Miniatures: The Biggest Little Industry on Earth

The Doll's Cobbler. Miniature shoes, hats & bags for the discerning miniaturist.

The Doll’s Cobbler. Miniature shoes, hats & bags for the discerning miniaturist.

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Miniatures: The Biggest Little Industry on Earth

By Janit Calvo
(From April 5, 2009)

I’ve been participating at the Seattle Miniature Show for over 5 years now – first exhibiting, then vending and exhibiting. It’s always interesting to meet the different faces that make up this biannual show and, invariably, I always learn something new.

The Seattle Dollhouse Miniature Show has been going for decades and the current owner, Kristine Hill, has brought the show to the Seattle Center for the past 11 years. In doing so, she has attracted a wide variety of miniaturists to the show – some that have been in the business for well over 30 years. It is always interesting to talk to these dealers and you can bet that they have some pretty unique stories to tell too.

But there was one thing that lodged in my mind after the going to dinner with a couple of these gurus, something that we all know but needs some pointing out to see: Miniatures, as a group, is the biggest little industry in the world.

Keepin' it real in the miniature garden with TwoGreenThumbs.comLet me count the ways.

1. There are dolls of all sizes, dollhouses of all scales, model trains (indoor and out), Barbie and all her cohorts and copycats, GI Joe and his mimics, toy soldiers, Matchbox cars and the like… oh, I know I’m going to miss some. And all of these product lines have the tiny clothes, and in-scale accessories and furniture to go with the idea, of course.

2. What happens when a movie, pop star or television program gets merchandised? They make a doll out of the main characters and the toy props to go with it.

3. What do filmmakers need to help bring the project in on budget? Model makers to recreate the scenes in miniature, to help fill in the long shots and expansive scene shots. Tim Burton’s latest movie was done in miniature, Coraline, it was made in 1/6 scale which is pretty close to the Barbie scale, and right on the GI Joe scale.

4. Architects and generals have used miniatures to design their buildings and plan their war strategies for centuries. Chess is made up of miniature figures.

5. Artists and designers of all types often use a maquette to troubleshoot the project before making it in the life size – clothes, scenes, products, displays, installations and sculptures. It is interesting to note that some artists only sculpt small in clay or foam – it’s the foundry that recreates it in a huge scale for the outdoors.

6. Jewelry charms and earrings, role-playing games, miniature computers (a.k.a. iPhones), mini cars and mini bikes … I could go on but you get the gist.

So, do you think each and every person on this earth has played with/uses/owns at least one version of the above?

Who would have thought that we are all miniature lovers?

Visit Janit’s Website here: http://www.TwoGreenThumbs.com.

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2 Comments »

  1. […] The garden part is obvious, but the miniatures? As children we play with all kinds of miniatures that mimic us, our fantasies and our lifestyle, like Lego and Barbie. We use them in our art to communicate, in sculpture and film for example. We use them to worship. And we use them in our work to model bigger projects, as an architect creates a model of the building before the ground is broken. Miniatures could very well be the biggest little industry on earth. […]

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  2. […] gardening is just one way we enjoy miniatures in today’s world. I’ve written about The Biggest Little Industry on Earth many years ago, and gathered a long list of how we love anything miniature. Heck, careers have been […]

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