Firstly, I would just like to apologise for my absence from the blogging world over the past few days. I've been forced into practising my word processing skills, so that I can apply for a job, which I need, but don't want. It's a hard life, sometimes, isn't it?
I was tagged by maggie may a few weeks ago. I had to have a think about it, as I found it a really difficult one to try and make into an interesting post. The requirement was to relate 6 things that you may not have known about me, but the things you don't know about me become fewer and fewer! Anyway, here goes:
1. I'm a miniaturist. For anyone who is not sure what that means, (and nowadays, when the word is used, it doesn't often refer to an artist who paints very small paintings) a miniaturist is interested in making and/or collecting items in a smaller scale. In my case, I mainly like to make, as opposed to collect, and I favour one twelfth scale. Miniatures are generally displayed in a cabinet, dolls' house, room box or vignette.
Many miniaturists tend to keep quiet about their interest, as it can still be regarded as mildly eccentric, by some, but it is a growing hobby and its popularity, amongst women, in the UK, is reputed to be second only to gardening! There are shops throughout the country, numerous internet sites, a large section on Ebay and fairs every weekend, in many different locations, where dolls' houses and miniatures are available.
Queen Mary's Dolls' House, on display at Windsor Castle, is probably the most famous dolls' house of all and, no doubt you have all heard of it and perhaps even seen it. You may be interested to know that the White House has been faithfully reproduced in miniature, over a period of 32 years and that the Royal Pavilion, in Brighton has also been treated in a similiar way.
2. I have a one twelfth scale dolls' house, which contains many miniatures I made myself.
3. My dolls' house has been featured in 2 magazines.
4. I made the vignette pictured below for my mother:
The vignette is reminiscent of the living room, in the house where I grew up, which my parents moved from, only a few years ago. We were a working class family, so there was never much money to spare. We didn't have anything fancy and none of the furnishings were stylish, but it was a cosy, comfortable home, and we lived there very happily. Most of my mother's interests are represented in the vignette. She liked to sew and made most of my clothes, when I was a child. We always visited my grandparents on a Sunday afternoon and it wasn't unusual for her to make me an item of clothing, on a Sunday morning, to wear the same afternoon. This would often result in us going out later than intended and my father would get very frustrated with waiting around, as I'm sure you can imagine!
I can remember coming home from school, on many occasions, to find the living room covered in paper patterns and fabric, whilst my mother worked away industriously, on her old Singer sewing machine. She also enjoyed knitting and crochet and, when I was younger, putting together a jigsaw puzzle was often a family activity. I was fascinated by my mother's button tin, as a child, and this is also represented in the vignette. My parents both have a weakness for biscuits and a mug of tea must always be accompanied by the same, so this explains the presence of the tea and biscuits, on the table.
For many years, my mother and one of my aunties visited the local market, on a Wednesday afternoon, and returned with many 'bargains'. They would bring home an assortment of cheap items, which they wouldn't have wanted at their full price, but which became irresistible at a knock down price. They were teased mercilessly about their little outings, but they very much enjoyed themselves and the outings continued until my auntie's death. The 'Bargains' carrier is a reminder of those happy occasions.
I cut out the display from balsa board and a piece of green velvet represents the carpet. I scanned a piece of one twelfth scale wallpaper into the computer and printed out the picture onto a piece of fabric, which I then used to cover the back of the display. The picture on the 'wall' is one of our family photographs, which I reduced to an appropriate size, on the scanner, and then framed with one twelfth scale picture framing. Getting a miniature picture frame square, is always a nightmare, for me, as I invariably manage to cut one side a millimetre too long, or too short!
I made the chair and table from scratch, from my own patterns, but the spindles, for the table legs, were bought ready made. The pouffe is made from a piece of balsa wood, covered with a thin layer of foam and then fabric. I prised the sewing machine from a very cheap miniature of a treadle sewing machine and then inserted it into a piece of wood, to give an impression of my mother's favourite old Singer sewing machine. I made the work bag from my own pattern and then worked the knitting, in thread, on pins produced especially for miniature knitting. When the knitting was the desired length, I transferred it to dressmaker's pins, which make realistic one twelfth scale knitting pins. I also worked the crochet with thread, using a very fine hook. The crochet hook, displayed on top of the crochet was fashioned by me from Fimo clay.
I made the skirt pattern pieces on a desktop publishing program and then printed them out onto tissue paper, which first had to be sellotaped onto a piece of ordinary paper, before it could go through the printer. I also made the biscuit wrapper, the carrier bag, the jigsaw box and the tape measure on my desktop publishing program. I found the tiger picture, the envelope for the skirt pattern, (on the table) the knitting patterns and the crochet pattern on the internet, reduced them to one twelfth scale and printed them out. I used a fine pen to outline the pieces of jigsaw on the tiger picture. I bought a copy of each of my mother's favourite magazines, scanned them into my computer, reduced them to the appropriate size and then printed them out. The mug, biscuits and buttons were fashioned, by me, from Fimo clay and then painted with acrylic paint, followed by a coat of varnish. The mug is filled with scenic water, (a firm, rubbery, jelly-like substance, which is one part resin and re-meltable) which is coloured with acrylic paint. The scissors, button tin and the items inside the carrier bag were bought ready made.
5. I made a second vignette, pictured below, for a friend of mine. She enjoys knitting, cross stitch, baking cakes, buying and reading books, and card making. Each of her hobbies is represented in the vignette. The display is made in the same way as I described, before. I made the armchair from balsa wood, cardboard, thin foam and fabric, from my own pattern. I copied the table from a picture in an Argos catalogue. The knitting basket is made from tapestry canvas, shaped over a mould. The cushion is filled with salt, so that it can be realistically indented! I cross stitched the sampler on the 'wall' and framed it, once again, with great difficulty! I made the cake, small plate, cup and saucer from Fimo clay. The magazine covers and book covers were scanned into the computer and reduced to the appropriate size.
The small book, lying on the floor, was one which belonged to my friend and was lent to me. The larger card standing up, on the table, is a paper copy, which I scanned into the computer and reduced to size, from a full sized card, which my friend cross stitched for me. The Craft Creations magazine, lying on the table, is a card making magazine. A page of card making 'scraps' and a card 'blank' lie on top of the magazine. I made the carrier on my desktop publishing program. The glasses, fork, scissors, table legs and paper plate, on which the cake stands, were all bought items. The most difficult things to reproduce for this vignette were the embroidery silks. I have fairly small hands and fingers, but even my fingers were too large to wrap the paper labels around the embroidery silks!
6. Some of my miniatures, but not those pictured here, have been on display at 2 local dolls' house fairs.
There we are then! I hope you don't feel that you've found out things about me, which you would never have wished to know! My dark secret is that I am a miniaturist and it's something which some miniaturists would only ever admit to other known enthusiasts! There doesn't seem to be any in-between, as far as miniatures are concerned. People are either fascinated by them, or think they are 'naff' and pointless, so I've taken a chance with this post, and I can only hope that you've found it interesting and not too naff or pointless!