One of the questions I’m most asked is ‘how long does it take me to complete a figure?’ and my answer is, sixty seven years. Everything I’ve ever done now rests in the work in front of me. My first love was dance, which still gives me an understanding of the figure in space. I won a scholarship to Nottingham Art College, at fifteen, which taught me anatomy. I became a display artist while still searching for my starring role in the theatre, which never came. So, a failed dancer and actor I moved to my other love which is theatrical costuming, the history of costume, cutting and drape of each period enables me to dress my figures so they tell a story.
I discovered the world of miniatures quite by chance and Jill Bennett and I started up J Designs in 1984 and I’ve never looked back. All those ‘wasted’ careers fell into place. Jill and I went our separate ways after three years and I went back, for a time, into the theatre and interior design but I was looking for a medium to work in other than porcelain, which was the usual thing to model in in those days, It took me seven years and a broken ankle to remember a small block of polymer clay that we’d used and dismissed as not being acceptable to find what I’d been looking for. It was exactly what I needed and my life changed again.
With encouragement from others and a lot of experimentation I finally found my way.
Now I travel all over showing my work, meeting lovely friends who feel the same as I do about our strange small world and get the chance to share my skills with others. My other passion is teaching, thirteen years ago I was awarded Artisan Status for The International Guild of Miniature Artisans – IGMA – and was invited to propose a 36 hour class for the Guild School in Castine, Maine. I’m now a Fellow of The Guild and so look forward to every class I teach. It’s where I learn new habits from my students which helps keep my work fresh and alive.
The miniature world is full of the most wonderful, caring, sharing group of people in the world; language is no barrier to our work, no matter what our native language is it seems we can all speak miniatures to each other. That glint in the eye tells me everything I need to know about you.