At Masters Miniatures we are husband and wife team Gary and Heidi Masters. Our business began in 1996 with Gary helping his father Brian, who at the time ran his own successful miniatures business. We specialise in the Tudor, Jacobean, Georgian and Victorian periods, through to the Art Deco of the 1920s-1940s.
We make most household furniture and accessories, including four-poster beds, dressing tables and chairs for the bedroom, and kitchen and scullery items such as dough troughs, towel rails, buckets, water carriers, washstands and mangles. Our dining room and lounge furniture includes the popular Chinese Chippendale chairs, with their very fine, hand-cut lattice backs. Or you may prefer a centrepiece bureau or sideboard, or just a coal scuttle and a 1930s radio!
When we replicate full-size furniture we ask our client to supply plenty of photographs of the item, along with the measurements. Then we scale down the full-size figures. For example, if a wooden chest measures 3 x 2 x 2 feet and our customer requests a miniature at 1/12th scale, we simply convert feet to inches, so this chest becomes 3 x 2 x 2 inches. At this point, if we decide to add this item to our range, we make patterns for future use. We keep as many photographs and notes as possible, together with the patterns. As you can imagine, over the years we have accumulated a vast collection of small pattern boxes!
When we started the business we used a spare bedroom as a workshop, before building a 16 x 10 feet workshop in the garden. We installed better machinery in our purpose-built workshop, including fretsaws, an array of sanding machines, drills and other equipment. Later we added an extension, doubling the size of our workshop so that we could satisfy our order list in time, and accommodate the newly-acquired tools and accessories, kindly donated by Gary’s father when he retired. The workshop is a busy place, as we fulfil telephone and internet orders, and maintain stock levels for Doll’s House Fairs.
Over the years spent working in the miniature furniture business we have ticked items off our wish list, one by one. A personal dream was to attend craft fairs in Europe and one of the big shows in America. Our first venture into Europe came when we exhibited at Arnhem in The Netherlands. We have also exhibited at shows in Guernsey, Jersey, Soest in Germany, and we made a second trip Arnhem. Gary would probably come up with his own workshop wish list of gadgets and tools to make life easier! Our biggest single ambition was to exhibit in the USA. We have now participated in numerous shows there, including Chicago, Boston and Philidelphia. Although we had been selling our furniture in the States for some time, it was a whole new experience to live and breathe an American show.
We have met some amazing people over the years, both clients and fellow craftsmen, and have made many lifelong friends. Our business has flourished, providing us with an income while doing what we love doing, and supporting our family as it grew from one to four children. Perhaps one of the children will learn the skills and keep Masters Miniatures going for a third generation!