I stumbled across the miniature world while working in London many years ago. It was a rainy Saturday afternoon and I was walking around Covent Garden when I came across a dollshouse shop. Upto then I had no idea such shops even existed! It was so amazing and what really caught my eye was the miniature food. Being interested in cookery already, I was fascinated by the foods on display. I returned to the shop frequently and a few months later I bought my own dollshouse and set about making foods for the kitchen.
I bought several books on modeling with FIMO and that's where it all started. My first few creations were hilarious and I still have one to remind me just how dreadful I was back then! Still, it was great fun although I can't even begin to imagine how many hundreds of hours I spent working on different ideas. But slowly I became more adept at making foods and the more I did, the more interested I got and the better the results.
After a few years I decided to try and sell some of my foods at a local miniature fair. I can still remember well the first cake I sold! It's a daunting experience when you do your first show, but I enjoyed it so much that it spurred me on. From there, I did more and more shows and expanded my range considerably. In 1997 I moved to the US to get married and I now live and work in North Carolina, although I still return to England each year for miniature shows.
My mother is still my greatest asset as she is one of the most amazing cooks I know as well as being the owner of several hundred cookery books. She gives me so many ideas with garnishing and naming some of my more elaborate desserts.
It does seem that over the years I make more desserts and cakes than savory items, but that's because these foods are the most popular. I make traditional English afternoon teas and authentic French pastries as well as breads and quite a few savory dishes. Thinking up new ideas is one of the easier parts, although they don't always work out well in miniature! I have great ideas of how things should look, but I still spend hours practicing new techniques and not everything works out as well as I'd planned. You never stop learning in this hobby.
Working with miniatures is wonderful and although at times it's tiring and hard work when you're preparing for a show, I wouldn't want to do anything else.Lesley Burgess