Daily Mini Interview: Miniatures by Petitpunt

Miniatures by Petitpunt

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What does “petit punt” mean?

IMG_0443When I first started out on social media I joined a platform with the extension .punt.nl and as I wanted to share my tiny work I called myself petit.punt.nl. after the French word for small‚ “petit.” I soon diverted to Blogger but since the username “petit” had already been taken, the name “petitpunt” remained for practical reasons.

How did you first get started in miniatures? 

As a child, I’d always had an interest in tiny things. At the age of ten, I’d painted my own stamp collection, and I even contemplated to become a watchmaker. But life took its course, and I studied graphic design. I did build real life furniture, did a lot of DIY but nothing small.

Around 2007, my mother-in-law at that time shared her childhood dream to own a very specifically crafted dollhouse. Because of her arthritis and the specific design of the house, I offered to build it for her. When that was finished, I continued to build furniture to her liking, to fill up the dollhouse.

Do you have a favorite type of miniature to make?

There’s no specific thing I lean toward. I’ll build whatever grabs me or seems challenging. For the past few years, it’s been mostly furniture. Still… one of the last things I’ve built was a pair of snowshoes and they were lots of fun to do too!IMG_0135

What inspires you?

When it comes to new projects, it can be anything! A trip to a museum, a window display, or a story someone tells me. But the biggest one was probably coming to the IGMA Guild School for the first time. The exhibit of fellow participants’ work just blew me away! To see what people were capable of just opened up everything for me, made me realize I had only just started and it inspired me to believe that anything was possible if I pushed myself. Nowadays, it’s my latest build that inspires me most. I see the things that went wrong, the things that turned out not as good as I wanted to, and that sets me to do better the next build.

How did you become involved with the International Guild of Miniature Artisans (IGMA)?

Sharing the build of my mother-in-law’s dollhouse on the Internet made me discover the miniature scene here in Holland. Next thing I knew, I was going to a miniature show here in Apeldoorn, and that’s where I met Josje Veenebos. She told me about IGMA and their amazing Guild School. She’d just received a scholarship herself and although I was very insecure if I’d fit the bill, she really pushed me to apply for a scholarship too and, for that, I’ll always be grateful to her. If you’re eager to learn and grow, nothing beats a week long experience of being submerged in knowledge and surrounded by people sharing their miniature skills.

wVY20R2xYQn8v6vqtzch_hRk38EE_THcLhZPW5vsGXgAdvice for beginner miniaturists?

First and foremost: enjoy what you do! Second: stop comparing yourself. In all honesty, everyone started out the same! Remember that even the people you and I look up to today started out as beginners. They simply have had 30 or odd more years of practice. So, don’t be intimidated by where others are right now. Look at it as a journey you’re on, and realize that it’s your journey! Build whatever you like, make it the way you want it to be, and if it doesn’t happen the first time that’s perfectly fine too! For certain you practiced a technique, discovered what worked and what didn’t, and maybe you even learned a few new skills along the way. But never let your faults or flaws discourage you… just keep at it, build whatever you love to make, and simply take on board what you learned the last time. Embrace your mistakes because they can show you where you have room to improve. And then there’s no doubt you and the people around you will love the unique pieces you’ll come up with.

What is the most memorable miniature you have ever seen?

The one that straight comes to mind is a 1 :144 scene made by Nell Corkin. It was in 2010, my first time at Guild School, and I was in constant awe of all the awesome miniatures I had seen so far. During sale night, Nell had various scenes on display and that’s where I saw her Gourd House. I recognized it from her blog and although her pictures were great, seeing it for real hit a cord deep within. It was so much better, a thousand times better to see it for real, it had so much detail to take in… the shrubs and plants surrounding this mystical house. The acorn dormer rooms… this delightful interior… It was the epitome of a miniature and the embodiment of creating your own fantasy.

Why miniatures?fJO_4DSCo7bP5rAU9TKZGBrlIK-da6FX-TO1DKFGk8w

Looking back I’ve always had a fascination for all things small. Miniatures in nature or even in engineering… My guess is what makes you tick never leaves you and when the time was right in my life, it came back to the surface again.

What appeals to you most about what you do?

The research, there’s no doubt about that. I love how my knowledge increases with each new project, as I venture into the unknown and investigate the life size object that I want to reproduce. For instance, the snowshoes I’ve recently made… I dived into the Internet to learn how they are built and, along the way, I discovered the history of these shoes. How they played a major role in the lives of Native Americans. How the surrounding nature led to specifically suited sizes and shapes; how various groups developed their own distinct decorative patterns into the weavings; and many more little details. As a European, this tiny part of American history was completely unknown to me and by taking on this shoe project, I gained even more appreciation for all the variations in culture we can find in our beautiful world.

IMG_0453New minis in the works?

I have a few commissions to finish before I can turn to my own list of things I’d like to build. One of them is Jane Austen’s writing table. It’s a very simple piece but I can’t wait to make it. But first, a logo stamp and a revolving book case with five shelves for my clients.

What’s to come from Petitpunt?

My plan is to keep on building pieces that are challenging to me. Whether a new technique, material,or construction… so I can learn and grow, develop my skills, meet new people along the way and share my journey through miniature land on my blog.

Debora Beijerbacht of The Netherlands heads up the Petitpunt brand. To see many mini more of her miniatures, head on over to the Petitpunt blog!