October 30, 2015

#Halloween in #Miniature 2015: Spooky Miniatures 4

Today is Day 4 of Halloween in Miniature 2015
* Go to Day 1 - Next: Day 5

Miniatures and Fiction a Little Bit Spooky

 Here's an excerpt from my story, "Puppy Love and Zombies"  coming in Young Adventurers: Heroes, Explorers and Swashbucklers. Pre-order Nov. 1!  See website

(The story features my part-zombie girl Becca from my book, GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie facing one of her biggest fears and solving a mystery - who's taking all the dogs?)

 "Puppy Love and Zombies" 
By C.A. Verstraete

    Most of us had been too busy surviving, and trying to avoid the roaming hordes of ravenous undead, to notice something else was going on.
    Yeah, like the rest wasn't bad enough? It was, but this new thing nearly did what the mutated Z virus didn't already do—kill me.
    The morning started great when my Uncle Franco brought this beautiful, year-old white German Shepherd puppy over for us to meet. Unlike my first dog experience (more on that later), the puppy bounced around, played, barked, and most important, didn't make me afraid.
    Call it love at first lick.
    For once, I forgot all the zombie stuff that had plagued me for the past year. I threw a ball and laughed at how she ran and brought it right back. “Ooh, she’s so cute and smart! I’m going to call her Fluffy! Is she mine? Can I keep her, can I?”
    I begged and begged, though I knew my Tia (Spanish for Auntie) Imelda already loved her as much as I did. Then we heard the yells outside. My uncle's cries of “look out!” came too late. My cousin Carm opened the door and jumped back at sight of the chaos in front of our house. Our neighbor Mr. Thompson screamed, “go back in, shut the door!” as two of the zombies came at him.
    In the last few months, most of the full Zs had been rounded up and exterminated, but a few wanderers like these kept us on our toes—at least they should’ve. My uncle grabbed his gun and fired at the monsters. The excitement was too much—the puppy panicked and pulled out of her collar. I screamed as she darted out the door and ran off in the opposite direction.

    “NO-NO!” I yelled and tried to catch her, but she was gone. I would've followed if not for the strong arms of my cousin and aunt holding me back.
    “No, Becca honey, let her go,” Tia implored. “She'll come back or someone will find her.”
    “No, she won't,” I cried. “She won't!”
    And she didn't....

** Get the book to find out where Fluffy went and what's happening to all the dogs! Is it zombies... or something worse? 

Today's Spooky Miniaturist! 

Today I wanted to introduce you to some  talented artisans who enjoy putting a "little" scare in their miniature work and who contributed to this year's Halloween in Miniature 2015!

First up is UK artist Linda Cummings. I've admired her work on Facebook and invited her to share some of her amazingly realistic (and sometimes creepy) miniature food. And no drooling! (Okay, I know you can't help it!) 

Linda is a Fellow with the International Guild of Miniature Artisans (IGMA) who sells her minis under the name Linsminis (and Linsminiartform.) Check her Etsy shop (http://www.etsy.com/shop/linsminis /) or see her website, www.linsminis.com.  You can see more of her work on her Pinterest page.

She has been making miniatures for 12 years and says she is “never bored by it, there is always an absorbing fascination in seeing a piece come to life. Often the finished piece is nothing like the way I imagined when I start it, but somehow “evolves” as I work!”

While she was home watching the kids and her husband was working nights at the nightclub they owned and ran for over 20 years, Linda eventually began looking for something else to do once the children were in bed.

“With nothing on the telly to keep me entertained, I turned to counted cross stitch & watercolours,” she says. “Sadly, there are only so many walls in a house to display art so it was a timely birthday present from my mother that began the miniature obsession. She had given me a kit for a two-story house & one miserable, rainy day I decided to actually build it. (It had been sitting unmade in a cupboard for a few years!!)”

That house became a Victorian cake shop filled with her first attempts at making miniature food. “At that time, before the real impact of the Internet, the only miniatures I could find to fill my shop were hugely out of scale and poor quality plastic imports,” she recalls. “So, I decided to make my own. I still have some of those original pieces and now when I look at them I laugh and can’t believe just how much my work has improved over the years!”

She credits her youngest daughter with urging her to sell her handmade creations. ‘One day she said to me, ‘you know Mum, those are fantastic, you should sell them.’ At the time she was at Bath University and there was a wonderful doll’s house shop in Bath run by Caroline Neville. My daughter dragged me there with a piece of my work, a basket filled with veggies, to see if they’d be interested in stocking any. The basket never made it to the owner as a customer in the shop asked to look at it and bought it there and then! I was so embarrassed, not only did I have no idea of what to charge for it, but I was stealing one of the shop’s customers! eBay was in its infancy in those days and in early 2004 I started selling from there….the rest is history!”

Linda works with “the usual materials” - polymer clay, air dry clay, artist’s pastels, wood and linen threads for the baskets. She says what she likes best about working in miniature is the detail.

 “I love the challenge of getting as much detail as I possibly can in a miniature which is why I prefer 12th scale, as any smaller and the minutiae is lost,” she says. “I still very occasionally work cross-stitch, but to be honest, between my ever growing family, big garden and game birds, I have very little time left over. I am usually found in my workshop in the wee small hours, desperately trying to catch up! If someone could give me another 24 hours in every day I would be so grateful!”

While some miniaturists often sell their creations and aren’t collectors, Linda does have three houses in her collection:  “I have the original cake shop that started it all, a thatched farmhouse that is a home for my feathered game birds and a Victorian ladies’ outfitters. I collect silver miniatures and have some oh-so-tiny, perfect pieces made by Mike Sparrow. I have a fascination for tiny teapots and just can’t resist the gorgeous work of Loredana Tonetti, who works in cold porcelain.”

And if she had to pick a favorite miniature (or two), what would it be? 

“My favourite piece is an art deco silver ashtray, complete with the tiniest cigarettes in silver holders and lidded cigarette box with a double opening lid, made by Mike Sparrow.”

* Come back tomorrow for more Halloween goodies and miniature artisans!* 

* See Day 5 - Happy Halloween!! *
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