Sunday 4 February 2024

2024 Topic 1 : Miniature {on the PaperArtsy Blog} Topic Introduction

Hi everyone, Dounia here

As we kick off the New year on the PaperArtsy Blog, we like to take some time to add some new features, and keep some older ones.

We have a few new bloggers on the team. you will meet them as they share their first posts, and we have a new feature 'With 3 Things' where 3 bloggers are sent the same 3 items to express their creativity - we can't wait to see what they get up to!

Last year we introduced themes that arch over 3 or 4 topics, and the first theme of this year is GLAZED. Here is the word cloud we gave the blogging team to inspire them:

Glazing is an idea which can go in many directions, here are just a few ways they could be used:
  • to glaze, well duh! ;) Whether to want to tint your work or change its finish, glazes are your go-to. For a good place to start, coincidently ;-) the November PaperArtsy release featured our new tinted matte glazes, the Mattints!
  • as topcoats and finishing touches: think varnishes, glossy accent, embossing powders, UTEE or resin. They can coat your work or be used to selectively highlight some juicy details.
  • for even more shine and dimension, you have epoxy stickers, cabochons or glass beads! An amazing way to pull the eye and give some weight to your piece.
  • shine is not just from gloss, do not forget, metal, pearl and mica... Just a bit of pizzaz to elevate a piece and create an atmosphere.
  • glazing does not have to be shiny or transparent. Think of a glazed donut and do not hesitate to experiment!
We hope this theme inspires you and pushes you to reflect on your process and try new things!

Now, the first topic of the year is MINIATURE, sometimes it is kind of fun to see what happens when you go small ... might be a bit fiddly, but good things come in small packages as they say, bigger isn't always better! Let's dive into all things small but mighty!

Do you know where the word 'miniature' comes from? It is quite interesting, as it comes from Minium or red lead oxide. This pigment was widely used in the hand painted illustrations of medieval manuscripts, which often had red backgrounds. They became know as Miniatures, made of minium. As they tended to be depictions of characters and scenes on a small format, the word later took the meaning of 'small scale representation'. Quite a journey to today's mini (skirt and others)!

Grande e general estoria, de Alfonso X el Sabio

From illustrations to portraits, Miniature Artists have been creating tiny wonders since Prehistory. Nowadays, Miniature artists often borrow from the techniques of model making, to play with scale and contrast their small pieces with the full scale world.

Japanese artist Tatsuya Tanaka loves to interpret common objects as parts of much tinier world, where their relative big size changes their use completely. In a Miniature calendar project, he shares one of his works everyday!

Small scale works are often examples of virtuosity. Here is an example with another play on scale! You would think the eggs are giant sculpture but no! They are regular eggs, the kitchen is actually an impeccable miniature!

Picture by Drea Ferreira Donaldson

On a similar note, Tiny Art Show likes to question our relationship with art by presenting only mini works exhibited in venues at their scale, not ours! For more great examples of Miniature art and artists, be sure to check the article A look at Miniature Art by Artsper Magazine.

When does art becomes craft? With its skill and attention to detail, model making, either careful reproduction or total imagination, certainly sits at the border, left to personal appreciation. Here are just a couple of trends in small-world building.

Fairy gardens have been around for quite some times. They are always full of whimsy and hidden delights. You can enjoy some woodsy eye candy in this Fairy Garden collection by Lily

Booknooks have risen in popularity in the past couple of years. They are an gorgeous way to decorate a bookshelf and I personally love the idea of little hidden worlds in the middle of books, themselves full of their own worlds. All style are possible, as shown in this Booknook collection by Paulinelibert├ę.

For more ideas, projects and styles, be sure to browse Persephonia's Miniature art Pinterest collection, as well as Topic 2015 #4: Miniature Art on the PaperArtsy blog!

True to its roots, miniature can be a classic project, just smaller than usual. At this game, mini books certainly are champions!

Lynne Suprok

The book itself can be the project, offering the occasion to experiment with unusual binding and materials. Quite addictive!

It is even more fun to fill the mini books! Do you generally think of each page as a small scale project, or do you prefer to work the whole book as one? Find more sizes and styles in this Micro and Mini books collection by Francy or this one by Another by Deb Brown.
How about a planner version? This is so cute! Discover a lot more in this Micro Happy Planner collection by My Cozy Planner.

Heather Alexander

Decorating birdhouses is a lovely and useful past time. But not all of us live in the countryside, so how about making them into necklaces? Using tiny pieces of wood, I love these micro bird houses. I do not think even hummingbirds could nest in those! If you are interested you can find Alexandra's Birdhouse Pendant Tutorial on Interweave.

Jars and cloches full of mysterious or delicious things line laboratories and grandma's kitchens in our imagination. Let's capture this atmosphere with mini jars, another long time favourite of crafters! Aesthetic or meaningful, there are thousands of ways to fill them, some of them explored in this Mini Jars collection by Aubrianna Lantrip.

Finally, I could not write about shrunk projects without mentioning shrink plastic! Just a little heat and hop, a miniature! While it can be the project main substrate, it is also a great way to make embellishments the right size!

Here is a little (not so) secret: an easy way to make a miniature project is to use a tiny teeny base! For example, do you remember the inchies (1x1in) that were so popular some years ago. I am sure some of us still have some in a box somewhere...
They also had big sisters, the twinchies (2x2in) for 'bigger' projects. Alone or in a grid they are a great way to think on a small scale. Find some great ideas in Topic 2019 #14: Inchies and Twinchies on the PaperArtsy blog.

If you are into upcycling, they are loads of options for you too! Another classic of Miniature crafting are dominos! With their lovely proportions, they can be the base for so many projects: mini book, pendant, bracelets etc... They are still quite popular, as shown by the numerous tutorials available. Here is a video one for 
Altered Domino charms by Nurse Tara in a shabby chic style. If you prefer modern and bright, check this one for Domino Magnets tutorial on Creativity Within. And even more inspiration in this Altered dominoes Pinterest collection by Melinda Gleissner.

Can't Stop Making Things

If you are not into dominos, loads of other playing pieces can be altered, like dice! You can also try this Altered Scrabble Tile charms tutorial on Ink Stains (with real pieces of recycling) for square look.

Still listing all time classic but matchbox and other tiny tins are never out of style! Always a great way to keep small treasures or play with the notions of inside/outside. From vintage to bright, clean and simple all style works, as you can see in this Matchbox art Pinterest collection by Un Chou├»a. More eye candy on the PaperArtsy blog with Topic 2018 #21: Matchbox Art.

Kim Burgher Donaldson

Finally, maybe a curve ball, at at least a newer idea: acorns. Nature offers us many small canvases and acorns are immediately identifiable while still remaining customizable. Be sure to propeare them adequately with the help of this article on How to paint acorn on Home Stories. Do not hesitate to be creative for their decoration, you can see many ideas in this Painted Acorns collection by Iam d'OldeToad.

I hope this introduction post gave you a few ideas or at least offered some beauty for the day. We hope to get inspired to try your hand at, or come back to, miniature pieces and have fun playing small.

If you want to create along with us we would love to see what you get up to! 

You could tag us on Facebook, Instagram @paperartsy , Twitter, or post in PaperArtsy People Group on Facebook. We really love to hear about how the blog topics have inspired you, so don't be shy!!

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