Competitions,  News

Good Housekeeping.

Diary of a 1950’s housewife.

Abi Trottman of Tobacco & Regrets gives us an insight into her PIMA entry for 2023.

The Perfection in Miniature Awards was something really special this year. We had so many beautiful entries as usual, but Abi’s take on 1950’s household appliances was something super-unique & really took us back to a bygone era where life was so much more simple..?

We had to find out more about the story of this intriguing piece. If there is one thing we know about Abi’s work, there is always much more behind it than first meets the eye.

“ I adore vintage design – the good, the bad and the ugly. I believe my love of showcasing these items in miniature, makes us appreciate how far we have come, but also helps us to appreciate a simpler time when things went a lot slower, jobs were a lot more manual and household items were built to last. I know there are still many washing machines and vacuums out there today that function as they did when they were first created. I hope they bring back fond memories and encourage people to reminisce.

I chose to create the iconic 1950s/60s Hoover designs for both the washing machine and vacuum – both were cutting edge and fashionable when they were first released, marketed at helping women to be more efficient in the household. It’s this narrative that also fascinates me – a women’s role in the house and how that has evolved over the years (for many, the role is still very much influenced by 1950s standards).

I like to pose questions and provide a commentary through my miniature making and this piece has been created to conjure a story of a woman who is pressured into having the newest and best in order to ‘keep up with the Jones’s ‘ but is also suffering under the weight of her responsibility. She’s fed material relating to how she should behave and what constitutes a ‘good woman’ and a perfectly functioning household, but she is feeling the strain (note the whisky bottle in the laundry basket). It’s a subtle nod to all the women before me who perhaps didn’t have the choice or the autonomy to just say NO. 

This project was a real labour of love for me. I used building techniques that were new to me and really pushed my finishing and level of detail. I always aim to add character and realism to my pieces, but I felt it important to create the perfectly reproduced items, as if they were straight out of the box or factory, and then to weather them and give them a well-used and subtlety distressed look. These items were used everyday and would’ve taken a beating.

My favourite part was creating the underside of the vacuum – a little secret and hidden element that you wouldn’t see unless you picked up the item. It was vital to me that these miniatures were detailed and finished completely in 360 degrees for PIMA. I really upped my game and hope it showed.

I’m so honoured to have won second place, and will continue to apply for PIMA year on year. The winning is wonderful, but honestly, just having my work displayed next to some of the most incredible veteran craftspeople with 30 year + careers and finely honed skills is enough for me. We have so much to learn from them and I hope to be able to pass on my knowledge as well as theirs to future generations.”

Tobacco & Regrets will be exhibitng new work at the Kensington Dollshouse Festival Christmas Show on December 2nd.