Sunday, 6 October 2013

Miniatures shouldn't take up much space. So why do they?

I make miniatures. Miniatures, by definition, are small. That is why I like them. So why, and how, have they taken over my (real-life) house? Not to mention my life. Last month, we at Huddersfield Miniatures Club staged our annual exhibition for Kirklees Council as part of its Allotment Society Show. Quite how our dolls and houses came to be linked so closely with prize-winning vegetables is lost in the annals of time, but every year our members go round their houses blowing the dust off their miniatures and hauling them over to Huddersfield for our large - and by now legendary - display.

The Dolls House Room (may you Rest In Peace)

Every year we are amazed by how much Stuff we have between us. None more so than me. Now I am a tidy, organised person who likes a place for everything and everything in its place. Doesn't always happen, but then the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Once upon a time, before children, I had such a place. One room in the house that was All Mine and where I lived, worked and dreamed miniatures whenever I got the chance. Everything miniature, and everything I needed to make them, was in that room and, when I was through, I simply shut the door. Simple.

But then I discovered I was expecting my second baby and, small though he might be (at first, anyway, despite giving me a 50 inch waist for a short while) he would need somewhere to sleep. And so, with a bump in my stomach and a lump in my throat, I set about clearing my beloved Dolls House Room.

I reduced my stash of Things That Might One Day Be Useful from five boxes to one. I gave generous gifts of wood and fimo to like-minded friends who had done things the right way round and had finished Bringing Up Baby BEFORE embarking on the whole miniature debacle. I sold things and dismantled things and packed up the entire contents of my beloved dolls house before discovering that the house itself would not fit through the loft-hatch. So in came the builder to make the opening big enough to allow safe passage of my baby. (Distressing parallels with the delivery room there, in my experience). In doing so, half the landing ceiling fell down and was not put back up before I'd decided that if That Man and I were in the same house for a moment longer then I would be giving birth shackled to a prison guard. Luckily, before he left (shutting the door rather more firmly than necessary behind him), he had boarded out the loft so that once through the hole in the ceiling the whole thing didn't end up back on the first floor via a new hole in a different ceiling. The whole exercise ended up costing rather more than the dolls house did. And not a little of my sanity.

My baby. Before I had any real ones.

But, finally, everything was packed up and stored in the loft to await the day when the child I had not yet given birth to had left home.

So why, now, only 4 years later, do I find that somehow - despite having no time, no money and even less energy to pursue this most beloved hobby - my collection has grown? And, what is more, spread into almost every room in the house? It's like the most insidious of viruses. Far from going to one small room and selecting the pieces I wished to exhibit, I found myself trawling the house to FIND where they might have been cunningly concealed. Six roomboxes in the lounge. Eight in my bedroom. Another six in the dining room. Not that I am counting...And still, two huge crates in the loft, untouched since I put them there. Not to mention my tools, my stash (back up to 5 boxes and cunningly concealed in my wardrobe; who needs clothes anyway) and the three boxes of stock with which I will one day launch Little Threads Miniatures for real. How is this possible? Am I making things without my own knowledge? Am I in denial? Am I going (or, more likely, already gone) mad?

But I am not alone! Every year, without fail, I and my mini-friends are amazed at what we have discovered in our own homes.  There shall surely come a point when our homes simply cannot hold another thing. When we've moved down the scale from 1/12th to 1\24th, to 1\48th and 1/144th (cunning foxes, we miniaturists!) in an effort to satisfy the continuing need inside us to Carry On Crafting even after we know it is madness to continue. Happily for us, our homes continue to be somehow larger than the sum of all their parts and so there will always be room for Just One More Thing. And ours is not, as they say, to reason why.

Until next time
Kathryn x

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