Today we’re talking to miniature designer Hannah Lemon, whose lifelike tiny houseplants have to be seen to be believed. Since taking on miniature work more seriously at the start of the pandemic, her work has grown very quickly, even earning her a spot on season two of the competitive Best in Miniature TV program earlier this year.
(But you’ll have to watch the show to find out who wins!)
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Tell us about yourself. What do you make?
I like making miniature everything!
However, I am known mostly for making miniature house plants as I am a houseplant lover and own 60+ real versions that I can use for inspiration.
I really love nature and seeing the blend between the natural world and man-made things, so all of my miniature work involves plants in some way. I enjoy the perfect imperfections that you get in nature and try to bring them into my work, for example by giving the plants brown edges or a few dying leaves so they are true to life.
Recently, I have been making landscapes and lots of mini koi ponds because they became very popular after I made one on the “Best in Miniature” TV show.
I have also had the pleasure of making roomboxes and scenes for some adverts on social media and the big screen.
How long have you been making miniatures? When did you start taking it more seriously?
When I was a little child, I was very creative and loved making anything I could think of.
I always had it in my head that I would make dollhouses when I was old and retired but when the pandemic hit and all my photography jobs vanished, I brought my retirement plans forward.
I started by creating my dream home bathroom to pass the time and started to share what I made on Instagram for friends and family to see. People enjoyed my creations and my Instagram page started growing slowly. It took until the end of 2021 for my social media to start getting a lot of traction and I started to think that I could make money from making miniature art.
Early in 2022, I was approached for commission work for an advertising campaign and since then, I have been able to concentrate on making miniatures full-time.
It has grown very quickly and I would never have imagined that I would be able to make it my full-time job.
What do you consider your best or favorite work?
It’s very difficult to choose! Every piece of work I have done has taught me some new skills and pushed me to make something new and exciting.
I recently did a personal project making a miniature room for my houseplants with rustic furniture. I really enjoyed making it and it has been one of my most popular posts on social media. I’m happy that so many people have seen it and also enjoyed it.
I also really enjoyed making a commission piece for Vue Cinema in collaboration with Antman as this one was quite different from my usual style. I made a miniature cinema and reception inside a popcorn carton and managed to capture the action of spilled popcorn and the enjoyment of going to the cinema.
This was shown on the big screen, which was incredible to see!
Tell us about your workspace
For the first 3 years of making miniatures, I was just doing it on the dining table in my flat in North London so for those few years, we were eating our meals on the floor.
My models and materials started to take up more and more space in the lounge so earlier this year we decided to move out of London and find a bit more space. I now have a studio in a converted loft room of an old Victorian house that I have filled with lots of plants and antique furniture to give me inspiration.
I spend so much of my time in the studio and I absolutely love it.
My cat has a comfy spot to sleep next to the window in the corner so she doesn’t feel left out.
What is your favorite material or tool to work with?
I love working with resin clay for making a lot of the sculptures that I make. I find that it works best for me to get it thin enough to make delicate leaves but is also stretchy enough that it doesn’t break.
Everything I make is done by hand and I never use power tools or machines for my work. I feel that gives it my own style.
How was your experience working on Best in Minature Season 2?
Best in Miniature was an incredible, life-changing experience for me.
It feels strange talking about it now because we had already finished filming the series at this time last year which feels like a very long time ago now.
I had to keep it a secret for so long and now I can finally talk about it!
Competing in the show was so intense and I was definitely not used to working in that kind of environment. I have never had to work under such immense time pressure before, especially with cameras pointing at me ready to pick up every little mistake.
I definitely learnt a lot about myself and I think it also showed during the series that I became more comfortable with the camera and in the interviews as the show progressed.
I had to learn and use new skills and techniques in record time, a lot of the challenges I had to do on the show involved completely new things for me as I am still quite an inexperienced miniaturist.
The show gave me a lot of confidence in my work and gave me the affirmation that I am good enough to commit to being a full-time miniaturist. Until then, I was only relying on feedback from friends and family and from people who see my work on social media but to get positive feedback from real experts was an amazing experience.
Although not all the feedback was positive and there was a lot of emotion during the filming of the show that I had to learn to deal with.
Since the show came out, it has been so lovely receiving messages and feedback from people who saw me and appreciated my work. It’s really heartwarming to see all the love that people have for all the contestants on the show.
I think the biggest thing that I will treasure is the connections I made with the other contestants. We went through this life-changing experience together and although we are from such different backgrounds, we have a common set of values and interests that bring us together.
What’s next for your miniature-making career?
The exciting thing so far has been that I never know what is around the corner.
I like to take on new challenges and learn new skills so I am hoping that I can continue doing some commission pieces for film or TV or adverts.
I’m also really enjoying going to miniature exhibitions. I went to the Tom Bishop Show in Chicago last year and I hope to visit some more international shows in the future.
Meanwhile, I will also keep trying to stock my Etsy store with plants and ponds for people who can’t make it to the shows to buy.
It has also been my dream for a long time to have a book that showcases my work and has some tutorials but at the moment, that’s still a pipe dream.
Any advice for budding miniature makers?
When I first started making miniatures, I didn’t have any tools or any specialist materials. I was able to make miniatures out of anything I had lying around the house like making a bath out of a shampoo bottle or using cocktail sticks to make furniture.
So I really think that anyone can start making minis and you don’t need to commit to buying loads of expensive things to do it. Use your imagination to turn your trash into art.
Who/what inspires you? Any shoutouts to fellow makers?
I really admire other miniaturists who are able to hand-make everything for their projects. I love seeing their creativity, especially when they are able to make their minis look very true to life, including all the imperfect details.
One mini maker I look up to is Esha Bijutkar (@pink_petit_rose on Instagram). I love her style and take a lot of inspiration from her.
Another miniaturist that I’m really into right now is Elliott Langford (@crawl___space on Instagram). His storytelling through artwork is incredible and he brings his work to life with great weathering.
Anything else you’d like to share?
The last 3 years since I started making minis in 2020 have been a complete whirlwind and I always want to say thank you and give gratitude to everyone who supports me and my work.
I really appreciate it and feel very lucky to have the opportunity to follow my passion.
More miniature Tiny Workshops interviews
Steve Casino sculpts peanut shells, coke cans, and other miscellaneous junk into incredible miniature pop art.
One square sheet of paper with no cuts is all Juho Könkkölä uses to create these incredible figures.
Alan O’Bryan (AKA Gorilla with a Brush) paints everything from wargaming minis to fantasy and sci-fi busts, but not to turn a profit.