Nelson miniaturist Barbara Melbye with some of the items that she will have on display at the Nelson Miniature Show in Stoke this weekend. Photo: Kate Russell.

Masters of minis on show


Nelson woman Barbara Melbye enjoys the smaller things in life.

Her living room is a magical haven of tiny treasures, from a scaled-down Edwardian villa and a quirky caravan, to smaller rooms hidden away in display cabinets.

The passionate miniaturist will be among about 100 exhibitors at The Nelson Miniature Club’s show at the Stoke Memorial Hall this weekend.

Barbara’s been a member of the club since its inception 15 years ago and says making miniatures is about making the kind of spaces she might like to have in real life.

“I’ve always been into crafts – but with miniatures, you can let your imagination run riot. I think it’s just the fantasy element of it.”

Each of her carefully crafted miniatures is perfect in every way, down to the tins of food in the villa’s miniature pantry and the tiny magazines on the shelves.

Barbara does much of the miniature custom cabinetry herself, and also makes items from kits and personalises them with paint and fabric.

She even makes her own labels for the pantry items by scanning life-size ones and shrinking them with her printer.

“If someone asked me how long it takes to makes things, I couldn’t tell them. I like to work on a few things at a time, otherwise it gets stale,” she says.

The Nelson Miniature Show convenor Jeanette Dungan says viewers might be surprised at some of the everyday items that they’ll discover at what will be their seventh show, this weekend.

“There will be lots of quirky items – steampunk, an Egyptian pyramid, gypsy caravans, fantasy gourd houses, peddler barrows and miniature embroideries.”

She is also hoping the show will encourage people to join the club. “Miniatures can be a great stress reliever and it can be very inexpensive if you’re a D-I-Y person and have the necessary machinery on hand – or it can be very expensive if you want the best of everything.”

A free rock painting workshop for children will be running on offer, as well as an ‘elf-on-the-shelf’ counting competition.

The Nelson Miniature Show is on this Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 4pm at the Stoke Memorial Hall. Adults $5, Children $2.