Daily Mini Interview: Miniatures by DomestiKate

Miniatures by DomestiKate

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What’s your earliest memory with miniatures?

When I was 7 years old, my dad built me a dollhouse and what I remember most about it was playing with the interior design, rather than any make-believe! I would just lay at the edge of my bed and stare at the dollhouse, visualizing different arrangements of the furniture. Ultimately, I had much more fun moving the tiny furniture and crafting pieces out of paper than would moving figures around to create narratives about their lives. It was likely from that point onward that I realized I’m a very visual person who simply loves crafting with my hands, including painting little pieces and just tinkering around.

How did you first get started making miniatures?

To be perfectly honest, my miniature flame was truly reignited quite recently. Over Christmas break, I began feeling restless, as though I were ready for a change. I had been reading Marie Kondo’s first book about decluttering and sparking joy; then over the course of a week, I sold, donated and gifted several items from my home to folks who really loved and needed them. It felt so great to see this joy and gratitude in others.

One evening, I went for a walk and explained this cathartic process to my girlfriend. Shortly thereafter, we entered her home and I was immediately drawn to an exquisite, unique dollhouse she had nestled in the corner of her office.

My friend, Christine, had been using the individual rooms as storage for office supplies! While I admired the piece, I asked Christine about its history. It turns out that her grandfather made the house for her piece by piece, shingle by shingle. It was shabby, needed work, but I saw great potential within it.

Once Christine saw the joy that it sparked within me, she called in her teenage sons. “Boys! Bring this dollhouse to Miss Kate’s car, please!”

This gift sparked such inspiration and creativity — I was crazed with excitement that hasn’t slowed since!

I started by first rehabbing the structural and exterior of the house, and am now completely lost in recreating my life in miniature. The miniatures that I make and collect are either replicas of items that we have in our full-scale home, or are things I wish I could have.

I love contemporary minis, which are so hard to find, which is why I get to create them myself.

It’s been beyond happy-making.

What is your hope for the field of miniatures? Are you a member of any miniature organizations?

The more I dove into the world of miniatures, the more I realized that my mission is to save this art from the brink of extinction! To that end, I’m a proud apron-wearing member of LoneStar Miniatures and The Society of American Miniaturists. I look forward to our monthly meetings. We cover business briefly, then take turns teaching a class. It is a treat to learn from these miniaturists.

I love being a part of these groups because the other members are true experts, who have been making minis for decades and decades. While I’m so excited to learn from their expertise, especially given that they’re mostly women, I’ve noticed that most of them are upwards in age!

We need more young people to apprentice under these masters and learn the trade.

Last weekend, I attended the Society of American Miniaturists convention in Killeen, Texas, where I worked alongside some of the best. Yet, it frightened me that I was the youngest person in the room — at age forty.

My plight is to share the art of updated, modern miniatures with a world of people who are craving creativity and coming back to the original art of being a “maker.” Because of that, I’d love to piggyback on the extremely popular surge of the maker’s movement and the resurgence of being a crafter or an artisan, which is why I am promoting big joy in little things.

My hope is to shine a spotlight that highlights the work of fellow miniaturists, while sharing my creative vision.

As you know, mini shops are closing. Enthusiasts are sort of splintering apart. That’s why I love dailymini‘s highlighting of miniaturists and want to join in on keeping this art alive.

Let’s reinvigorate the craft of miniature-making by creating generations of collectors and creators to come!

What is your favorite type of miniature to make?

Well, I have so very much to learn, but I love “making” plants. I know miniaturists who painstakingly make paper plants leaf by leaf with wire and paper. Their work is amazing!

I like to hunt the faux floral departments at craft stores to explore sprays of interesting synthetics that I can cut and trim, and re-create into minis. I love using tiny ceramic pots and beads.

Just like in my full-scale home, my mini house is filled with plants.

What is the most challenging aspect of your work with DomestiKate miniatures?

Oh my gosh — glue! I will create something fantastic and then during the final moments I will glob too much glue, then totally ruin the piece as I try to wipe it off. I think I need to invest in some syringes and experiment with different adhesives. I have a lot to learn on the subtleties of this art.

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

Anyone can do it!!!!

Yes, there are amazing artists out there… but the learning process is so joyful. I love to use recyclables, beads and buttons. There are tons of online tutorials and printables, too. Train your brain to scan for everyday items to reuse in miniature, because you truly don’t need to spend a ton of money. Just stay to play. When you get hooked, the rest will come naturally. Join me!

Favorite miniature you own?

Oh, this is too hard of a question to answer, because I’m a curator at heart. I cherish ever piece in my collection!

What inspires you? What keeps you creating?

I am dreaming in 1:12 scale these days… My life is filled with inspiration. I can’t imagine I’ll ever stop creating. I hope to expand my scope as I grow within it.

What is the most memorable miniature you have ever seen?

Okay, the item that freaks me out the most is mass-produced… it’s called “Little Sparky.” I mean, really people. This is sick.

Tool, material, or technique you couldn’t live without?

I use Aleene’s Tacky Dots all the time to keep minis in place. They are movable, but very sticky. I would go nuts without these.

Favorite miniaturists?

OMG! I admire so many miniaturists. I must say that I am most enamored with food artists, probably because I haven’t started playing with clay. My favorites that never ever disappoint and always have me running for my credit card are:

What would you like to see replicated in miniature?

I am an essential oil junkie. I would like to make a complete set of oils in miniature with some cool diffusers. It’s on my mini bucket list!!! I wouldn’t mind if someone else beats me to the punch. Any takers??

What’s to come from DomestiKate?

Because I’m excited about cultivating this art of miniatures for a modern era, I’m looking to create online DIY courses for a whole new generation of enthusiasts to enjoy at their own pace. I’m also looking to create more tutorials on YouTube, because I’d love to share my passion for making and crafting with people all around the world.

Words you live by…

Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift, that’s why we call it the present!

Favorite miniature quote?

“Big Joy in Little Things.”

Other hobbies you enjoy?

I love spending quality time with my family. My husband and children are everything to me. I’m soaking up all my moments with my teenagers as I see my time with them at home slipping away from me.

My favorite activities are: boating, cooking, gardening, hiking, traveling… the beach is best!

DomestiKate was created by Kate Strzinek of Austin, Texas. To see more of her marvelous miniatures, head on over to the DomestiKate website. Follow @domestikatethis on InstagramTwitter, and Pinterest. Make sure to like her page on Facebook and keep a look out for a YouTube channel… coming soon.