Daily Mini Interview: Rachel’s Little Things

Rachel’s Little Things

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What’s your first memory with miniatures?

I was very young. Maybe 6 or 7. My mom was a collector. We had a little shelf on our wall as well as a glass case with some of her favorite pieces on display. During my childhood in Maryland, my parents used to take my brother and me to miniature train shows. The tiny scenery surrounding the model trains always intrigued me. These shows also had dollhouse displays and, each time we went, I was allowed to pick out something for myself. Little cakes and pies were my favorite. I was an artistic child by this point already, but these train show visits really inspired me. I soon after asked for some fimo clay and got started crafting. Most of all I enjoyed making miniature animals and Barbie shoes. I had a huge doll collection at the time. I was more interested in studying my dolls’ accessories and how they were made, than actually playing with the toys. All of the plastic Barbie accessories had a noticeable seam and I asked my mom about it. dailymini-IMG_9994She explained to me that these pieces were each made from a mold. From that point on, I started to make negative and positive molds.

Do you create and sell miniatures full-time?

I am a makeup artist, jewelry maker, and cake decorator as well as a miniature sculptor.

What types of miniatures do you make these days? How has your work evolved?

I started sculpting again when I was 20 years old, and wasn’t so good at it at first. I diligently made the same pieces over and over again until I was happy with them. I’m amazed at how pieces I made only 3-4 years ago are subpar to what I’m creating now. Every project I learn something new and apply it to my next piece.

dailymini-IMG_9996These days, I like making realistic miniatures. Especially food, such as beautifully stacked cakes. I’ve been gluing cakes onto rings and earring posts as of late. It’s very satisfying.

What materials do you use to make miniatures?

Polymer clay is my most used material. I also use a lot of items from the hardware store and craft stores, as well. Metalware like screws, nuts, bolts, balsa wood. It’s good to look there for nice sturdy bases. I just made a multi tired tiny cake using the tiniest screws available at True Value. Then I painted them white and it turned out just wonderful. I’m mostly happy with the strength and longevity the piece will have. I also, hair acrylic paint, glass beads, metallic powder, chain, gold leaf, etc… whatever I need to complete the piece.

Advice for new miniaturists?

Craft every single day. Even if only for a little bit. Fully immerse yourself and pour your heart into it. Don’t craft with half of your heart. Learn to evaluate your work. Remember to ask yourself, “is this the best I can do?” with every piece you make. Make your work amazing and take your time.

Tool or equipment you can’t live without?

I absolutely love my pasta machine. It’s best for rolling out perfectly flat pieces of clay in uniform shapes. It’s completely necessary for making the tiers of my cakes look so perfect and cleanly executed. I previously used to mash a single piece of clay for a cake tier and then would attempt to shape it. dailymini-IMG_9995The clay was always too puffy, round or uneven. Once I started using the pasta machine layers and wrapping the edges, it was a complete game changer.

What’s proved to be the most rewarding miniature you’ve ever made?

My favorite and most rewarding miniature I have created is the Royal Wedding Cake. It was a rather large miniature piece, and I created it out of two parts, first baking them, then gluing them together. Once I placed the top piece onto the bottom base, I started to tear up. I worked for more than 40 hours on this cake, and seeing it come together so beautifully was emotional. I look at it still and can’t believe I made it. I hope Kate Middleton sees it!

What artist inspires you?

Tarina Tarantino is hands down my biggest inspiration. I’ve followed her career since I was a kid. I once read an interview with her when I was 20 and that’s what inspired me to start crafting again. I wasn’t happy working retail at the time, and I went out and purchased about $100 worth of materials (clay, tools, paint, and brushes), and just started going for it.

dailymini-IMG_9993Could you describe your background in the arts?

I am formally trained in Special Effects Makeup. I was trained at Make-up Designory in Los Angeles. I’ve worked on countless photoshoots, music videos, national commercials, and indie films. I’ve also done a great deal of wedding makeup on brides. Earning my own IMDb page was another really great moment for me.

What is the most memorable miniature you’ve seen by another artist?

I think it would have to be this little Gentleman’s Club I saw at the Philadelphia Miniaturia in New Jersey. It had a stripper pole and everything!

Why miniatures? What appeals to you most about what you do?dailymini-IMG_9997

I like working tiny. I do makeup and the human face is about the largest scale in which I enjoy working. Eye makeup is particularly fun for me. It’s so intricate—just like painting a miniature.

What other activities do you enjoy?

I’m a curious wanderer. I walk around my neighborhood in Silver Lake almost daily. There are so many encouraging, inspiring, and artistic people out here. There’s so much to do and see. It’s truly a paradise.

Words of wisdom to share?

Be smart, be happy, be kind, and be mindful.

For more of California-based Rachel’s miniature feats, check out Instagram, Tumblr or shop her store.

Daily Mini Interview: PetitPlat

Miniatures by PetitPlat

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What does “Petit Plat” mean?
It literally means “Little Plate” in French, but more figuratively translates to “a nice meal.”dailymini-Patisserie_Modern_Framboise

How did you first get started in miniatures?
In the summer of 2007, when still a student, I failed to find a summer job and went to stay with my parents. After two days, I realized I had to spend my time doing something crafty, so I looked on the Internet for a new craft or art of some kind. At that point in time, I had already tried various activities, such as beading, painting, knitting, and drawing. Being creative was a big part of my life.

By chance, I stumbled upon a miniature mango cake and thus discovered the world of miniatures, and more specifically, the world of miniature food. dailymini-BO_Fruit_BloodOrange-3This wasn’t something I was completely new to, as I did sculpt miniature food for my barbie dolls as a child. I had just forgotten about that hobby. So, after a bit more research on how to get started, I was out and about, purchasing some fimo clay. And from there, the passion started to grow.

dailymini-NL_Corals_GrandWhat types of miniatures do you make these days?
Almost only food. I completed a series on miniature coral for art jewelry pieces, and I loved that too. And, I love buildings, so I like to work on this as well, though I rarely find the time. No figures or flowers so far. Don’t have interest in sculpting either of these.

Right now I’m working on a daily challenge where I sculpt one fruit or vegetable each day. Exhausting at times, but mostly fun and my skills are evolving faster. You can follow along each day at dailyminiveggie.tumblr.comdailymini-2015_DailyVeggie_70Days-2

How long have you been creating miniatures?
I really started to sculpt on a regular weekly basis in 2008. Before that time, it was more playing than anything else.

Do you create and sell miniatures on a full-time basis?
Yes, I do. I also sell a lot of miniature food jewelry as well.

How has your work evolved over the years?
I create a great deal of miniature jewelry, as it’s the easiest for me to handle, since I’m able to replicate pieces. As for miniature food, this evolved based on my own interest.

dailymini-Savory_All-3What materials do you use to make your miniatures?
For food miniatures, I almost exclusively use polymer clay. For a whipped cream effect, I’ll use air dry clay. For other scenes or props, I use wood, paper, and anything else I find that might work.

Advice for beginner artists?
Follow your own path and obsessions. Work hard, improve a lot, but also rest. Enjoy this, and if you don’t enjoy it, just leave it be. Success is only possible if you’re passionate about what you do, as it’s the only way you will work really hard to make it work. dailymini-2015_DailyVeggie_65_Ananas-1And of course, the usual: find your own style and twist it to be unique. Don’t just become another artist making the same things that all other artists do. Not saying that this is necessarily bad; we all need to copy first in order to learn and make something original and many will only sculpt for themselves. However, if your goal is to live from your work, then you’ll need skills and ideas.

dailymini-Mon Atelier_Fev2-¦15-2Tool you can’t live without? 

What artists do you look to for inspiration?
Oh, there are so many! Kandinsky is on my wall, so he has to be the first, but I enjoy colorful abstraction in general. I very much like street art these days. I love graffiti artists Os Gêmeos, but there are many unknown ones too. I like to browse the site Colossal for new art finds.

Lori Nixdailymini-Miniature_Kitchen_Abandoned-4 made a series about a forgotten world that is brilliant. This brings me to my love for forgotten and abandoned buildings. I’ve visited and photographed a few with my mother. I love the raw honesty of those places. dailymini-2015_DailyVeggie_100Days-2Still thinking of showcasing these pictures online, but then I don’t always have time to showcase all the stuff I do.

As a general rule, I like art when it’s colorful and/or miniature.

Follow along for more fantastic adventures in miniature by France’s Stephanie. Head to Instagram, shop her store, visit her website, check out the blog and daily Tumblr, or enjoy the latest updates and images on her Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Flickr.


Daily Mini Interview: little T studio

Miniatures by little T studio

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What types of miniatures do you make these days?
I specialize in making realistic food miniatures which I then turn into all kinds of fun jewelry to wear such as necklaces, earrings, and jewelry clips. I even have a “Gifts for Guys” section in my store where you can find mini food cufflinks and tie clips.

dailymini-interview-littletstudio-photo-CufflinksWaffles1What materials do you use to make your miniatures?
I primarily use high-quality polymer clay. In order to turn a plain little block of clay into something extraordinary, I have tons of random tools that I’ve been collecting for years and years. These help me capture just the right look, shape, style, and texture in my art.

dailymini-interview-littletstudio-photo-sugarcookieearringsblueWhen did you first start making and selling miniatures?
I began sculpting at the age of 7, and used to make miniature turtles with my best friend. Can’t say whether I made anything that looked like a turtle, but once I realized I could create something with a lump of clay, I was hooked. My mom bought me plasticine and Play-Doh as well as Barbara Reid’s book, Fun With Modeling Clay. I would spend hours trying to make the little things featured in that step-by-step book. Since Play-Doh dries out and hardens, it was a more durable material to use when making miniatures. I decided to start making small parrots as gifts for my family and friends. Thankfully those creations actually resembled parrots!dailymini-interview-littletstudio-photo-CHToGoCoffeePink2

I continued practicing with plasticine throughout my childhood and into my teen years. I had clients from Best Online Casino and other Canadian internet companies. Shortly thereafter, I discovered polymer clay which is a very durable material. Thus this provided me with the option to make and sell dollhouse miniatures—and that’s what I did. I opened a dollhouse miniature company called “Miniatures For Everyone!” and successfully sold 1:12 scale dollhouse miniatures for many years.

Most recently, I decided to move into the world of jewelry because so many of my family and friends expressed their wishes to wear the miniatures I had created. Sounds simple enough to turn a hand-sculpted miniature into jewelry, right? Not at all. I firmly believe that if I’m going to sell a product to consumers, it needs to be of high quality. dailymini-interview-littletstudio-photo-PurpleChocCakePostEarrings2That means it not only has to look incredible, but it has to also be crafted with high-quality materials and must be durable. I launched my own product testing process to ensure whatever jewelry I sell meets my high standards.

I thoroughly enjoy the end-to-end process of sculpting miniatures. I am always so excited to hear feedback from my customers on how much they love their mini food jewelry. It makes my day!

What artists inspire you?
I’ve always looked up to Barbara Reid. She is a children’s book writer and illustrator, however she is no ordinary illustrator. She illustrates her books entirely with clay! Her work is breathtakingly amazing!

Do you have advice to share with fellow miniaturists just starting out? 
If you want to become skilled at creating— at creating anything—it takes practice. dailymini-interview-littletstudio-photo-CHCheeseburger2There really isn’t a quick way about it. Your attitude can transform your first few attempts into either a miserable experience or a truly enjoyable journey! Approaching your creative project with a positive attitude will help you focus less on being perfect (which is not realistic) and more on just having fun. When you have fun, your creativity can soar!

dailymini-interview-littletstudio-photo-DoubleHeartCupcakePinkSoloMaking mistakes on your creative project(s) may at first seem very disappointing. However, these “failures” or “mistakes” can ultimately be the key to discovering a brand new technique or style. It’s all part of the creative growth process. No matter who they are, every artist has an “uh-oh” pile. That pile of things we tried to create, that didn’t turn out so well. It’s okay. That’s how we all learn. Try not to dwell on the “uh-oh” pile. It will continue to grow, but again, that’s okay. You’ll grow as an artist along the way.

What’s your favorite miniature to make?
Cupcakes! I hand-frost each and every single one with my own frosting mix of Translucent Liquid Sculpey and polymer clay. I truly feel as if I’m a baker or cupcake designer. I’ve always wanted to work in a bakery, and, in a way, now I do! Best of all, my entire line of miniature sweet jewelry is calorie-free!! 

Why miniatures? Why do you do what you do?

According to my mom, ever since I was a toddler I was fascinated with mini things. I would find the tiniest pieces of lint on the floor, pick them up and become so excited that I had to show my family. According to my family and friends, I’ve always been drawn to the tiniest of details and minutia, so it makes perfect sense that now I sculpt miniatures.dailymini-interview-littletstudio-photo-CufflinksPBandGrape1

What appeals to you most about making miniatures? 
I love inventing new miniature food jewelry designs. I enjoy adding my own signature twist to everyday food items. I run all of my new ideas past my husband who provides the best feedback. Running a business with my best friend has been absolutely awesome. I honestly could not head up little T studio without him.dailymini-interview-littletstudio-photo-CHHotDog1

Any tips on how to run a successful miniature business?
Think like a customer. If you think like a potential client or customer, your perspective can help you make the right decision. For example, if I were ordering jewelry online, I would want it to arrive in a playful, colored envelope with protective padding. dailymini-interview-littletstudio-photo-MeltedIcecreamNext, when I open the package, I would like to find a coupon for a future purchase, a thank you note, a free gift, and my order beautifully gift-wrapped with matching hand-tied ribbons and tissue paper. And that is exactly what my customers get when they place an order with little T studio. I would want to feel as if I just received a thoughtful present. Gifts are so fun to receive! And so, I work diligently to ensure it feels the same way for my little T studio customers. Their entire experience with my miniature jewelry company should be fun, easy, and enjoyable. This is my way of saying thank you for supporting my online jewelry store!

dailymini-interview-littletstudio-photo-PanDulceG2HWhich do you love more: miniature sweets or edible desserts?
This question is torture! It’s my love for edible desserts that inspires my creativity to make miniature sweets. These really have to go hand-in-hand with one another, or else I couldn’t sculpt something cute, adorable, and miniature. I suppose if I had to choose… I would say both! That’s technically a choice, right?

Tonya is currently based in Arizona, U.S. For more of her deliciously awesome miniature adventures, head to Instagram, YouTube, shop her store (international shipping available), or check out her website.


Daily Mini Interview: ChocoMintCandy

Miniatures by ChocoMintCandy

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What types of miniatures do you make?
Right now, I primarily make food miniatures and cute charms. I’m currently considering other kinds of miniatures such as furniture, household items, and more.

chocomintcandy-dailymini-photo1What materials do you use to make miniatures?
I frequently use polymer clay for my miniatures, but sometimes I will use other materials such as paper, metal, and wood.

How long have you been working with miniatures?
From 2010 to 2013, I created super simple miniatures out of air dry clay. In November 2013, I began experimenting with polymer clay which led to much more detailed and smaller miniatures.

What artists inspire you?chocomintcandy-dailymini-photo2
I look for inspiration in a lot of artists on Instagram. Some of my favorite accounts are Nunu’s House, SugarCharmShop, Minivenger, xoxRufus and lots of artists featured on The Daily Miniature. Food is also my inspiration!

Advice for new miniaturists and beginner artists?
Be positive! To me, positivity is one of the key things to working with miniatures. Your attitude will shine through in your creation, so you should never go into a project with negative feelings.

chocomintcandy-dailymini-photo3Favorite miniature you own or have made?
My favorite miniature I’ve ever made is a brownie with ice cream! It was featured by the award-winning cooking site, Food52!

Oddest miniature you have ever seen?
The strangest miniature I have ever seen is a tiny box of tampons by Magpies Miniatures!

Why miniatures?chocomintcandy-dailymini-photo4
I love seeing miniatures and I love making miniatures. When I was younger, I used to love Re-Ment Miniatures and mini erasers. I still do! When I discovered that I could create miniature things on my own, it immediately motivated me. I got so excited that I could make my own unique miniatures without relying on other brands or stores. Miniatures are very appealing to me. I find them to be fascinating and so cute!

chocomintcandy-dailymini-photo5What other hobbies do you have?
I love drawing, decorating, and photography. Recently I’ve taken up baking!

Anything else you would like to add?
Thank you for interviewing me! I really love the concept of dailymini as a place to share miniatures from around the world. Thanks to those of you reading this and stay tuned for news of my Etsy shop!

Thanks for checking out the latest Daily Mini interview! For more remarkable miniatures by Canada’s ChocoMintCandy, visit Instagram.