Sheffield Miniatures: Putting the Steel City under the microscope
Some of your models are on sale in various places aren’t they?
Yes after making some box frame miniatures I managed to start selling them in the Sheffield Makers shop on Sharrowvale and it’s all developed from there really. I have a number of miniatures on display and for sale at the Crow Inn on Scotland Street and in Endcliffe Park Café.
Is it mostly pubs you make models of?
I mainly make Sheffield pubs and buildings, but I also get a lot of commission work from people who want either their business premises or a private property making. Although many of my previous projects have been Sheffield-based, I’m happy to try any building as long as I can get some good photos. I always pay a lot of attention to detail and I am always pleased to see my customers’ responses to the finished product as often the buildings I am asked to make have sentimental value to them.
Do you have a favourite model?
I think my personal favourite is one of the first pieces I made which was Park Hill flats, as when it is lit up it looks so realistic. The most difficult was again one of the first things I made which was the fully working Shepherd Wheel that was on display on Weston Park museum. Getting all the belts and drive wheels to work was a real challenge. As for the picture frame miniatures, my favourite of those is the Lyceum, again because of the lighting and realism. I’d say that was also one of the most difficult models to date.
How has this last year been for you?
Well this last year has been an interesting one for sure because my day job is working for the NHS things have certainly been different there. As for my miniatures work, the time created by not being able to do much else due to the various restrictions, has meant I have had a bit more time to put in to the miniatures side of things. Unusually and quite promisingly, interest and orders for my work has increased quite a lot and I am currently working through a list of 30 commissions from all over the country.
What are you working on at the minute?
There have been some very unusual and quite varied requests for miniatures. Before Christmas I built a miniature narrow boat complete with an interior and a full modern fairground ride miniature. I currently have some more interesting and challenging commissions, one is to make a miniature replica of Neil Peart’s (of the band Rush) drum kit, one for a full Silverstone racetrack layout, one for a miniature of a thatched house which will be a new one for me and one of a blast furnace and surrounding buildings. These are the kind of things I like to do on occasion as it’s a challenge and requires a fair amount of working out and even a bit of “I wonder if I can do this” followed by trying some things until it works or looks right! I have also had a significant increase in requests for football ground framed miniatures from all over the country such as Anfield, Upton Park, Old Trafford, Celtic Park, Elland Road, Highbury Stadium and of course a few Sheffield Wednesdays and Uniteds.
Quite busy then! We can find other items of yours at the Sheffield Makers shop right?
I am constantly trying to come up with new ideas for items to sell in the Sheffield Makers shop and I’m trying to squeeze that work in with the commission work. I am currently working on some laser etched, unpainted miniatures of Sheffield pubs to see if there is any interest in those and also some standalone miniatures of well-known Sheffield buildings such as the Arts tower, Park Hill flats and a few other buildings. It really is my passion and would love to keep Sheffield Miniatures growing to a point that I can start to make a wage from it!
Head over to sheffieldminiatures.co.uk for more details on Lee’s work.