Daily Mini Interview: Adore Mini by Julia Cissell

Adore Mini by Julia Cissell

|   Etsy   |   Instagram   |

How did you first get started in miniatures?

CommonBlueEver since my first memories, I have felt a sense of magic in tiny things that have an unexpectedly large degree of detail! For me, seeing things that have great intricate detail presented in a small scale, has a special way of magnifying the beauty I see that is hidden in things that are commonly overlooked in that way. As a kid, I think my Barbie dolls were the first things that inspired me to start creating tiny things; I would make shoes, necklaces and intricately detailed hair barrettes for them from thin copper wire. I would make dresses for them from fabric scraps left by my mom’s sewing machine, taking care to make every small stitch in the hems evenly spaced so that it looked just like a real dress to me.

Why butterflies in miniature?

I could go on all day about my life-long fascination with butterflies! They are my favorite insects for so many reasons. Their mysterious communication behaviors and ability to see colors we can’t. How there are tens of thousands of butterfly breeds, yet, like people, they each have such unique characteristics that give them their special identity.gff5

In 2000, when I was brand new to polymer clay, I discovered the special technique of building a “cane” (a log of the clay that is constructed in such a way where a design runs throughout the middle, that can be seen when you cut it crosswise with a razor. After making a cane, it can be stretched out to a very small diameter, baked in the oven to cure, then cut slices from). Well that flipped a switch in me, and I was immediately inspired by both my passions for butterflies and for tiny things. I used this idea to make the wings of butterflies in miniature! Soon after, I discovered the popular scale of miniatures, “dollhouse” scale or 12 times smaller than actual size. I knew that would be the perfect scale to make them in! On average, the wingspans of the butterflies I make in this scale range from 1/16″ (1.5 mm), up to about 1/4″ (6 mm), depending on the breed.

Adore Mini used to be called “Gods’ Flying Flowers.” Where did the name come from?

SaraOrangeTipSideviewIn around 2005, I was selling my miniature butterflies on eBay before I discovered Etsy. A lady ran across a group of 3 miniature Anise Swallowtail butterflies I had listed on eBay, telling me she felt blessed to have found them in a search. She said that all throughout the past month since her son passed away, she had seen the same 3 Anise Swallowtail butterflies each day flying around her kitchen window outside, and referred to them as “God’s flying flowers,” reminding her of her son’s spiritual presence. She then bought them to keep on her kitchen window sill. I was so touched by her story that I wanted to use her reference to the butterflies as the title for my business!

What is the most challenging part of completing a butterfly miniature?

MakingMiniButterflyLegsEasy question: the high humidity level in the air! When the humidity is over 75%, working with a tiny speck of super glue at a time is pretty much impractical. In high humidity, the mini butterfly parts aren’t visibly moist, but it becomes apparent that they are when the glue won’t adhere the parts to each other firmly. I only work on dry days.

Do you have a favorite species of butterfly?

My favorite species of butterfly tends to change a lot… But I think my favorite one that I have made is the Purple Spotted Swallowtail. Something about the combination of the colors in the wings, and the overall wing shape is just so beautiful to me. It is my favorite one to show, out of the 8 breeds I keep in my poison rings I wear.

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by anything that gives me a magical feeling. I love using what I learn from my experiments with relative physics that working on a miniature scale provides for me. I love to put as much passion and creativity into coming up with the custom tools I make, as I put into in making the actual miniatures themselves.

MonarchSideviewWhat is the most memorable miniature you have ever seen by another artist?

I’d have to say that the work of Willard Wigan sums it up! He works under a microscope, and comes up with some of the most fascinating micro sculptures.

Advice for beginner artists and miniaturists?

When first starting out, as well as after you’ve gained experience, don’t lose sight of what you want to get out of it. So be slow about it, and have fun! I am motivated by learning, so I look at failed experiments objectively and let them inspire me to keep going, rather than seeing these as a measure of my ability. Don’t judge yourself, or compare your work to that of others. Join artists groups, and don’t feel shy about asking “dumb” questions — every artist has been in that boat.

Why miniatures?

Making things in miniature is just what feels natural for me. I love intricate detail, and the creative process behind the resourcefulness alone that’s required in coming up with the ways to make it possible. Not to mention it is very profitable. My materials cost practically nothing, when it comes to how such a little bit goes an infinitely long way.

PurpleSpottedSwallowtailTerrariumWhat’s to come from Adore Mini?

Ultimately I plan on expanding my variety of Adore Mini miniature butterflies to more than 100. But in the near future, I plan on adding a section of customizable miniature terrarium cork-top bottles with different kinds of miniature flowers, that the miniature butterflies can be mounted on inside, which can be used in a necklace or as earrings. Also, I just made 10 new polymer clay butterfly wing canes for new breeds I will be adding to my variety in the near future.

What do you want miniature fans to know about you?

People commonly ask me things like:

  • “What kind of magnifying device do you use for making these?”
  • “What do you do with them?”
  • “How do you have the patience to make something that tiny and detailed?”

ButterfliesInPoisonRingsI can’t have anything in front of my eyes when I work, not even my glasses or contacts. I’m very nearsighted, and I only need very bright light in a low-humidity environment to work in.

My favorite thing to do with them is keep them in my poison rings I wear on my fingers! They’re like magical hidden compartments to keep them with me in at all times. Also they can be displayed in a 1″ acrylic magnifier box I have in my shop. It’s great for keeping in any display cabinet or shadow box. For dollhouse scale miniature collectors, my miniature butterflies are the perfect accents for any outdoor miniature scene.

For me, when it comes to true passion for what I am doing, the term “patience” just doesn’t apply. I don’t see my experiences on a scale of successes and failures, but it’s simply the element of cause and effect that keeps me intrigued with it.

Julia Cissell is the creator of Adore Mini (formerly named God’s Flying Flowers). She’s currently based in Bartlett, Tennessee. Shop her miniature butterfly collection on Etsy or follow along on Instagram!


Daily Mini Interview: Miniatures by Fanni Sándor

FannimiNiATURE: Miniatures by Fanni Sándor

|    Blog   |   Shop   |

How did you first get started in miniatures?

I have always loved miniature things since my childhood. I made my first dollhouse out of a shoe box when I was 7 years old. I first saw professional 1:12 scale miniatures 10 years ago on the Internet, and it was love at the first sight. In my country, this art form is totally unknown. il_fullxfull.762749966_8r2iSo after that, I started to try to make my own miniatures, and after a few years I became a professional miniaturist. I have been making miniature things since my childhood, but professional 1:12 scale miniatures now for around 5 years.

Were you trained in the arts?

I learned drawing and painting through 7 years of art school. But I learned how to make miniature animals by myself, no one taught me. I have two miniaturist idols: Beth Freeman-Kane and Kerri Pajutee. I think they are the best wildlife and animal miniaturists ever, in all the world. Their art gave me lots of inspiration to become a professional miniaturist. Thank you to them both.

IMG_7074Do you create & sell miniatures full-time?

I have a three years old son and a one year old daughter. So now I’m a full time mother at home, and making miniatures part time for hobby, and for sell. Any free time what I have (it’s not too much because of my children), I try to do my craft, because it’s relaxing me totally. But I plan in the future I become a full time miniaturist.

How has your miniature work evolved over the years?

Nowadays, I mostly make birds, insects, and small mammals, but I used to make accessories and dolls. Thrice my dolls won the second price in an international doll exhibition and doll making competition in Hungary. My first exhibited 1:12 scale miniature work was a shadowbox, called Queen Elisabeth’s Kitchen. It was the beginning of my professional miniaturist life. In the kitchen there were foods, vegetables, fruits, pheasants and mounted deer trophies. Making the pheasants and the trophies were most enjoyable, so after this creation, I wanted to make more and more animals. It’s not a surprise, because I’m a biologist, so nature inspires me principally.

What materials do you use to make miniatures?

I don’t need too many supplies. I just need polymer clay, acrylic paint, feather and cotton thread in a various color, paper wire, and glue. IMG_7235All of my sculptures are made out of polymer clay. I love this material very much, because I can make really fine, detailed and lifelike figures with it. All of my works are hand sculpted, without the use of any mold.

Advice for new artists?

You have to do it with your heart and soul, and then any piece of your work will be unique.

What can’t you live without?

My hand, eyes, brain and polymer clay.

Favorite miniature you own by another artist?

I have a framed diorama by Beth Freeman-Kane, called The Racketeer, which includes a hummingbird and orchids. I love it and cherish it so much.IMG_6623

Most treasured miniature you’ve made? 

I have a lot. All of my miniature sculptures contain a little part of my heart. I love all of my creations, I can’t choose a favorite.

Upcoming projects you’d like to share?

In Hungary, dollhouse miniature making is an unknown art form. Almost no one knew about it. In this country, there are just 12 of us making miniatures. This year, we established the Hungarian Miniature Guild. We started to organize the first miniature exhibition of Hungary, which will be held in September 2015. We would like to promote and popularize the professional miniatures as an art form in Hungary.

IMG_6526Other activities you enjoy?

I love to take trips in nature. I love cooking, reading a book, painting, drawing, and sculpting.

Anything else you would like to add? 

In 2014, I received the IGMA Artisan title in Animal Figures category. It was the greatest honor for me. I’m 34 years old. I married the most fantastic man in the world four years ago. We have a 3-year-old son and a 1-year-old daughter. I’m a microbiologist, but now I stay at home with my children. Beside making miniatures, I love to paint, draw, and sculpt.

Fanni Sándor currently lives in Hungary. Shop her FannimiNiATURE miniatures on Etsy, or check out new creations on her “Parányi valóság” blog.