Make miniatures | Today’s creators

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“My interest in furniture goes back to my childhood, playing with my dollhouse… I threw out the dolls and played with the furniture. As an adult, it started by dragging the finds to the curb and fixing them, ”says Roxanne Brathwaite, a Toronto-based furniture maker who started the business. Hollis newton which specializes in reinventing vintage and antique chairs into unique bespoke pieces. Brathwaite also bars Woman City Suite, an Etsy website and shop featuring its handcrafted miniature home furnishings designed and manufactured in a 1:12 scale.

Roxanne Brathwaite photographed by Dwayne Evans

Hollis Netwon’s Lynley Chair, named after Brathwaite’s cousin, features a hand-painted scene.

The COVID break, which kept Brathwaite from attending to her day job, catapulted her into the miniature world. Before the lockdown, she was inspired by a textile artist who made miniatures and placed them in unconventional places like cabinets and shelves. In March, with free time, she started making her first small sequels.

She nested the first environments on shelves, then created individual 10 “x 10” pieces. For the sake of recycling and reuse, Brathwaite suites incorporate everyday items such as lip balm caps, scraps of fabric, toothpicks, foil, and coffee stirrers that are transformed into planters, pillows and chairs.

An installation for the DesignTO festival, Brathwaite has dedicated this room to children who have died of child abuse.

“My goal for all suites is to create a creatively organized space where people can stop and contemplate,” she says, referring to three environments she created for the DesignTO festival. ‘Designed to’ raise awareness of social issues such as domestic violence, mental health and racially motivated violence, one suite featured photos and paintings of individuals such as Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, while another included photos of Toronto children who died of abuse. Brathwaite says she is currently working on a biophilic sequel and another for Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, which will be a tribute to her mother who suffers from dementia.

Miniature Books by Brathwaite

In addition to designing facilities, Brathwaite’s Etsy The boutique is filled with little home furnishings that will make you want to downsize by a size or twelve so you can slip straight into its “suite” world. Beyond its repertoire of small cushions, artwork, rugs and mid-century furniture, its library of miniature books is truly a treasure to get comfortable with.


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