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My primary goal is to make a range of toys and associated items in miniature, based on Australian, German, USA and English full scale toys made during the 1900s. I try to capture the visual qualities of the full-sized original but, at the same time, make a miniature that is a satisfactory toy in its own right. 

I prefer to use long-lasting natural materials such as suede and leather for the soft toys – which are hand-stitched rather than glued. The tiny toys can then be gently played with or rearranged, as they would be in full scale.

Pattern pieces for the toys are cut free-hand directly from the material and adjustments are made as the work progresses. Success is not guaranteed – which is the challenge – but the resulting variations ensure that each miniature is unique. My soft dolls, bears and gollies measure between 3/4" and 1 1/2" – a suitable toy size for 1/12th scale dollhouse dolls. Some dolls and bears may be small enough to suit 1/24th scale.

Accessories for the toys may include spare knitted clothes, leather suitcases, raffia baskets, toy boxes, tiny lathe-turned dolls, jointed penny wooden dolls, picture puzzles, kites, scrap books or even tinier toys’ toys. Other miniatures include oil or watercolour paintings, vintage lace dresses, children’s picture books (pre 1950s) and vintage cards or postcards (with their original messages). And like most other miniaturists, I seek ideas for new items at every opportunity.

Miniature-making, in my case, has evolved from a background in Fine Arts, where originality is valued over output. But I really enjoy the possibilities for play that miniatures bring.

In 2002 I was accepted as a Fellow of the International Guild of Miniature Artisans (IGMA).

Helen Davies
Cupboard Miniatures Tasmania