Miniature Size/Maximum Craftsmanship
By Michelle Devitt
Miniatures have always fascinated me because of the delicate nature of their size. Seeing miniscule nativites, with Baby Jesus and little animals is just plain cute!
Once I started crafting and doing sculpture I realized how much more difficult it is to create something small. Working with tiny pieces often requires tools other than just my hands. (Now it even requires magnification to see what I’m working on.) Crafting in clay gives one a good idea of how much harder it is to sculpt details in tiny pieces. Working with wire and twisting it into small shapes takes a steady hand and patience. When Glass is the medium, cutting small pieces without them shattering takes much practice.
Many miniature nativities are mass produced. After the artist’s original rendering a mold is made. Then multiples can be manufactured quickly and inexpensively. Oftentimes these pieces are hand-painted, regardless of the material they are made of..
Original nativities take much skill and practice before the one-of-a-kind piece passes the inspection of it’s maker. Finishing touches often take more time than the initial construction of a miniature nativity.
Miniatures usually don’t bring in the price per hour/skill as larger sets do, so comparatively speaking an artist does more work on miniatures per dollar received. The exception to this is the few renowned miniature artists who garnish high pries for their one of a kind natvities.
I rephotographed these miniatures with a ruler in the background to show their size. All are an inch or less. Pictured here are several handmade nativities in addition to some commercially produced pieces... see if you can distinguish them.