From airplanes to designer bags, bubble teas to Ghiblian trips, miniatures are nothing short of metaphorical teabags infusing magic into everyday life. While these Lilliputian creations are often dismissed as simple toys, they are feats of patience and sheer craftsmanship. If you've ever stopped scrolling to look at a tiny cake, or even diminutive succulents, you're not alone in your admiration. But the question still stands, and it's a curious one at that: what is there to love in a miniature?
Dollhouses and ships in bottles, as early as the 18th century, were objects of wealth and dexterity. Maybe it was the allure of things to attach ideas to–narratives, voices to the objects, cake in the oven, the impossible details, or the fantasy of time travel that delighted the masses, or because they're simply everyday objects, just shrunk down. Beauty products, thermos flasks with working lids, scenes taken from everyday life, or even movies, storefronts, medicine shops with drawers filled with dried herbs, miniaturists today are in no way limited to the confines of a 1:12 living room. And it's all undeniably, and for absence of a better word, cute. How else would you describe a cupcake that's a centimetre tall, or an ice cream with dainty toppings? Tiny army men? Cute. The abandoned theatre on display on a teacup? Cute. Neo-miniaturism is as diverse as its enthusiasts and trends, and it's all in the details.
Miniatures scratch a very particular niche in everyone's brain. Whether you gravitate towards food, or vignettes, the scale of these incite an immediate power trip in most - a universe at your control, your story to write, no bills, no realistic property prices to consider. Flaws, scaled down, become next to invisible. While most of our lives are spent seeing disjointed parts and stitching them together in our heads, miniatures provide the satisfaction of seeing how it all comes together, allowing us to better process the big picture. Add that to the illusion of frozen time, and voila, you have a fantasy retreat at your fingertips. A gentle wish of fulfilment, be it a new world, a moment of peace, or a bit of control. For a maker, it's the challenge of creating something realistic in such a small form, and effort put into every detail that forms a mental exercise that keeps them, well, sane.
Whether or not you've been swept up by the recent wave of miniaturism, popularised by the multitude of blogs detailing the how-tos and more, you can't deny the appeal in their little forms. From toddlers to collectors in their eighties, this transfixing hobby has made home in the part of everyone's hearts that yearns for a bit of enchantment. Everyone has a favourite miniature, be it for an emotional value for just the plain aesthetic. As for the artists, the tabletop is a stage, and their skills, the performer.
Care for a piece of pretend-cake, anyone? Delicious.
Sarah Wasifa sees life as a math equation: problematic, perhaps with a solution, and maybe sometimes with a sign to tear off a page and start over again. Help her find 'y' at firstname.lastname@example.org