Magical miniatures fire imaginations at the Nelson Dollhouse and Miniature Show

Barry Allen of Wellington works on a counted cross stitch needle point rug at the Dollhouses and Miniatures Show.
Marion Van Dijk/Stuff

Barry Allen of Wellington works on a counted cross stitch needle point rug at the Dollhouses and Miniatures Show.

The intricacies of 140 miniature worlds have revealed the imaginations of the creators at this year's Nelson Dollhouse and Miniature Show.

Worlds within worlds were painstakingly crafted and visitors were taken on varied journeys including through J.R.R Tolkien's hobbit holes, fairy houses in pumpkins and an ornate Venetian villa dollhouse adorned with tiny chandeliers.

A realistic World War II replica of the Battle of Caen also impressed.

Emillie Friend with the miniature caravans on display.
Marion Van Dijk/Stuff

Emillie Friend with the miniature caravans on display.

​Children were enchanted by the tiny worlds and adults fascinated by the workmanship in each tiny piece.

Nelson Dollhouse and Miniature Show co-convener Jeanette Dungan said Saturday's event, now in its seventh year, had an element of "magic" about it.

"We do have a whole range of exhibits ... a number of different scales right down to dollhouse within a dollhouse scale which is 1:144," she said.

Dungan hoped the event inspired others into the world of making miniatures.

 "And of course we just revel in the feedback we get when you hear people say; 'Oh, look at that. Isn't that cool?'."

Making miniatures is something Dungan has always done. As a child she would build rooms out of shoeboxes and create furniture from old matchboxes.

"I guess I always enjoyed creating little dioramas.

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"I've actually got a large mansion under construction which has been in our bedroom for the last 35 years and it's still not finished. You get side-tracked."

The extreme cold weather that had hit most of the country last week had threatened the show, and a lot of keen miniature artists were stuck in Christchurch before the weekend event with the closure of the Lewis Pass.

"They risked a lot to come here and support us. It wouldn't have been the same if they hadn't of made it."

Wellington exhibitor Barry Allen expected it would take him four years to complete an ornately-designed, miniature Persian rug he was working on at Saturday's show.

There would be a total of 1600 hand stitched threads to make up his tiny design by 2021.

He can never part with them, he said. "Too much labour goes into them." 

His partly finished carpet was just one of the pieces he had in his collection of miniature embroideries on display. 

Allen said his passion started when he built a dollhouse in 1982, stitching miniature rugs came a little later. 

Eight-year-old Emillie Friend helped out with the exhibit, guiding people around the room. She said her favourite miniature design was her mother's holiday caravan.

"I helped collect the shells at the beach. "I want to go for a holiday in a caravan."

For more information on the Nelson Miniatures club visit their website: or find them on Facebook.

 - Stuff


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