Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Ann Vanture, Miniaturist, of Paper Minis

Samples of Paper Miniatures in Vintage Style Made by Ann
I was thrilled when Ann Vanture agreed to answer my questions about making miniatures from paper. Here are some insights into the inspiration behind her Paper Minis business.

W. What got you started in the miniatures hobby?
A.  My younger sister, Cordelia, is actually the force that got me started on Paper Minis. She has spent years populating a wonderful Victorian house our Father built for her as well as many room boxes. One day she showed me her latest dollhouse accessories purchase. I was impressed, but felt that the little kitchen groceries could be improved. Having worked as a graphic artist for many years, and with Cordelia's encouragement, I quickly became obsessed with creating the perfect 1:12 scale miniature. A task that took many years longer than I thought it would. The resulting Paper Minis' process is my special "secret recipe" -- 10 years to figure out how to bring out color, texture, crisp lines and readable typesetting at a scale 1/12th our human size! If you have been following Paper Minis over the years on-line (from the end of 2002), you know it has been an interesting journey.

W.  What is the most unusual or special miniature you own?
The Bavarian Miniatures From Ann's Childhood
A.  The most special miniature I own is my girlhood collection of furniture and accessories. The kitchen and bedroom sets came from the Bavarian Forest which we bought when I was about 7 in Germany while my father was stationed in France. The tin can curly-q furniture and the cast iron stove and accessories I bought with my own money while visiting the Ozark Mountains with my Grandparents who lived in Missouri, probably when I was  between 11 and 14 years of age. We would go camping each year on the White River in the Ozarks. My years in Europe and those camping trips were the highlights of my childhood. These items have been in storage during my adult years, and my grown daughter Cristen and I hope to make a house for the furniture in the near future.
W.  Which part of your Paper Minis business do you enjoy doing the most –  for example: dreaming up an idea, creating a prototype, dealing with customers?
A.  The most enjoyable part of Paper Minis business is the inception (the grand day dream!) of a project and then gathering the design elements. Those design elements might be a derivative element, like using antique photos to cover puzzle blocks, or a design element might be a completely custom artwork. Building that first “draft” is like Christmas morning for me. I don’t get to do that much anymore because of all the administrative tasks required for running a business (3 hours a day in email alone!), so I savor those few moments in a month when I get to be creative.           
A Range of Contemporary Miniatures from Paper Minis

 W.  Do you have a dolls house now? Can you tell us about it?
A.  I do not have a dollhouse, which has surprised many. I get the impression that when people visualize my home in their mind’s eye they see gingerbread inside and out with spiral starlight mints, gum drops and dollhouses on every surface in the house. Over the years I have made many boxes to stage Paper Minis for photos and those are kept in the studio. I am dull as dishwater when it comes to miniatures in my own house. But remember, my daughter and I will eventually have one to display!

Many thanks, Ann, for answering my questions. Let's hope you get your dolls house sooner rather than later!
In my next post, I'll have some information and examples of how Ann goes about making miniature books.


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