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  MINIATURE CRAFTS FOR DOLLS' HOUSES
BY MURIEL HOPWOOD

THE CRAFTSMAN MAGAZINE ISSUE 25 DECEMBER 2001
Reproduced with the kind permission of the publisher.


  Page 1
    Potting is possibly one of the first forms of craft practiced by man, so putting miniaturist potters under the microscope first is perhaps appropriate. Any potter knows that the road to a perfect pot is fraught with pitfalls at every stage. Are all the air bubbles eliminated? Has the kiln reached the right temperature? Will the lids fit? Did the glaze fit the body and has anything exploded or stuck to the shelf? When embarking on 1/12th scale pottery for discriminating dolls' house collectors, you introduce into the equation a host of other problems and disciplines that are unique to miniaturisation.

A dresser and wash stand decorated with Stokesay Ware china
Stokesay Ware's Blue and White Collection (top) and bone china bedroom set on dresser and wash stand made by Jane Newman. Above right: Karen Griffiths

The main problem is that the clay doesn't know its supposed to be part of a miniature; therefore, any faults remain as full sized ones. Pinholes on glaze emerge as craters, visible seam lines from a mould appear as gross deformities, and a slightly 'too small' lid simply falls straight into the pot. Thickness, too, is of paramount importance and must be 'just right' to be acceptable. If you follow this logic it soon becomes clear that there are many challenges to be overcome by those talented and patient enough to become successful potters in the miniature world. On the plus side, working in small scale means that the materials required are minimal, kilns can be small, and workshop space may be easier to find. Most miniaturists in every craft find that their greatest outlay is in their time and concentration.

For a greater insight into what it really takes to make it big in the small world, meet Karen Griffiths who is arguably one of the leading miniature potters in the business. Karen is a professional potter who makes bone china miniatures and in doing so, pushes the boundaries of her craft almost beyond physical limits. She creates dinner, tea and bedroom sets that have to be seen to be believed. Her tureen lids fit perfectly, her teapots, less than half an inch high, pour beautifully and the fine detailing on her cup handles is almost unreal.

   
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Content, design & graphics copyright © Karen Griffiths 2002