Barbara from Tarbena Miniatures tells us all about their work.
We started making miniatures in the mid 90s. Alan was an antique restorer and I was a Maths Teacher. Our interest grew from a casual discussion about making pieces of furniture in 1/12 scale that looked like real antiques .Alan initially supplied the Singing Tree exclusively and the pieces he made were miniature copies of furniture that he had restored over the many years that he had worked as a restorer.
I made mirrors and frames and then my own range of painted furniture. When the Singing Tree closed we combined our work and became Tarbena Miniatures. We work from home and each have a workshop.
There are many stages involved in making a piece of furniture and the antiquing, painting and polishing of each piece takes up a great deal of time. The furniture must be left to dry between each stage and there can be as many as 15 stages. It is difficult to measure the time as we are always working on several pieces at any one time.
We attend the Spring and Autumn Miniatura Fairs and the May and December Kensington Fairs. We do really enjoy these and meeting our collectors. We have some fascinating conversations about dollshouses, welcome the interest and appreciation of our work and love to see the wonderful miniatures of other crafts people.
Our work, we believe, is unique in that we pay special attention to the finishing of the furniture. We aim to make each piece look just like it’s original antique counterpart, only 1/12 scale. This means scaling down accurately and putting in all the extra details in the finish. We believe that they must look “correct”. We always consider that if, when photographed, you are unable to say whether or not, it is miniature or full sized, then we have gone some way to achieving that goal.
We concentrate on Georgian and Regency furniture but enjoy making pieces from other periods as well. Jacobean,17th Century, William and Mary, and Victorian furniture are all in our collection. We welcome commissions too as we love the challenge of doing something different
We have two dollshouses of our own now, finally!! Both are works in progress but over the years we have collected items from other makers and now have the pleasure of displaying them properly and enjoying the scene they create.