over 33 years of experience. To support the development of his museum quality miniatures, you can now donate to his GoFundMe campaign. For more information and images, visit the Atomic Miniature website and make sure to follow along on Instagram and Facebook.

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Daily Mini Interview: Miniature by Masako

Miniature By Masako

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How did you first get started in miniatures?

After my husband and I moved to the United States from Japan in 2010, I spent a lot of time looking for my next calling in life. I thought for a long time about what I wanted to do in my new life here in the States. I had previously worked with a couple of European fashion companies in Japan as a merchandiser for 20 years. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI loved my job, but I felt I had worked for designers for a long time. Now was the time to make something on my own!

While refinishing some old furniture, I noticed how beautiful natural wood can be after sanding. These particular furniture pieces were made about 90 years ago, and I said, “I took off your old makeup, now you can breathe fresh air.” Since then, I have admired the beauty of wood and the history of furniture. I thought, “I am not sure I can make life-size furniture, but I might be able to make miniature furniture.” And one day, if someone likes my work and decides to own it, she or he could pass it down from generation to generation. If I could make such works, what a splendid thing this would be! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd I would be quite honored! This is absolutely what I wanted to do. I had to find a miniature school. My dream grew day by day. And then my passion for miniatures started.

After attending the IGMA School in 2011, the world of miniature history and craftsmanship fascinated me. I had known it was bold idea for me to participate in the school, but I wanted to take miniature craftsmanship very seriously. I developed a deep respect of miniatures and the original inspiration in life-size furniture. I worked tirelessly to realize reproduction details. I aim to never gloss over any original details in my 1:12 scale miniatures. I really enjoy the difficulty of creating these pieces!

How has your work evolved over the years?

For my first 2-3 years as a miniature maker, I focused my passion on determining what style of furniture “clicked” for me. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI learned and developed my skills and techniques, rather than focusing on selling minis. For the past 2 years, I have focused on developing my skills further in hopes of obtaining the title of Artisan from IGMA. I soon learned what a wonderful experience it was to be a show dealer! Seeing people’s happy smiles and surprised faces makes me so very happy, and definitely energizes my work. Since I can only make a limited number of miniature furniture pieces per year, I sell these and take new orders at shows. Customers can contact me by email for commissions and I’m happy to share images of my work through online photo albums.

Where does your interest in miniatures stem from?

I’ve always been fond of the French style, especially Louis XV and hand carved furniture. Since I’ve been working in miniature furniture, I remembered from my childhood that I loved making mini, mini origami and wood carvings. I’ve also always loved Marie Antoinette.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

What fellow miniaturists inspire you?

Geoffrey Wonnacott and Harry Smith.

Non-miniature sources of inspiration?

French cabinet maker François Linke and the Furniture Collection of Versailles (2 Vol. Set).

Where will you be exhibiting next?

I expect to attend Philadelphia Miniaturia 2015 from November 6-8.

For more information and images of Masako’s absolutely breathtaking miniature furniture, visit her website and Facebook page.