Miniature enthusiasm opens a world of opportunities

2018-01-24 06:00
Inside the jewellery shop, with exquisite little pieces of jewellery handmade from beads and buttons.

Inside the jewellery shop, with exquisite little pieces of jewellery handmade from beads and buttons.

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ARE you looking for a new hobby that won’t cost you an arm and a leg?

Lynette Schultz has the answer. Give her an empty container and she will spend hours filling it, with hundreds of tiny miniature creations.

Schultz is the chairperson of the Durban Association of Miniature Enthusiasts (Dame). In fact, she has been for the past seven years, but her passion for all things tiny started much earlier, an estimated 20 years ago.

“My husband Klaas was in bed, having had a back operation, and I was reading a magazine, when I saw a picture of a miniature dolls house and I remarked ‘one day when the children leave the house, I want to do this as a hobby’,” Lynette said.

A few weeks later, Klaas noticed that someone was hosting a miniature exhibition in Durban and insisted Lynette go. A bit reluctant at first to leave her sick husband at home, Lynette left him with a flask and sandwiches and set off. The rest, as they say, is history.

“I was completely intrigued by the exhibition, one in particular, a fish shop, containing little clay fish on a counter, which even smelt like a fish shop, hooked me to the hobby,” Lynette said.

She inquired about the person who made the fish shop and was referred to Dame.

“I discovered the fish smell came from a small toothpaste lid filled with fish paste, which was hidden behind the counter,” Lynette said.

“Many of our club members do exquisite work with clay and the finest embroidery, I cannot do that, but give me an empty container and I’ll make something of it,

“The pleasure for me lies in picking up any small item and imagining what purpose I can apply it for. For instance when I look at a button, I see a miniature cake in the making.”

Her work is strong evidence of this philosophy and among the treasured items in her home, one can find an old-fashioned camera bag, which was converted into a miniature photographer’s studio, complete with portraits on the walls or a small, old wine barrel which has been converted into a miniature bar.

Klaas must have thought ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’ and so he has. Klaas now creates unique miniature toys for the doll houses, from a dart board for the miniature bar to cars and ships and furniture.

“Some items are bought from overseas, one of the benefits of the club is that we can order together,” Lynette says.

Nothing is worthless, small pill bottle lids makes beautiful wedding cakes, buttons and beads are used for decorations, old eye shadow containers make the ideal cupcake holders for a tea room, while an old lipstick holder will form the base for a vacuum cleaner.

“I have kept on through the years, because this hobby is so addictive and relaxing. One loses oneself in the miniature world,” Lynette said.

The hobby is also international and Klaas and Lynette have attended an international show in England in the past.


Dame hosts an annual doll house show in the Amanzimtoti Library activities room, traditionally on the same weekend as the Highland Gathering as it brings hundreds of visitors to them.

The club contributes to a project to build a miniature doll’s house to raffle for charity on the day and this year all funds gathered will be donated to Phrenaid, a group providing support to persons affected by Schizophrenia and creating awareness of the disease.

This year, the project is “The Copper Kettle”, which will be auctioned on April 28, coinciding with the Highland Gathering.

Tickets are R10.

The club meets at the Westville Library activities hall on the last Saturday of every month. New members are welcome.

Anyone interested in joining Dame or for more information, contact Lynette on 083 336 2357.

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