Print this page
Thursday, 30 November 2017 09:25

The Gift of Miniatures

Kastle KelmAt Christmas the pressure seems to always be on to find something different for those special people in your life. It just so happens that the hobby of miniatures does "different" very well indeed and looking into smaller scales opens up a world of opportunities for the gift buyer needing inspiration. 

The impressive thing about a show like Miniatura is that in many ways it offers something for everyone, even if they don't collect miniatures. Sounds crazy? It's important to remember that the main aim of Miniatura is "Everything in miniature". So if you are looking for golf clubs, we have that. If you are mad about books, we've got those. If you need a landscape painting, yes. Looking for a wedding dress? No problem, would you like a replica of yours for an anniversary? Upholstered furniture, chandeliers, an alsatian, cakes, housebricks, copper pans, a rainbow trout… you get the idea. It's all there, so if your Uncle Bernard is a golfing enthusiast, has he got a set of clubs in a golf bag three inches high? Your grandson is writing his first novel? How about a stack of miniature classics to decorate his desk? No idea what to get your Mum, who just happens to love Bake Off? How about a signature miniature cake (impervious to soggy bottom)?

Believe it or not many collectors don't even have a dollshouse, people create scenes in roomboxes or have a shelf of inspiring miniature marvels. As with all the best hobbies it's something you can make personal to you, your tastes, and your circumstances. Add into all this the fact that most miniaturists, whether they are makers or collectors, have abundant and fertile imaginations and you end up with people who create mouse hospitals inside real plaster casts that have served their medical purpose and now act as a lasting and entertaining memory.

One of the most enjoyable stands at Miniatura is that run by one of the clubs. Their members are not trying to sell their work so are able to really personalise the scenes they create and the joy and fun they have doing this always shines through, we can only imagine what amazing gifts they come up with for their families at Christmas time.

We have asked the Miniatura exhibitors and visitors for their gift experiences and stories to give us all some food for thought. It may be that the following ideas hold the answer to all your present buying needs. 

We love this idea from Sylvia Warner "I used to make small gift boxes just big enough for a chocolate. These were for work colleagues birthdays etc. On the top I would put small miniature items I either bought or made that related to their interests. For example one was the music teacher, so sheets of music and a tiny instrument. (she also loved the occasional Guinness, so a tin of that had to go on as well) Another was going to Paris for her honeymoon, so the Eiffel tower, passports a bottle and two glasses.  Many years ago when our head retired I knew he loved fishing, he had a small room box with a fishing scene, rod, stool, basket with lunch and a thermos on a river bank.  I saw him not long ago and he still has it on his desk at home."

A book loving friend of the organisers has only got two miniatures in his house, both are piles of books from Kastle Kelm Miniatures. The piles are recklessly stacked and threaten to fall over at any moment, they take pride of place on his well filled bookshelves. "I know I can't actually read them but somehow they add something to my book collection, an extra charm, a small flourish that just makes me smile."

Josephine Parnell of Doll’s House Bears has made lots of miniature bears just purely as gifts. She says: “I made a nurse teddy for someone’s daughter; a guard with a Busby hat for a lady whose son was a guard at Buckingham Palace; another lady wanted a Monsignor – a member of the clergy for the Roman Catholic faith, which I had to do quite a bit of research on; another person has discovered their grandfather was an early policeman, so I made one of those. And I’ve also done quite a lot for a Hollywood costumier for films. She wanted some Pride and Prejudice clothing for her cabinet. She makes them in full size and finds having them in miniature is wonderful – and much easier to display!”

Dateman Books have something for every time of year but right now I think their latest publication, the traditional Christmas Carol "The Twelve Days of Christmas" with an illustration for each day, is perfect. I wonder if anyone has ever created this whole scene in miniature, if you have let me know, I'm imagining The Twelve Scales of Christmas?

So when you get stuck for idea's about what to get the person who has everything maybe, just maybe, miniatures has the answer. Have a wonderful Christmas and may you get peace and harmony in abundance.


This article was written by Andy Hopwood and the photograph was taken by Rob Tysall, the work featured in the image is by Kastle Kelm Miniatures.