Daily Mini Interview: Miniatures by Calico Jewels

Miniatures by Calico Jewels

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How did you first get started in miniatures?

studded medieval chairsMany years ago, I used to be a quilter. I thought it would be amusing to start a collection of fancy thimbles. The catalogs that sold thimbles also had a few miniatures. It was love at first sight. First, I bought a tiny brass wine carafe with goblets and a tray. Then, I needed a table to put them on. Then I needed a room to put the table in. But a room needs to be within a house. See how easy it was to get sucked in?

How many years have you been making minis?

I started when I was 30, and I’m retired now (although I’m still 30 in my head)… And there were a few multi-year breaks from the hobby.

What materials do you use to make your miniatures?

Mostly basswood, but I also use various hardwoods such as purpleheart, tulip, walnut, cherry, and others. I also make mini tapestries and rugs, so fabrics and textured paper is used a lot.

Advice for beginner miniaturists?

Don’t be afraid to experiment, and be prepared for a few mistakes. It’s only wood (or clay, or whatever else). You can start again. Oh, and that fancy manicure? Forget about it. It’s extremely difficult to sand those tiny bits of wood with long, elaborate nails. You’ll need the money for more supplies anyway.walnut phoenix chair

Tool you can’t live without?

My Dremel Stylus takes first place, with my MicroMark scroll saw a close runner up.

What’s your favorite mini?

I’ve long since sold it, but my favorite mini that was made by another artist was a 1684 court cupboard by the late Warren Dick. I had several of his miniatures and his work was amazing. My favorite that I’ve made myself was a medieval scriptorium. It was suggested to me on Facebook that I consider building one. It’s now in a private collection in Texas.

What is your non-miniature inspiration?

I’ve used the ancient Book of Kells as inspiration for some of my tapestries and rugs. I’ve also gotten ideas for mini furniture from some RPG computer games such as Skyrim and Dragon Age: Inquisition. Yes, I like to play computer games. You’re never too old to have fun.

apothecary chestWhat is the most memorable miniature you have ever seen?

I’ve never seen it in person, but I think the most memorable miniature for me would have to be Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle.

Why miniatures? 

I love the romantic image of the medieval era – despite that I wouldn’t actually have wanted to live there. No coffee machines, cheeseburgers or modern plumbing! I can recreate that in miniature, with my own spin on how it might have been, with a bit of fantasy mixed in.

What’s to come from Calico Jewels?

Much of my furniture is one of a kind, so there’s almost always something new on my worktable.rustic livery cupboard

Other hobbies you enjoy?

I love to read, and if George R.R. Martin doesn’t finish book #6 of the Game of Thrones series soon, I may explode.

Anything else you would like to add? What do you want miniature fans to know about you? 

I’m a serious introvert – but that doesn’t mean I’m shy. I also rather enjoy being a bit weird. I don’t know if those usually contradict each other, but it doesn’t really matter. Despite the typical aches and pains of being over 30 (cough cough), I’m happy with my life.

Calico Jewels by Linda Sweigart is based in Pennsylvania. You can shop the Calico Jewels collection online via Etsy or check out new images on Facebook!

dragonscale chair & maps table