Miniature Art: Food Edition

Miniature-Food-SculptureThere are many different types of Miniature Art, from dollhouses, to shadow boxes, to even miniature food sculptures. This week, we will focus on the growing trend of miniature food art.

First, let’s discuss miniature food sculptures made out of nonedible materials. For instance, small pieces of polymer clay that have been shaped to imitate sushi, turkey dinner or other meals. These were once used primarily for dollhouses. As previously mentioned in my other blog about dollhouses, these foods were used in the kitchen to help teach young girls daily responsibilities and how to run and maintain a household.

Now, artists are replicating miniature pieces of food to create various sculptures and there are some great artists who recreate miniatures and attach them to jewelry pieces. You can find all kinds of necklaces, bracelets and more that feature cute little ice creams and yummy lollipops, with googly eyes and tongues sticking out. Oh what would our Victorian forefathers think?

However, it is not only imitation items that are making a big splash in the miniature world. Perhaps inspired by the mini craze in food stuffs, chefs today have begun to take part in fascinating competitions regarding the creation of tiny little meals constructed with real food!

For instance, a sushi dish might use individual pieces of rice with minuscule pieces of sashimi dotted on top or affixed with a thin shred of seaweed. These competitions range from lots of fun to incredibly serious depending on the participants and the stakes.

To me, the miniature food is a necessary addition to any dollhouse or shadow box that contains a kitchen scene. The kitchen is the miniature-food-art-fairchildart-4heart of the home and depending on your style of kitchen, it’s realistic to have the best food in New York like pizza and Chinese food or more extravagant meals such as Thanksgiving or a Christmas Ham.

A Short History of the Dollhouse

dollhouse-1311358_640Dollhouses are probably the most popular form of miniatures that people are familiar with. But did you know that dollhouses of today got their start in the 1700s?

These houses were considered “baby” houses and were popular in Europe as displays of ideal interiors and furnishings. Small doll houses offering realistic exteriors began emerging in the 1800s.

All early dollhouses were handmade making them a highly collectible and luxury item. It was not until after World War II that they began to be mass produced and made more affordable.

Originally, doll houses were not toys. They were meant to be miniature replicas designed to represent real manors or palaces. In the early days of doll houses, these objects were also used to teach girls how to become ladies of the house.

They used the settings with the dolls to gain a better understanding of how to manage a staff that would make beds, prepare meals and so forth. One of the earliest examples of this type of teaching doll house is that of the Princess of Saxony ‘s which she gave to her daughters in 1512!

Queen Mary had one of the most famous doll houses of all time. It was a miniature replica of Windsor Castle and was given to her by her loyal subjects as a birthday present shortly after World War I.

Today, doll houses are not only still mass produced as toys for children but the old miniatures are also available as collectibles for adults. Many woodworkers replicate the old style of miniature dollhouses and enjoy showing off their abilities by creating intricately built, well-furnished doll houses. They can be inexpensive or can be multi-million dollar projects. W3141_1

Barbie’s Dream House is a modern day example of a doll house that has lost all remnants of its original predecessor. Although it’s
great that Barbie has a huge walk in closet for all her fashion accessories, it doesn’t have the interior design aesthetic or appeal that original dollhouses have. There’s no way anyone would want to live in so much pink!

My Favorite Place on Earth

As a fan of miniatures, one of my all time favorite places to visit is The Great American Dollhouse Museum. It was definitely on my bucket list and I am proud to say I’ve been there a handful of times. If you have never been then you should definitely watch this video!