By Pam North

The outstanding characteristic of Colette Cameron’s creations is her ability to make a microcosm of a shop, store, or other collection of mini-wares that immediately tempts the viewer to shrink down to five-plus inches tall and go shopping!

Colette is a housewife with a definite love of miniatures, which she showcases in room boxes and decorated buildings. A few years ago her partner taught her how to use his power tools, and she started building outdoor furniture. A request from her stepson to build a haunted mansion changed her focus, and she has been walking the miniatures path ever since.

“I’m lucky that I’m at home and can work with my hobby as many hours every day as I want,” she said. “My partner is an amazing man who supports and encourages me to continue every step of the way. I’m ridiculously structured so it has been easy to be able to dedicate my time to miniatures. I love the reflection of everyday life that they portray, and they are so cute! I have absolutely no prior experience at all; I just get an idea in my head and build it.”

Her latest creation is called simply The Corset Shop in Miniature. It was inspired by a burlesque nightclub she was building, to which she added a large dressing room on the top floor. Once that project was completed, she decided to do a smaller version similar to the dressing room as a shop in a room box.

The entire project was hand-built and decorated by her, with the building and furniture all made out of 1cm and 5mm MDF board, cut with a drop saw. “A lot of fabric and lace also was used to create this piece,: she explained “For the corsets I printed out torso shapes, then transferring them onto cardboard. It was then a simple matter of wrapping fabric and lace around the edges, creating shoulder straps, and gluing them all individually onto mini coat hangers I’d made out of wire. The project was very straight-forward, easy and quick to complete, as I had already done the larger version in the past; it really was just a case of recreating the space in a smaller scale.”

Certain facets of the project stood out in her mind. “I really enjoyed the femininity aspect of making a corset shop – who doesn’t love a little bit of lace? However, trying not to lose interest in making so many corsets was difficult, as the process became very tedious and boring. I liked making the cabinets, then filling them to the brim with as many female products as I could. I’m not a big fan of makeup and skin care products, so it was fun to ‘indulge’ a little. I wanted the clothing racks to have a sense of fullness and opulence, and the stands to be filled with pretty items.”

Selling her project is not a main focus. “It would be wonderful if someone wanted to buy it, but I make miniatures out of passion, so financial gain is not that important to me. This is just a project for enjoyment, a little piece that tickled my fancy and allowed me to indulge.”

Inspiration comes easily to Colette. “I’m naturally a visual person, paying much attention to the world around me. I enjoy taking everyday spaces, places where we go, and recreating them. Our world is fascinating, and I’m always curious about commercialism because I’m a minimalist and only have what I really need.”

As for the future of miniatures, she finds that a tricky question to answer. “The market still seems to be on the outer fringes of what is deemed art. I want to see those boundaries pushed so that art galleries show miniatures as well as paintings as an accepted arena in the art world. The future of miniatures also depends on children getting involved and carrying the craft through to the next generation.”

Colette continually pursues new ideas for her projects. “I’m naturally drawn toward everyday spaces, so I will probably continue down that path, representing the shops that are a natural part of our everyday existence and capturing modern day living in miniature. For me, it’s like taking snapshots in time.