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Review of Angie Scarr's Book Miniature Food Masterclass

Materials and Techniques for Modelling Food in Miniature

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating

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Cover of the Guild of Master Craftsman Book Miniature Food Masterclass by Angie Scarr

Cover of book Miniature Food Master Class by Angie Scarr.

Photo Courtesy Price Grabber Copyright 2009 Used With Permission
Angie Scarr has worked with polymer clay food miniatures for 25 years. She has originated many of the methods widely used to produce intricate models of miniature foods. Her new book, Miniature Food Masterclass - materials and techniques for model makers is a mix of updates of older methods and new techniques. The book gives full instructions for a number of popular miniature foods, and also explains many of Angie's specialized techniques of working with various polymer clays, learned through years of experience.

Large Format Paperback ISBN 978-1-86108-525-2 Guild of Master Craftsman Publications 2009, Price $15 -$20.

Helping to Develop Skills Making Miniatures From Poly Clay

Angie Scarr is a gifted instructor, and Miniature Food Masterclass is clearly laid out to help all skill levels develop further. In the initial chapters Angie covers workspaces (everything from working on your lap to a dedicated space) tools for beginners through advanced skill levels, and five popular brands of polymer clays. Her advice is practical, explaining how to test your oven using your particular clay and how to adapt your working technique to various temperatures and types of clay.

Each project is shown with a ruler for reference (in metric and inch measurements) to help the miniaturists produce accurate sizes for dollhouse scale foods. Some references to color mixing for various clay brands are given. For some foods more than one technique is shown to allow the reader to work with the best method for their working style or equipment.

If you already own her previous book, Making Miniature Food and Market Stalls you will find her new book features very different subjects, although a few projects do repeat using different techniques from her previous work. Miniature Food Masterclass explores methods and techniques more widely and includes unusually shaped canes and working with molds and liquid polymer clays. Although it gives specific projects, each is designed to explore a technique that can be adapted for other purposes. Angie is very generous in sharing the precise methods she has evolved to create her signature fruits and vegetables, as well as the issues she has worked out or problems she has run into along the way.

Projects for Beginners through Advanced

The content of Miniature Food Masterclass is well organized to include miniaturists at many skill levels. The beginner projects are designed to build core skills using a minimum level of materials, while more advanced projects assume a level of experience and access to specific tools (mainly a pasta machine) and familiarity with the techniques of caning.

Projects Covered Include:

  • Egg Cane
  • Stuffed Olives
  • Squids
  • Avocado
  • Asparagus
  • Celery
  • Bananas
  • Melons
  • Strawberries
  • Kiwi Fruit
  • Tomatoes
  • Cabbage
  • Leeks
  • Mushrooms
  • Bell Peppers
  • Star Fruit
  • Pies and Tarts
  • Frozen Treats (Iced Lollies)
  • Wedding Cakes

In addition to the specific foods, the book covers using liquid clays for transfers, to glue sections together, or to make filled jars and special icing effects. A section on gels covers making wobbly jellies with scenic water, and another section discusses uses of and making of simple one part silicon and plaster molds. A final chapter discusses cold porcelain, and uses the Skinner blending technique with cold porcelain to create flower petals for a wedding cake.

Good Reference for Beginners to Intermediate Food Makers

With the growing popularity of extremely detailed miniature foods, Miniature Food Master Class is a good workbook for anyone who wants to learn to make detailed fruits and vegetables. It has no information on making breads, cheeses, meats or fish (except squid) (see Making Miniature Food and Market Stalls for those) and no information on making cake slices. The book has little information on making items other than miniature foods from polymer clay (a marble slab and doilies made from molds of lace are shown, but no serving dishes or plates). The information on making Skinner blends and simple and detailed canes, round through irregular and hollow is very clear.

The discussion of varied techniques based on Angie's experience makes reading this book very similar to taking a master class in miniature food making. If there are several ways to do something, the book includes alternatives, in case one method may work more easily than another for a particular working style. The book devotes itself to basics and advanced techniques and recognizes that individual style and devotion to detail will vary. There are lots of suggestions for how to enhance or extend techniques to other projects.

If you have an extensive collection of magazines, you may recognize some of the projects from past editions of 'Challenge Angie', but the photographs and explanations are new and not reprints. This book along with Angie's first book Making Miniature Food and Market Stalls are classic references for anyone interested in modelling food, especially in 1:12 scale. Highly recommended.

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