Shining a light on one of our newest exhibitors.

Esther’s Miniatures join the LDF Family.

Since I was a young child, art has always fascinated me. Then I grew up, got involved in my studies and went on to becoming a Maritime Lawyer. I spent several years as an advocate in Bombay, practicing in the High Court there, arresting ships for a living. My profession was hectic and demanded a lot of my time so it was not until I got married and moved to Trivandrum that I could give vent to my artistic endeavors. Trivandrum is a tropical paradise but lacked a High Court which was vital to my specific branch of Law. I found myself suddenly bored and looking for ways to occupy my time and do something with my life. I got involved with dollhouse miniatures and was fascinated by the level of realism that one could infuse into these tiny works of art. I started collecting and later making these tiny wonders that never failed to mesmerize me.

I like keeping abreast with technology changes and once 3D printing gained popularity, I started to think about how these glorious new machines could contribute to my artistic journey and how they could be used going forward. Though I had no knowledge of any 3D design software. I eventually came across something called Shapr3d that I found exceptionally intuitive to use. I decided to learn all that I possibly could about this software and attempt to use it to create miniatures. 

Tiffany lamps are fabulous in their appearance, and I’ve always wanted to create these in miniature. I went through the miniaturist rite of passage and made one with a ping pong ball as well. However, the idea of cutting and then joining 100’s of tiny pieces of glass was extremely daunting. After I picked up some rudimentary skills in Shapr3d, I decided to use that knowledge and see how I could adapt it to creating these pieces. Once I had a simple design made, I tried 3D printing it and painting it. It was a fascinating process that just flowed from one aspect to the next and resulted in in a believable scale miniature at the end. I was pleasantly surprised by the result, and moved on to more complex designs, learning more and more as I went along. 

To my mind, using the exact material as the full-sized counterpart is not as important as using one’s skills and techniques to make one believe they are looking at the real thing. 

The entire process from start to finish has several challenges. After a piece is designed, it needs to be supported so that it prints properly. After it has printed, these supports need to be removed and the piece fully cured. The next step in this fascinating workflow is painting it so it looks like a believable scaled down Tiffany lamp. I find that glass paint over the clear resin simulates glass perfectly. Metallic wax is wonderful over primed resin in creating a to scale metal surface. One can play with patinas and distressed finishes as well.

I currently not only create finished miniature lighting but also resin kits that other artists can buy and finish to match their dolls houses. I have a Facebook page where they often share their finished pieces, and it is fabulous to see how each one interprets and finishes it in their own way.    

In September 2021, I was awarded Artisan status by the IGMA in the category of 3D Printing – Accessories – Lighting and will to continue to ensure my work always falls within the Guild’s exacting standards and quality.

See more of Esther’s gorgeous lights HERE

Watch Esther talk more about her work with Darren Scala