There’s something intriguing about looking at miniature objects. These pieces – scaled-down versions of objects – look like real things, but are so small that one wonders how the artist managed to create them. Vishakha Mittal (32), a resident of Noida, collected small utensils as a child. Later, her interest in miniature crafts grew when she stumbled upon online videos on how to create miniature food with clay. “I realized that, in this way, I could make the food that I love eternal.” Since then, that was about 10 years ago, she has been making miniature food creations. Her Instagram page (@theartbellsindia) also offers mini versions of packaged foods. “Creating miniature foods is what is close to my heart,” she says.
Tanima Maniktala Sachdev (36) from Gurugram became interested in miniature crafts in an unexpected way. “I was looking for methods to create a fairy garden for my mother when I came across the world of miniatures. It takes a lot of patience to make them,” shares Sachdev. The artist sells miniature items through Tany Tales Miniatures on Instagram ( @tany_tales) since 2019. She has now focused on making miniature bedroom boxes. These custom pieces are made to customer preference – Sachdev personalizes the boxes by adding details such as favorite photos or specific toys for a children’s room set, etc.
Although not an expensive hobby, the beauty of miniatures is in the intricacies as well as the skill of the artist. Mittal shares that his food miniatures – they range between Rs 250 and Rs 1,000 – take him at least two hours. For Sachdev, each box takes about a month to manufacture (parts start at Rs 250; boxes start at Rs 2,500).
Add a personal touch
Miniature objects are now just one segment within the toy category. Nowadays, these small works of art have been identified as collectibles, and many adults are dedicated to making miniatures. Mittal and Sachdev say their clientele includes people in their 30s who want these pieces as home decor or to gift to friends and family. In fact, with the growing trend of offering miniature items, customization plays a huge role in the works of these artists.
Sharing such a request from a client who wanted to give her husband a miniature food tray, Mittal says, “She shared food wrappers of things he likes so I could recreate them perfectly.” Sachdev mentions that a customer wanted a miniature of an old kitchen for her mother. “My client’s mother was a very good cook. I had to use my imagination to create a cuisine of its time. So I put details like a jar of Dalda, food for her cat, a paper with a recipe, etc.
A collaborative effort
Customer demands have driven these artists to introduce new products into their arsenal. Mittal mentions the introduction of food earrings, thanks to a customer who wanted hook earrings with Maggi packets. Sachdev has also introduced custom miniature bars to its lineup due to similar customer requests.
Speaking about the popularity of miniature items in India, Sachdev concludes, “Most of these items are not available in the Indian market or are expensive. By making them, I feel like I bring this unique art form to the fore.