Thanks To A "Starving" Art Student,
Toys Aren't Just For Kids Anymore!
When Cathy Ellis-O'Brien, was studying art at the California
College Of Arts & Crafts, she didn't have much money with
which to buy her mother gifts. And so, as an inexpensive alternative
to store-bought gifts, Cathy began making bears, clowns, and
bunnies for her mother's doll house.
Her mother was so impressed by the gifts, she encouraged
Cathy to make more toys, and offered to show them to her friends
and owners of miniature shops and see if she could generate
a few sales. Two weeks later, Cathy received her first check.
That was in the late 1970's. The rest, as they say, is history.
Instead of pursuing her career in art, Cathy channeled her
energies into making miniatures. Since then her work has made
the cover of seven magazines and she's been the subject of
numerous articles. "If it wasn't for my mother,"
says Cathy, "I never would have started." It wasn't
until years later that Cathy found out just how true that
You see, what she didn't know was that her mother had been
keeping a secret. And the checks Cathy received for her work
during her student days weren't from miniature enthusiasts
or miniature shops at all. They were from her mother who had
bought every piece Cathy had made.
In "Tinkering With Toys", Volume 16 of the multi-part
Master Miniaturists Video Instructional Series, Cathy teaches
you many of the techniques she's taught miniaturists around
the world, and shows you how to make miniature toys from common
items found in local craft and hobby stores... Things like
basswood, miniature plastic animals, acrylic paint, and brushes.
This video features four fun and easy projects: A miniature
Pinocchio; a Rocking Horse; a Counterbalance Santa; and an
adorable Pull Toy Lamb. But along the way, you'll pick up
hints you can apply to all your miniature projects. For example,
Cathy demonstrates the proper technique for loading glue into
syringes that will eliminate air pockets once and for all.
"When I look at things," says Cathy, "I like
to see then not only as they are, but what they could be."
With that she begins her lesson on how to make a Pinocchio
doll from a tiny piece of wood. She shows you how to cut,
sand, drill, and glue the pieces, and within minutes, transformation
from basswood to Pinocchio begins.
Once the wood pieces are cut, your next step will be to paint
them. Here Cathy offers practical tips that will make your
job easier, including a neat way to use a razor blade to get
rid of excess paint. When the paint is dry, she teaches you
how to glue the pieces into a finished tiny Pinocchio.
One of this video's most enjoyable features is Cathy's engaging
personality, natural teaching ability, and obvious passion
for her craft. Her lessons are peppered with anecdotes and
real-world experiences that make you want to reach for your
tools and work right alongside her.
Cathy also understands some of the challenges you may encounter
while making your miniature toys, and she offers solutions
that are often humorous. For instance when painting socks
on Pinocchio she says, "Sometimes you paint them unevenly.
And as you try to even them out, they keep getting taller
and taller. But it's O.K. if he has knee-highs!"
In the second project you'll learn how to make a miniature
Rocking Horse using a plastic toy horse you can find in any
hobby shop or craft store. Here again, Cathy has a story to
share. "I started making miniature toys out of Fimo and
wood," she recalls. "It took a long time to learn
to carve, to sculpt, and to make a really high quality rocking
horse." So Cathy decided there had to be something she
could do to create a rocking horse easily and inexpensively.
In this lesson, she shows you the techniques she developed
as a result... everything from preparation and flocking, to
making the mane, tail, saddle, and rocker base.
From there, you're be ready to tackle the video's final projects:
The counterbalance Santa, and Pull Toy Lamb.
"I love creating miniature toys," says Cathy. After
mastering the techniques she teaches on this video, you'll
know how to create even more toys by applying the same techniques
and ideas to different materials. And you'll understand what
Cathy means when she says, "The possibilities are as
endless as the world around us."
RUN! Don't walk... to order this video.