I have long been an admirer of the wonderful work of the French miniaturist Christine-Léa Frisoni and at last her book is available in English. This book is a beautifully presented and full of advice, tips and techniques perfect for all levels of miniaturists. It provides clear step by step instructions on how to build and decorate a beautiful twelfth scale house but is also a perfect reference book for anyone who wants to learn Lea's gorgeous methods of building, furniture making and decorating.
The book begins by making the plans for the house and clearly showing all the materials required for the project. The most interesting part about this process for me was how much Lea uses normal art products from Bristol board to plain strip wood. Her tools are not fancy power tools and I found it very helpful to be shown how beautiful houses could be built so simply. Once the main construction has been completed we are then shown how to build up each room by adding chimney stacks, panelling, cornices and eye-catching details. The main point that Lea makes is that you have to plan and take time with even the smallest details but if you measure and cut accurately you will be able to produce interesting rooms to decorate and fill with your own miniature pieces. It appears that anything can be achieved with card, paint and imagination.
This book is also very pleasant on the eye. It is extremely well photographed and would sit very comfortably on any coffee table alongside any real life book of interiors. Each process and room are clearly shown in full colour with every detail brought to life and designed to inspire both beginners and those of us who have been playing with miniatures for a while. All the interior rooms have different flooring and each technique is carefully photographed and explained at each stage. These careful and thorough explanations are perfect for someone like me who is not hugely confident with a paint brush or craft knife.
I have not been able to put the book down yet, every time I open it I seem to learn something different. I can't wait to put the building techniques to good use, I will certainly be adding panelling to my rooms in the future following Lea's instructions. I want to try making the furniture and individual lights but most of all I want to learn Lea's art of 'less is more'. It is the layering of processes and materials that I will take away with me and return to time and again. This book inspires it has also taught me so much that I can take into my many projects I just love it, also it is a book to enjoy as well as to learn from.
Put it on your birthday wish and Christmas wish lists 'The Big Book of a Miniature House' by Christine-Lea Frisini or it is the perfect present for the friend who just doesn't understand the amount of time we spend playing with our 'toys'!!