What started as a challenge from his sister 40 years ago, is now an all consuming passion for Pete Acquisto.
Growing up, Pete’s father was a skilled carver and a master furniture builder. At 14, Pete was working in his shop, learning how to use woodworking machines and how to carve. Then, in 1969 he decided to start making silver jewellery on the side. 10 years later, his sister showed him her miniature collection.
Pete was not impressed with the quality of the miniature silver so she challenged him to do better. (How often do I hear someone say “I could make that!” I usually raise my eyebrows, smile & say, “Why not have a go & show me how you get on?” In Pete’s case however, I would have to have eaten my scepticism off one of his tiny silver platters, because he did do better).
But Pete really wasn’t that interested in miniatures. A few months later, his sister mentioned that her friend was going to the Chicago Dollshouse Show & suggested he made a few items for her to take, he agreed. The friend returned with a large number of orders & Pete quickly changed my mind about the miniatures world they soon became his only business. He has now been making miniature silver for forty years & loves the challenge of making accurate historical miniature reproductions of antique silver.
It is like working out a puzzle because the miniature must be made in a completely different way from the full size piece. You make it up as you go.Pete Acquisto
He usually work from photos and has the unusual technique of reducing the photo to the size of the miniature, this way he can see exactly what the finished miniature should look like. It helps show how thick a handle should be or how other parts of the piece should look. He will then make an original from metal (usually silver) which allows him to make delicate parts look realistic in a miniature setting. (This is an advantage over using wax to make a model which some other silversmiths use).
This is Pete’s full time job. Every new original miniature reproduction is a challenge. His most time consuming piece? A wine fountain. It took almost 600 hours to make. It poised many problems because of it’s size and shape but it is his favourite piece too.
Miniatures have taken me to every state in the United States and several other countries. Miniatures have been responsible for having friends all over the world.Pete Acquisto
You can see Pete’s work at
The National Geographic Museum in Washington DC
Musee de Civilization in Quebec, Canada
National Museum of Miniatures dolls and toys
Kentucky Gateway Museum
Mini Time Machine
Carol Kaye Miniatures Museum
Washington Dollhouse and toy museum
American Museum of miniatures in Bath (UK)
and 16 other museums around the US and abroad.