Small Talk / Miniature

Miniature Masterworks: Diane Echnoz Almeyda

Diane Echnoz Almeyda is an enamelist, jeweler, and metalsmith working in 1:12, 1:24, and 1:48 scale. In 1998, she attended a workshop hosted by a master jeweler from the former Soviet Union in plique-à-jour enameling and was enamored: “I took the class and I knew… like a duck takes to water… that was what I wanted to do,” she said. Plique-à-jour (meaning “light of day”) applies ground and mixed glass to silver or gold frameworks with no backing so light shines through the transparent or translucent final product. The 6th century Byzantine technique was popular with Art Nouveau craftsman Rene Lalique, Louis Comfort Tiffany, and Peter Carl Fabergé.

Almeyda traveled all over the world to absorb as much as she could about this lost technique. Now, in additional to making fine-scale miniature stained glass windows, lamps, panels, vessels, and objects d’art, she shares the art form with others in classes, workshops, and private lessons.

Diane Echnoz Almeyda is one of over sixty artists participating in Miniature Masterworks, September 15-17, 2017.

Miniature Masterworks: Geoff Wonnacott

Chess Table

Geoff Wonnacott has been making 1:12 scale 16th-, 17th-, and 18th-century furniture reproductions for over 30 years. Having apprenticed in two towns with a long history in the furniture industry—Exeter and Barnstaple, England—during college, Wonnacott was ready to leave the commercial side of the industry so, he moved to miniature making.

Wonnacott scours the internet, furniture auction catalogs, and visits some of the finest houses and palaces across the United Kingdom and Europe to find inspiration for his next project. After carefully researching his chosen work and drafting scale drawings, he consults his stock of antique wood for just the right piece. Wonnacott mines his materials from full-scale antique furniture because of its superior color and grade. Everything old is new again, but in this case, it is much smaller!

Geoff Wonnacott is one of over sixty artists participating in Miniature Masterworks, September 15-17, 2017.

Miniature Masterworks: Jon Almeda

If you follow the miniature community on Instagram or Facebook, you have probably already been mesmerized by the work of Jon Almeda. Not only does he throw his miniature ceramics on a wheel, but he has created a small portable one to take to the natural settings that inspire him the most. A native of Hawaii and the Pacific Northwest, Almeda’s pieces reflect the calm, cool dark waters and textures of the ocean, and the tall evergreens and luscious flora of each area.

Almeda has always gone to the extremes. His early philosophy was “bigger is better” as he endeavored to create large clay works. This outlook changed when he stumbled upon Creating Ceramic Miniatures, a book by Carla and John Kenny. As Almeda Pottery, he now strives to make 1:12 scale pieces with such detail and proportion that they trick the viewers into thinking that they are much larger than they really are.

Jon Almeda is one of over sixty artists participating in Miniature Masterworks, September 15-17, 2017.

Miniature Masterworks: Michael Yurkovic

Michael Yurkovic first trained as an industrial designer, before transitioning his experience with consumer electronics, toys, games, and home healthcare appliances to creating mid-century modern miniatures. In 2013, he started Atomic Miniature. Following in the footsteps of his favorite designers, Charles and Ray Eames, Eero Saarinen, and George Nelson, he strives to match their materials and techniques. He even uses vacuum forming to mold 1:12 scale plastic pieces!

Yurkovic’s current portfolio of work encompasses furniture, accessories, and vignettes that typify mid-century modern and atomic age styles. Recently, Yurkovic collaborated with another artist to create a commissioned replica of Mindy Lahiri’s office from the television show The Mindy Project. Intrigued?! Check out this work in progress and more on the Atomic Miniature Facebook page.

Michael Yurkovic is one of over sixty artists partinciapting in Miniature Masterworks, September 15-17, 2017.

Miniature Masterworks: Pete Acquisto

Wine Fountain, Pete Acquisto

For Pete Acquisto, making it up as he goes along is part of the job. “Making miniatures is problem solving, and that’s how I view making miniature silver.” Acquisto starting working in his father’s custom woodshop at the age of 14 where he learned how to carve and work with power tools. Five years later, he went into business with a friend selling Indian jewelry. There he learned silversmithing by working with the artisans he hired.

His miniature career actually started on a whim when he made a plate, goblet, and coffee pot for his sister’s friend to take to a fine-scale show. After she came back with a bunch of orders, Acquisto Silver was born. Since then, Acquisto has used techniques from his furniture and jewelry-making days to build a portfolio of over 200 Georgian, Victorian, and Queen Anne silver pieces in 1:12 scale. Acquisto says that engravings and small parts like hinges, feet, and legs are the hardest, but he loves the challenge.

Pete Acquisto is our first “Small Talk” feature of over sixty artists who are participating in Miniature Masterworks, September 15-17, 2017.

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