About a year ago, I stumbled upon Oiseau deNim on the web. I have no immunity towards miniatures, I absolutely love them. Because of this, I spent a lot of time reading through her entire blog. I told myself that one day I would get to know this Taiwanese girl living in France, and when I do, I want to know how she made these delicate miniatures. One year later, I am glad that Oiseau deNim is just like her lovely self in the blog and quickly agreed to my interview. Hope you enjoy!
1. 你在哪裡出生長大, 現在住在哪裡呢? 我出生在台北，結婚之後定居南法的一個小城尼姆(Nîmes)。
1. Where did you grow up and where do you live now? I was born in Taipei, Taiwan. After getting married, I moved to a small town, Nîmes, which is located in the south of France.
2. 是什麼時候開始做袖珍小物的呢, 一開始是怎麼起步的呢? 我是從2008年5月開始玩袖珍黏土，不過當時我做的比較接近1 :6比例，給芭比娃娃或是其他同比例的娃娃，直到2009年5月我正式開始1 :12(國際袖珍娃娃屋制式比例)的袖珍黏土創作。2008一開始其實什麼都不清楚，半點頭緒都沒有，所以上網找資料找老師，回台灣時打包了一堆樹脂黏土(resin clay)回法國。反正沒人教你該如何做，想做什麼就做什麼。2009年發覺國外的黏土玩家絕大多數僅使用軟陶(poly mer clay)創作，呈現的效果是那麼自然又美麗，所以我決定開始探索軟陶的秘密和技法。
2. How and when did you get into making miniatures? I started sculpturing miniatures in clay back in May, 2008. At that time all of my works were made in 1:6 scale which mostly were for my Monoko, Barbies and some other fashion dolls. It wasn't until May, 2009 that I started to unify all my works in the 1:12 scale, following the international standard of dollhouse miniatures.
In 2008 before I wanted to start my first adventures in the miniature food, I really had no clear picture in my mind. I did a lot of research online, collect information and tried to find some instructors and tutorials. During my trip to Taiwan, I brought back lots of supplies and some Japan resin clay to France. Since no one gave me direction and limitations, I was able to experiment myself in the little silent world. In 2009, I realized that most part of miniature artists overseas used mainly polymer clay. Their works looked natural and beautiful. This discovery led me to fully explore the techniques of polymer clay art creation.
3. 開始一個新的系列時, 動手做之前你都是怎麼計畫的呢? 會先畫圖還是打草稿確認你要的感覺才會著手進行嗎? 其實新的系列通常都是在我一邊試驗一邊修改中完成的。因為我並不是設計出身, 所以很少畫圖打草稿開始我的新系列。我愛看食譜和雜誌，只要看到喜歡的圖片(視覺上的顏色搭配和食物組合)，就算當時不知道自己是否有能力完成1 :12的作品，我就會把食譜買下來作為我的參考書。每當想開始不同的主題，我就回到我的書架上翻閱找靈感。只是常常做到一半，靈感消失了，我就會停住不動，改換下一個主題。
3. Do you do extensive plannings before working on a new series? Do you sketch the scene out before working on the miniatures? It's really all about trial and error. I don't have any design background and I seldom do sketching or drawing before for my new series. Most part of inspiration for me comes from cookbooks and magazines which are with great color and food combination. Though I'm not that sure if I am capable to recreate these in 1:12 scale, I still purchase the books/magazines for future references. During the time of brainstorming, I would always go to my bookshelves and pick up these books/magazines as my reference. Just sometimes during the process of making a new collection, I might lose the original ideas. Once that happens, I stop the process and start another new theme then continue.
4. 做袖珍小物最重要的材料還有工具是什麼呢? 對我來說最重要的材料自然是黏土，因為這是我創作的主要材料。但是袖珍世界是真實世界的翻版，只是縮小為1 :6, 1 :12, 1 :24, 1 :48, 1 :144…不同比例，所以不論是塑膠布, 鐵片, 壓克力, 乾燥花草其實都是很重要的搭配材, 沒有他們的襯托, 也許主題就相對失色了。至於工具的話我針對兩種不同的黏土做了一個歸類。針對樹脂土, 一把銳利的小剪刀，一隻好的細工雕棒，筆刷和油畫顏料就能創作很多漂亮的小物。針對軟陶, 切黏土的刀片, 小烤箱, 筆刷和乾性粉筆絕對不可少。
4. What are the most important materials and tools for a miniature artist? The most important material for me is clay since it’s the base ingredient for my creation. Since the miniature world is a replica of the real life downsized to 1:6, 1:12, 1:24, 1:48 and 1:144 scales, all the material, like vinyl, metallic, acrylic, and dried flowers/ leaves are also important to the scenes I try to create. Without these accessories and textures, the miniatures and the scenes might probably lose parts of their substance. For the tools I use, I have categorized them based on the two types of clay I use. When working with resin clay, a pair of small sharp scissors, a sturdy carving tool, paint brushes and oil paint are definitely helpful. When working with polymer clay, a blade, an oven, fine paint brushes and chalks are the must haves.
5. 做袖珍小物最困難的地方是什麼? 怎麼去克服? 最困難的部分就是做不出想要呈現的質感，比如烤前烤後的食物，或是周邊襯托的素材使用不夠協調 等等。這常常會發生的，所以不停的創作，不斷發現問題，尋找新素材和重新思考技法等等會累積個人的資料庫。經驗累積越多，下一次解決問題的時間也許就縮短了。
5. What is the most difficult thing about making miniatures? How do you overcome these difficulties? The most difficult thing is when I am incapable to create the right textures I want. A few things can happen, perhaps the textures of the miniature food items change while they were in the oven, perhaps the accessories and materials I'm applying to the scenes aren't exactly working, all of these happen often; it is through the process of repeated experiments, identifying the problems, researching new materials and polishing techniques that lead to accumulation of knowledge. The more you know, the faster you can troubleshoot in the future, it's really about the experience.
6. 除了做袖珍小物外, 平常還有沒有做任何其他有趣的東西呢? 以前喜歡做菜但現在比較沒心思研究食譜。我喜歡拍照還有亂玩Photoshop。目前想學基本的Illustrator做package design。但這些動力其實都是來自袖珍囉 !
6. Besides making miniatures, what other fun stuff do you do? I used to like cooking but I am not so into the recipe studying too much nowadays. I like photography and dabbling in Photoshop. And right now, I really want to learn some basic skills in Illustrator for packaging design. But of course, all of my drive to learn new things comes from my love for the miniature art!
7. 袖珍小物對你來說是...? 袖珍小物應該說是我的熱情吧 !當然也期許將來有一天變成我的專業。不僅黏土，木工，家具的製作還有蓋房做室內設計都是我想嘗試的領域。這些都是一輩子都玩不完的領域。
7. What is miniature art to you? Miniatures are my passion! I sincerely hope it become my profession in the future. Except clay sculpture and furniture-making, the interior design and dollhouse-building are all things I would love to try. Endless possibilities and ever-evolving world of miniatures will probably be my playground always.