When you see Fatima’s work, you see beautifully detailed paintings, fantastically real tropical fish & intricately accurate accessories for a dolls house or model. We gasp & admire, but do we really know how much work goes in to creating these tiny treasures?
Inspiration is everywhere if you pay attention, but the ability to perceive is limited. I always have my radar on looking for subjects I can paint or things that I can miniaturise.
It all starts way before Fatima makes her first miniature. She studied fine arts & physics at university, both incredibly important for her future (then unknown) career. Observation & curiosity are things that Fatima believes are the most important skills to have as a miniaturist. Her fine arts training taught her the techniques she would need to develop as her work got smaller & smaller & to understand the importance of proportions & space. The restoration work she did, meant she was sometimes using the finest brushes when repairing a work of art & needing to find that patience that all miniaturists need.
Finally a friend told her about the fascinating world of miniatures & although Fatima had always been intrigued by models of famous buildings & realistic scale replicas, she had no idea that there was a world of collectors who were looking for perfect minute reproductions of everything around her. This was a challenge she couldn’t ignore.
I think the most important thing is to capture the magic, the soul of the real model, so, looking at that miniature piece it really like a magic trick and you wonder how it is possible to do this.
Always inspired by the natural world, working in miniature means there is an inexhaustible world of ideas, but the trick for Fatima is to visualise the finished piece in her mind & through lots of trial & error & remaining close to her original idea she can create something that will captivate & connect with you. Holding that finished piece in your hand, it is finally a tangible thing.
This is her full time job & Fatima believes it is not possible to improve some techniques & skills without putting in a huge amount of time & practice. An example of this was finding out how to work with the transparent resin used in her aquariums & fish bowls & not produce any air bubbles in the finished pieces.
Fatima has an ever-expanding combination of tools required to make these masterpieces in her studio, but she relies on the simple multifunctional toothpick to help with all sorts of jobs – gluing, holding, modelling & to correct tiny mistakes in her paintings.
Always looking for the next challenge, her most complex piece to date is the bronze seahorse aquarium table she has been working on for a very special aquarium (still to be finished). Designing this piece & finding somewhere to cast her designs in bronze & then seeing the finished piece just as she had imagined was amazing.
When you understand what a huge amount of work goes into Fatima’s miniatures, you can only be excited to see what she will produce it the years to come.