Feature: Gale Elena Bantock
Everything about Gale Elena Bantock’s work is recognisable. It isn’t just the style of the exquisitely painted faces, it isn’t just the beautiful costumes worn by her characters, it isn’t just the vivid colours & vintage fabrics used, it is all these things. There is no mistaking Gale’s dolls – her style is totally unique & loved by collectors around the world.
Gale trained as an antique ceramics restorer at the prestigious West Dean College and subsequently ran her own restoration business for many years. It was when visiting a fair in London to buy spare parts for a large Victorian doll, that she discovered the world of miniatures. She was able to transfer many of the skills gained in ceramics restoration into her new discipline. Her workshop is filled with numerous tools both modern and traditional and she actually still uses the same Swan Morton scalpel handle, first used when training at college aged 18.
After making a few items in her workshop, she entered the first ever DHMS Miniaturist of the Year competition. As a result of this, Gale’s work was championed by famous US collector Lauren Stevens who gave her an introduction to the organisers of the London Dollshouse Festival where she has been exhibiting since 1993.
Over the years, Gale’s stand has been added to the “Hit List” of the top international collectors who come to the show to each year to see what new figures & characters she has on her beautiful stand. If you arrive at her table, even an hour after opening time, you will be disappointed & find little left to buy. It is a tough situation for Gale to be in, as she doesn’t like to disappoint customers, but as she creates all her work herself, there is only so much she can make.
Inspiration comes from many sources: paintings, photographs, the beautiful East Sussex countryside that surrounds her garden workshop in Rye, even objets d’art that she has collected. Anything can inspire her to make a particular figure or diorama. Over the years, she has collected an incredible array of vintage silks & fabrics that she uses in her figures. These can also be an inspiration to her when creating her characters.
A highlight for Gale was in 2019, when her stunning, highly decorative & unique ‘Sedan Chair’ was voted as the runner up in the People’s Choice Award in the Perfection in Miniature Awards. For the Christmas Showcase Gale will be featuring several seasonally themed miniatures as well as her customary work of adult and child figures.
See more of Gale’s exquisite work Here