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Discover The Art Of
Carolyn Brown
Maple Leaf Miniatures

CDHM artisan Carolyn Brown
By Alice Bell, Editor
Photos courtesy of Carolyn Brown

CDHM artisan Carolyn Brown of Maple Leaf Miniatures Miniatures as retirement hobby is a very familiar theme. But miniatures as an excuse for entertainment and purchases is definitely more inventive.

"My family is very proud and supportive of my miniatures - especially after I told my kids that if I wasn't making miniatures they would have to entertain me and keep me occupied in my old age!" began Carolyn Brown with a laugh.

At 61 old age is still far away, but the threat appears to work well for her in any case. Her husband has discovered that miniatures work well in regards to seemingly crazy purchases.

"My husband and kids all love gadgets- anything technical or electronic. Robin, my husband, found several solar-powered garden lights on clearance and wanted them. He told me 'they would be great for miniatures.' I was doubtful but relented and he bought them ALL! Then I made the dragon fireplace for my castle - it needed a huge, roaring flickering fire so guess what he used? Those garden lights each had an amazing flicker unit. He changed LEDs to red, orange and amber, combined the circuit boards and I was able to build an amazing fire worthy of a dragon. "Now 'we can use it for miniatures' is the 'reason' for purchases. I'm still skeptical sometimes but more believing after that incident," she added.

Her children - two sons, 28 and 29 and one daughter, 23 - often bring her some odd thing, asking if she can use it for her creations.

"It is now a running joke with my guys that if they want to get something it is 'for miniatures' so I will approve," said Carolyn.

Her 1:12 scale creations are "great fun," offering lots of quality time for the mini duo of Robin & Carolyn.

CDHM artisan Carolyn Brown of Maple Leaf Miniatures "My husband and I worked together to design and create two different working looms - a jack-type loom and a Medieval Tapestry Loom inspired by a painting of The Lady of Shalott. I love to challenge myself," she said.

"Robin is the technical advisor and is very knowledgeable about woodworking, lighting, wood/metal/acrylic turning and pretty well anything else I need done. He is the one who makes the beautiful turned posts and bases for my cakes and also makes wonderful turned vases, bowls and lidded containers."

One of her sons has also gotten in on the mini act.

"My son created an award-winning 1:3300 scale model of the Eiffel Tower that was laser-cut and welded using a stereo microscope. He also has an impressive knowledge of lasers, LEDs, and fiberoptics after graduating with a degree in Photonics. He has many wonderful ideas that work for miniatures," she said.

Carolyn has many wonderful ideas of her own.

"I love making everything I use in my roomboxes and scenes so I have a wide range of interests in miniature creations. Besides my cakes, I also make flowers, dolls, furniture, food, soft furnishings and anything else I need for one of my projects." CDHM artisan Carolyn Brown of Maple Leaf Miniatures

She grew up making doll clothes and constructing 'miniatures' out of found objects. About 15 years ago the mini duo of Robin and Carolyn made a dollhouse from scratch as a Christmas gift for their (then) young daughter.

"Even though Santa's elves were helping us it didn't get finished in time, it still isn't, but she had great fun with it. I still have the food I made for it from Fimo," she said.

"I found miniatures as a hobby about 6 or 7 years ago when I briefly thought about finishing the dollhouse but got sidetracked with online groups, Creative Paperclay and polymer clay. The dollhouse still isn't finished!"

The dollhouse may be waiting, but other projects seem to almost finish themselves.

"Although I have converted one bedroom into my workshop, miniatures seem to be taking over the house. When the last child graduated and moved out recently I used some of his bedroom space for another workstation and storage. Larger projects are usually taking up space on the dining room table.

"When I make my cakes or do other small, fine work I like to sit in front of the huge bay window in my living room as it gives me the best daylight. On a driving trip I will make dozens of tiny roses to pass the time. I guess I make miniatures wherever I am," she added.

These creations find their way to her website, Maple Leaf Miniatures and occasionally Ebay with prices starting at $10. In addition to CDHM she is a member of Niagara Minis, IGMA and several online miniature forums- MSATMinidolls, Smallstuff, The Camp, CanadaMinis and several others.

Carolyn does not run workshops but offers several tutorials on her site. CDHM artisan Carolyn Brown of Maple Leaf Miniatures

"I have ideas to add to these but time seems to be a problem these days. I'm hoping that will change now that winter is here," she laughed.

She has also been featured twice in American Miniaturist for her cakes and her dragon castle and once in Dolls House World for her cakes.

"I am self-taught and don't have any formal training but I do subscribe to a couple miniature magazines and have the usual collection of books that I can refer to. I think my most valuable 'tool' is my imagination. I like to make my own miniatures so I often modify my original concept, usually going from something simple and easy to something more complex because of a great idea," she said.

With that kind of drive what could be next up on the drawing board?

"I love to create but I am not good at marketing my work. I would like to become more comfortable with that aspect so I can expand. As long as this is fun for me I will continue," she said.

Explore Carolyn Brown's dollhouse foods, furniture and accessories.

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