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Small world: The miniature model-makers who are hugely creative

13 May 2019

Life in Miniature, a new short film by Ellen Evans, focuses on miniaturist Kath Holden, who makes incredible scaled-down models of everyday objects like mobility scooters, deep fat fryers and meat platters. Watch the film and find out more below - and if you're feeling inspired, the Get Creative Festival has events all over the UK where you can try your hand at something creative.

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When filmmaker Ellen Evans was commissioned by the Sheffield Documentary Festival to make a three-minute short, she decided that the world of miniatures would be an ideal subject. She says: "Given the constraints of the brief, I thought it would be fun to make a short film about small things."

Instead of the focusing on the craft involved, Evans wanted the miniatures to be used as a storytelling device, but knew this approach would require a strong character at the centre of the film – which is where Kath Holden came in.

After drawing up a huge database and contacting doll's house makers and miniaturists across the UK, Evans knew Kath was the perfect subject for Life in Miniature. She says: "Kath stood out not only for her deadpan humour but because she's open and honest and finds meaning in what she does."

Kath Holden examines a cast of the base of a mobility scooter | All images © Ellen Evans / Delph Miniatures
A hospital bed and drip; a camera and tripod – Evans' personal favourite; and an ironing board and iron.

Delph Miniatures – established in 1991 – is run by Kath and her mum Margaret.

Miniatures are used to tell stories – and for a filmmaker that's a gift
Ellen Evans

As well as being a great subject for her film, Evans believes the collectors' items that Kath produces stand out from those made by other miniaturists.

She says: "Kath's miniatures are a direct representation of her own experiences and what she sees in her everyday life in Bradford.

"Kath talks about how miniatures are a way for people to represent a world; either an aspirational one 'they can't afford in reality' or the world as they themselves experience it.

"Miniatures are used to tell stories – and for a filmmaker that's a gift."

Hooded hair dryer and other salon paraphernalia.
A deep-fat fryer, sandwich board, and drawers found in a chip shop.

Given Life in Miniature's distinctively British sense of humour, Evans was curious how the film would go down abroad.

But she says: "It actually seems to have gone down well – it played at Sundance and SXSW and then a host of film festivals across the United States."

Evans is now working on new projects – including a short film funded by the BFI called Country Girl. She says: "It's a markedly different tone to Life in Miniature, so it'll be interesting to see how it's received."

Related Links

More miniatures from BBC

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