The talking point of the Kensington Dollshouse Festival this year was an incredible miniature house created by Steve Putnam.
As a regular visitor to our shows, Steve Putnam was a familiar face around the Festival & we would always have a stop & chat when we saw each other. He was always very modest & never really let on that he was actually a talented miniaturist himself. However, one year, he did mention to me that maybe he could display his house at the show. Intriging.. but then lockdowns hit & everything was put on hold.
During lockdown, while organising one of our online showcases, I decided it would be nice to have a few online talks from makers & collectors etc to keep all our creative juices flowing. Steve immediately jumped to mind as, from following his Instagram page, I knew his dolls house was something special. We ended up having a virtual tour of his collection & were able to question him on how the house had been put together. This was a great insight into collecting miniatures in general & we realised that if we could persuade some house owners to bring their dolls houses to the show, it would be such a treat for us (& all the visitors to our show as well).
This is what Steve says about his love of miniatures:
“My childhood was spent endlessly making models from everyday household objects, from Puppet Theatres to Viking Ships, my imagination and inquisitive nature fascinated by minute detail and construction. This was heightened at the age of 12 when my grandfather, also a keen model maker, made a scale Victorian Shop and I was immediately transfixed by this tiny world and started making accurately scaled miniatures to fill the shop. Even at such a young age my talents were being admired by a wider audience when I was approached by local miniature shops and asked if I could supply them with pieces to display and sell.
I studied Fine Art and later furthered my education with a BA (Hons) in Garden Design and Horticulture, I worked for several years as a landscape designer, winning two Silver Gilt medals at the prestigious RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Privileged to have met Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II and other members of the Royal Family along with TV coverage of the garden made this experience a highlight in my career.
I am now employed as a Set Designer for Europe’s leading Christmas, Easter and Home Decoration Company- Gisela Graham. I feel very fortunate to have a career I absolutely love, there’s so much cross over from my full-time job and my part-time passion for miniatures.
I’m lucky that all of my family and friends are fascinated by miniatures too. They love to see what I’ve made, and I will often show my colleagues what I have been working on. The usual comments are “It makes my brain hurt” or “How are you not wearing glasses!”
I think the biggest appeal for any miniature enthusiast is the ability to create anything in miniature; a beautiful period room from a Grand Palace or a scene from a Dickensian Street, transporting the viewer to a different time, capturing that slice of history is fascinating.
I spend my life looking at everyday objects in a different way to see how I can use them in my work. I recently found a plastic lemon squeezer in the £ store with the most amazing reeded curved section. I immediately saw the potential to make it into a Georgian niche. Needless to say, it’s never a case of using something in such a straightforward way, I’ll often have to adapt and chop it around. I will then create a mould of the piece for future projects.
To see more of Steve’s work visit www.steveputnam.com or follow him on Instagram and Facebook @steveputnamdesign