It was a crazy week last week (and this weekend); the school show, A Midsummer’s Night Dream, opened on Friday, which meant that we were spending twelve hours a day at school, with four-and-a-half hour full dress rehearsals. “Call” for makeup and hair was three hours before performance, and with three performances in two days, I’m sure you can gather that I was spending a lot more time pretending to be Queen of the Amazons than making food for 1:12 scale mouths.
To relax after rehearsals during the week, I tried making a couple of canes: grapefruit, lime, and red bell pepper. Unfortunately, they all distorted when I thinned them out (I don’t know why) so I spent some time stewing heatedly and stomping around the house rather than doing something more productive (maybe “try, try again”?).
It was then that I came to a decision. There are like a million cool things that I want to make in miniature. Seriously. If we were to tape all my idea lists together, we’d have a good ten feet of ideas. I wish I had time to make all of them, but I don’t.
It’s always been important to me for my miniatures to be handmade, not turned out of a mold and splashed with some instant faux whipped cream. This means warming and mixing clay by hand, teasing it into the right shape, painstakingly texturing it (often with a pin or toothpick), brushing it with chalk pastels, baking the piece, and then glazing it. Most of my miniatures take at least 45 minutes to make start-to-finish, and then there’s another half hour to devote to finding just the right light setup, photographic angle, photo prop pieces, tags, and item descriptions for the Etsy listing.
As a full-time student with the prerequisite other commitments, this isn’t feasible. How can I cut time off my process? Finding out how is a journey for me (like “trip”, not the band), and I’ve decided that the first step is buying a few food canes instead of making my own. Yes, they’re commercially made. No, they’re not terribly original. But it’s a step I need to take in order to keep creating unique, fun miniatures.
I will continue to hand-turn little cakes, mix goopy liquid clay with solid clay for frosting, spin “egg yolks” into fluffy peaks with a pin, and roll tiny lattice patterns into wafer cookies. But instead of seeing my mashed up, crooked lime slices on a tart, you’ll see sleek, gorgeous commercially-made ones. Who knows? Maybe someday, I’ll be able to have time to devote to caning. But for now, viva la miniature suppliers.