Thursday, 4 January 2018

The Miniaturist BBC Drama , the making of the dolls

Happy New Year !
Once again the new year starts with resolutions to update my blog more often !
This year I am starting with some interesting news about a project I worked on in spring last year .
Those of you in the UK may have tuned in to watch the BBC1 adaptation of Jessica Burtons wonderful novel "The Miniaturist" on Boxing day , concluding on the 27th December

 
I was watching avidly, not only because I love the book so much , but also because I was thrilled to have been involved in making the miniatures for the program
 

 I created the dolls for the program , shown here in some of the actors hands
 

 
A closer photo of the Marin and Johannes dolls
 
 
Early in 2017 I was contacted by both the buyer for the BBC production and by Susie Rogers who was coordinating the miniatures for the production .
I was keen to be involved as I loved the book so much .
Reading it my imagination had been captured completely by the mysterious arrival
of the miniature dolls that looked just like the occupants of Nellas home and  people in her life.
I didn't dream I would one day be making those dolls myself so of course I jumped at the opportunity to do so !
 


 
There were a few issues , firstly the timing !
I was to make 7 dolls with a tight deadline for the end of April.
The time I had set aside to work on the new dolls for my table at Miniatura show in March ...
I've never minded a little hard work so I was sure this would not be a problem, who needs sleep ! I would just work from dawn till dusk and all would be okay ....
The brief was a bit of a challenge , these dolls were to look like the dolls of the time , the 1600s.
They were to be portraits of the actors but look like dolls and not tiny people ...
Not only that but although I was to wig them and make their footwear the costuming was to be done by the production costuming team using the fabrics from the full size costumes .
I sent a practice doll off so the costumers could make a toile and practice  clothing and then waited for photos of the actors , which were not forthcoming with any speed.
Not to be deterred I made up 7 bodies with arms and legs leaving the heads for last.
Finally I received the photos of the cast I needed and then it was full speed ahead to recreate them in miniature doll form !
 

 
Marin without her wig
 

 
Frans in wig and leather boots
 
 
Agnes in her hand painted stockings and replica footwear

 
Making Nella , here she is yet to have her limbs . Note her body is sculpted in the shape of a 17th century doll

 
Jack , who was meant to grinning in an evil manner !


              Johannes in miniature
 
 
Cornelia
 
 Otto

 
Painting Cornelia
 
The dolls were all painted in the style of the period with rosy cheeks and strong eyebrows .
Even the male dolls wore a lot of blush !
Although I would love to have costumed them I had to admit on seeing the finished dolls  that it was the right choice for the costuming department to take over.
I usually spend hours sourcing natural fabrics and sewing the clothing to fall in a natural way and look as realistic as possible. I would have found it very difficult to make the stiff doll like costumes that really did make  the dolls look so authentic .
I was pleased to make the footwear though , the male dolls wore long leather boots ( apart from Otto who had shoes and stockings ) and the ladies had rather ornate handpainted stockings based on the actual ones wore by the actors.
Wigging was the final touch  closely following the photo references provided .
After carefully packaging the 7 characters and sending them off it seemed a long wait till December but there was much excitement in my house as boxing day arrived and we sat down to watch the drama.
I loved the adaptation , it was visually stunning and aside from the drama was the delight Im sure all of us real life miniaturists felt in seeing the dolls house and all the beautiful miniatures involved in the production.
A real treat and something I will never forget being a very small part of !
Julie x
 


Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Spring Miniatura , 25th and 26th March 2017

 I will be exhibiting at Miniatura as usual this weekend .  These are just a few of the new characters who will be on my table .

I will be on table number G2





Hope to see you there !
Julie x


Friday, 3 February 2017

Some new dolls and some old !


I  cant believe its already February 2017 ! 
So here we are with some new dolls and some old which I didnt get around to showing here .
The David Beckham Genie has to be one of the most unusual commissions I've been asked to make but he was a lot of fun to do and I got to spend lots of time looking at photos of the handsome Mr. Beckham so no complaints from me ....

Miss Peregrine and the twins I made purely for fun. I had been to see the movie and was struck by the imagery . I couldn't resist making a few of the characters .

The old witch is a new character who will be available on my table this March  at Miniatura show , Birmingham NEC.
I often use a real face as inspiration when sculpting a character . The inspiration behind this one was the lovely and sadly now departed actress Liz Smith . 
I'll be back with more new characters soon
Julie x

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Kensington Christmas dollshouse Festival December 3rd 2016

I can't believe it's a December already !
One of the highlights of the festive season is always the Kensington Christmas Dollshouse Festival and I am looking forward to the show.
I've been very busy making new characters and hope you can come along to meet them .
If you can make it I'll see you there , Kensington town hall , London  , saturday 3rd December

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Miniatura 1st and 2nd October 2016

 Once again its time for the first of the Autumn shows !
I always love to exhibit at Autumn Miniatura which is held at the NEC in Birmingham 1st and 2nd October.

 It has been a very busy summer for me and I havent had as much time as I would like to photograph all of the new dolls I have created for the show.
There are characters to suit every scene 
These are just a few of my favourite and more unusual characters !
If you are visiting the show pop by and say hello , there are more little characters waiting to greet you on my table !

Julie x

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Doll days of Summer....

August 6th and the dog days of summer are almost over.....
I have been a little less productive than usual of late and blaming the dog days and a need for a rest after the Spring shows.
Ive just realised my Kensinton Festival post didn't actually publish so apologies for anyone who had been looking forward to the preview, it was a great show as always .
Here are a couple of the characters who came along to the show with me and sold there



After the show I went on a trip to Paris with my friend Jain  to visit the S.I.M.P show which was a real treat . Lovely to visit a show as a customer and get to talk to everyone and admire all the artisans work .
I came home inspired by my visit to France and the first doll I made was this old ghost who I named The Ghost of Versailles after the opera of the same name whose costumes were also a great inspiration to me.
The summer months are a time when I can concentrate on commission work and I have been working my way through the order book.
This Regency couple were a lot of fun to create. My customer wanted me to model them on the British actors Pete Postlethwaite and Kathy Burke  !
Now that we are into August the preparation has began in earnest for the Autumn shows so I will post some preview photos over the next few weeks ,
Julie x

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Spring has arrived along with some new characters !



Spring has finally arrived and it has been lovely in the shed being able to work with sun streaming through the windows !
I have a few more characters to preview before Miniatura, the first of the Spring shows





The Dowager needs no introduction ! I am a  fan of  Downton Abbey and have enjoyed recreating some of the characters over the last few years. This is my new Dowager and she will be available at Miniatura alongside Mrs Patmore.

Another favourite character is Miss Marple and this is my version of her as played by the wonderful actress Margaret Ruttherford



I really enjoyed making this litte lady , I also made her hat and handbag !


 
The old fisherman is a character from my imagination.  He would look wonderful sitting outside a fishermans cottage or a pub !
Of course he would happily sit anywhere so would loo just as good reading his newspaper in a comfy chair or perhaps sitting at the kitchen table .


All these dolls will be at Miniatura.
I have had an incredibly busy start to the year so I am now closing my order book .
I am booked up well into 2017 so I wont be taking any more orders until I have honoured all outstanding ones.
I will post here and on my facebook page if and when I am able to take on more orders.
In the mean time I will be listing in my Etsy shop between shows and you can purchase directly from me at Miniatura this Spring and Autumn and at the  Kensington Dolls House festival in May and at the  Christmas show
,


Friday, 4 March 2016

Spring is in the air which means its almost Miniatura time again !


It's almost time for the first of the big Spring shows here in the U.K. so as always it's a busy time .
As soon as the first snowdrops and crocus start to bloom  then you know I will  be spending long hours in the shed working on new dolls. 
It's a real hive of industry in there with doll parts waiting to be assembled and fabrics waiting to be cut and sewn into tiny costumes !

These two witches are ready and can't wait for the show ! 
I just wish one of them could cast a spell to tidy up my messy shed . 
As you can see one has been helping me with the costuming ..... she has done a wonderful job darning her stocking ! Now if the other can just sweep her broom across the floor it would be a real help !
Miniatura will be held at Birmingham NEC 2nd and 3rd of April .
I will have a lovely selection of new characters there and I hope there will be something for everyone . There will be witches , some Downton Abbey inspired characters , some modern characters and even some pumpkin people .
  I hope you can come along to the show , it's well worth a visit.
I will preview a few more characters here before the show so watch out for those.
Julie x


Thursday, 17 December 2015

Merry Christmas !


It's the most wonderful time of the year , and for me and most of us one of the busiest times.
I am putting the finishing touches to the last of the years orders and soon it will be time to take stock of the year and get ready for the new one !
I would like to wish everyone a very merry Christmas and say Thank You to everyone who has supported me this year .

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Thank you, it was a great show !

Just wanted to say a big "Thank You " to everyone who came along to Miniatura show at the NEC .
I had a great time, its always lovely to meet customers old and new and of course to catch up with good friends. 
This sleeping grandpa witth his playful young grandchildren was with me at Miniatura :)

My next show will be Kensington Xmas Festival in London , December 5th
I will post some preview pictures here and hope to see you at the show !
Julie x

Monday, 28 September 2015

Ready for the show ! Autumn Miniatura 3rd and 4th October 2015

 It's been all go in the shed for the last few weeks getting ready for the first of the Autumn shows !
 Autumn Miniatura is at the NEC , Birmingham on 3rd and 4th of October 
These are just a few of the new dolls I have been working on for the show
 I always look forward to exhibiting at Miniatura,  its lovely to meet up with fellow artisans and friends and meet customers old and new .
As a miniature collector myself its also a chance for me to shop and I always try to come home with some new and very special item for my own collection, which makes the weekend even more fun !
If you are visiting the show please come along and say hello , My table is number D11
Hope to see you there !
Julie x

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Christmas in August ? Oh, go on then !

Okay, so its August, the sun is shining and the children still havent gone back to school after the long summer break.
So what have we here ? Yes Mrs Santa Claus busily darning some rather large boot sized socks for dear old Santa Claus !
 It might still feel like summer but I am busy preparing for the Autumn / Winter shows and I always like to have at least one Christmassy doll at each of them.
This old dear will be packed away into a box now ready for Autumn Miniatura ( Birmingham NEC October 3rd and 4th ) but couldnt resist taking her photo to share with you before putting her away .
Its going to be a busy few weeks leading up to the show but I will post a few more sneaky previews before the big weekend arrives !
Julie x