Miniatures are so fun to learn about! Read about their history, the different sizes of these tiny treasures and enjoy some fun links with additional mini-information.
A Little Miniatures History
“Miniatures” have a centuries long tradition. Some say its beginnings trace back to the Egyptians who often placed small trinkets in tombs. Dollhouses, as we recognize them, first appeared in the seventeenth century; these houses were primarily built by German, Dutch and English craftsmen.
Nuremberg Kitchens were used to teach girls how to properly run a household; Bavarian dollhouses began to include decorative exteriors with faux timber or brick walls; and wealthy Dutch families developed a passion for collecting tiny fine porcelain, paintings and furniture – all a sign the family was living a good life.
In the eighteenth century, the British dollhouse builders began to make Baby Houses, perfect little replicas of home and the ideal fit for a young girl to watch over. These houses were often exact copies of the collector’s home, inside and out, capturing the family living in miniature.
Now we have many ways to keep our memories and preserve special moments – videos, pictures, scrap booking…. But to today’s collectors of miniatures, we still have a common bond with the original dollhouse makers – we find something comforting in the peace and quiet of a dollhouse. We can have perfect order or controlled chaos. We can tell stories of a memory, capture a moment or a favored place…or even give life to something conjured up from our imagination.
It’s because of that imaginative and creative element that miniatures have been enjoyed for centuries, and – at least we hope – will be relished for many more.
Scale – Just What Do You Mean?!
Scale is the size ratio between a full size object and its miniature version…more specifically, it tells us if we are building a little house or a really, really little house.
An easy scale is one inch…one inch equals one foot. You’ll see it written as 1:12 or 1/12. This is a very common scale in dollhouses and furnishings.
An object may also be half inch…half inch equals one foot- now we are getting smaller! This is written as 1:24 or 1/2 scale.
Not the tiniest of all scales, but pretty small is quarter inch…quarter inch equals one foot. 1:48 or 1/4 is how you’ll see this written.
In their early versions, miniatures varied greatly in size. In the 1970s miniaturists began looking for more accurate and interchangeable pieces for their collections. Currently much better consistency exists between pieces.
To better understand scale, visit the amazing examples on display upstairs in Exhibits during the San Diego Miniature Show & Sale. Don’t miss the opportunity to see collections, scratch built houses, room boxes and much more!
What to do between now and the San Diego Miniature Show and Sale? That’s easy, visit some of our favorite miniature sites!
Chartered in 1972, the San Diego Miniature Crafters continue to be dedicated to miniature making and collecting. You can visit the club here.
Show updates are posted frequently on our Facebook page, take a minute to LIKE us! San Diego Miniature Crafters also like to stay in touch through Pinterest be sure to take a look around our three boards: Show & Sale, Miniature Crafters and Found Favorites.
“Only through sharing can we really enjoy our treasures” is the motto of the National Association of Miniature Enthusiasts. When you visit their site not only will you discover more about miniatures, but also about events happening throughout the country. Click here to see what’s new on the national scene.
CURRENTLY ON DISPLAY! We are fortunate to have been invited to exhibit at the Craftsmanship Museum in Carlsbad. This museum is dedicated to miniature engineering designs of all types and worth a visit. Plus admission is FREE.
Do you live in Southern California, Arizona, New Mexico, Las Vegas or El Paso? N-1 is your official NAME region. The N-1 website will keep you up-to-date on all shows, workshops and events in this part of the country.
Founded to promote fine miniatures as art, the International Guild of Miniature Artisans works to support miniature artisans and encourage developing artists. Attending the Guild School is a dream of many miniaturists. While some of us may only dream of attending a Guild seminar, all of us can visit IGMA by wandering their site.
Each summer NAME holds a National Convention to take care of the business of the nonprofit organization…surrounding the business is great fun, workshops and an extraordinary sales room. Join NAME and you may find yourself taking advantage of this unique experience.
Planning a vacation and want to include miniatures? You may want to include a visit the Mini -Time Machine Museum in Tucson Arizona.