Growing pains for miniature crafters

The Ipswich Mini Crafters have a growing problem – they are starting to run out of space.

The club has had to move “home” three times since they started in 1990 at Karalee.

Vanessa Williams is the club’s self-described “co-ordinator”, secretary and marketer.

Vanessa Williams and Sally Hetherington with a model of the Commercial Hotel on Bell Street in the Ipswich CBD. Photo by Andrew Kacimaiwai
Vanessa Williams and Sally Hetherington with a model of the Commercial Hotel on Bell Street in the Ipswich CBD. Photo by Andrew Kacimaiwai

“The club has been going for well over 20 years. We started as the Karalee Mini-crafters then migrated into town and became Ipswich Mini-Crafters,” she said.

“It’s kind of the story of our lives; needing new homes. We’re in our third home now and we’re just about outgrowing it. We wish we could build a full-scale shed!”

Fellow member Sally Hetherington said the club was one of many community groups looking for a hub that they can call home.

“There’s no actual real hub for community craft groups like this except for maybe arts,” she said.
They both agree that interest in their activities has been growing.

“It’s definitely growing (the) interest in our club and what we do,” Ms Williams said.

“We’ve had 3-4 new members in the past couple of months.” She’s not sure how they found out but says the interest has posed another problem.

“We have about 12 members but if we had more than that, we don’t have room,” she said.

They both agree that what they do is “absolutely similar” to scale modelling.

“We do most in 1:12 scale; some people do other scales. We work largely in wood, fabric, modelling clay, plastic, metal – anything and everything. Our founder started in metal, making horse-drawn vehicles.”

“If you look at the historical buildings in Ipswich, we probably have a dozen or more. The big ones like the antiques centre and the post office and things like that; big buildings like that.”

When asked about the club’s biggest project, they said the club recreated Sideshow Alley in miniature for the Ipswich Show one year.

“We each made a sideshow booth or something like a Ferris wheel and merry-go-round,” Williams said.

“We don’t throw anything out. We collect A LOT of stuff,” she said.

“We did a whole English village one year. A couple of years ago, one of our members passed away and left a dollhouse so we donated it to hospice; we all worked together to finish that dollhouse.”

When asked what the most elaborate miniature created, they were quick to agree that it was founder Alan Lindup.
“Alan’s Cobb & Co coach with its moving parts,” Williams said.

“He’s a great coach builder. It was very close to 1:12 scale; modelled on the one in the case at Rosewood.”

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