15 May 2020
We chat to Evelien Van Onna, a talented miniature artist who has taken inspiration from macramé, crochet, knitting and embroidery. See her beautiful work in this uplifting interview!
Interview by Lynn Allingham.
Macramé, crochet, knitting and embroidery have all enjoyed a resurgence within design and fashion over recent years and have firmly regained a place in modern culture.
We’re lucky enough to chat to Evelien Van Onna who creates intricate crochet handbags and tiny macramé plant hangers using the finest hooks, needles and threads – they’re stunning! Find out how she got into the craft and read her tips for beginners looking to get into the wonderful world of miniatures.
If you haven’t tried making miniature macramé and crochet pieces before, we’re sure you’ll be eager to by the end of the interview!
Tell us a little about you and your background
I’m Evelien van Onna and I come from a little town named Eemnes in the Netherlands. I’m married and we have a son named Thijs.
We all love everything small in our home – my husband collects miniature building machines and my son loves his own dolls house. We’re also animal lovers – we have a flock of sheep with a friend of ours, and an aviary.
“I‘ve been creating things since I was very little and I owned a handmade dolls house when I was about four years old, but many other hobbies passed over the years.”
When did you first start making miniatures and what inspired you to do so?
In 2006 I saw a Dutch dolls house magazine in a bookstore and got really interested. I discovered there was a lot of information on the internet about miniatures and how to make them, and when I found a miniature supply shop nearby I knew I had finally found the hobby I was looking for.
I’ve been creating things since I was little and I owned a handmade dolls house when I was about four years old. Many other hobbies have passed over the years and I love crochet, painting, knitting, embroidery and woodworking, etc. With miniatures I’ve found challenges, endless possibilities and versatility. One moment you’re building your own furniture from wood and cardboard and the next you are working with thread, clay, paint, paper, etc. – I love that!
You create a range of beautiful intricate designs, particularly in crochet. Are these part of a larger dolls house project? If so, can you tell us more?
I do have a bigger project I’m working on – an existing house from my residence. The outside is going to be an exact copy of the real house, and the inside will be to my own taste. I’ve made some progress, but since I’ve become a mother it’s got sidetracked. We also have a fixer-up dolls house for my son. It needs a lot of work too, but I just need more hours in a day.
Work in progress – Evelien’s miniature house.
I’ve been working on my miniatures again for about a year and a half now, and I’ve found that working with thread in miniature is really something I love. First it was miniature crochet bags and pillows, but now also macramé.
Inside Evelien’s miniature house.
When I started making miniatures again I set up an Instagram page to share my work and to use as motivation to keep creating, and what a good choice that was! I’ve discovered so many amazing, very kind and skilled miniaturists – it really brings a smile to my face daily and keeps me inspired to make new things.
Original Petah macramé by Artistik.nl
I also discovered macramé on Instagram, when I found the page of Fanny Zedenius ‘@createaholic’ and with her great book ‘Macramé’ I taught myself the knots. That’s when I discovered that I’d also really like to re-create a scene or photo by other artists who works in 1/1 scale. These projects are so much fun because I keep in touch with the original makers and when the piece is finished it feels so good to see the 1/1 scale work next to my 1/12th scale replica – it’s a great combination of making something I love whilst honouring artists I admire.
Evelien’s version of Petah.
I see that you create crochet and macramé pieces in both large and small scale. How do you adapt to working on a smaller scale?
It took me a while to figure out what material would be suited for this purpose. I found that a 0.35mm needle and sewing thread gave the best results for small scale crochet while keeping as much detail as possible. For the design I often use existing 1/1 scale patterns and adapt them to 1/12th scale.
When I share my photos on Instagram, I always mention which pattern I’ve used. Sometimes I only need to adapt the number of repetitions in a pattern and sometimes I only use part of a pattern and come up with the rest myself. When I try something new, I often make a little piece in real size to get the feeling of the stitch or pattern, because in 1/12th scale it’s a lot more challenging.
“With miniatures I’ve found challenges, endless possibilities and versatility. One moment you are building your own furniture from wood and cardboard and the next you are working with thread, clay, paint, paper, etc. – I love that!”
Are there any tools or materials you can’t live without?
If you’re new to crochet or macramé there are a lot of great tutorial videos on Youtube – I usually end up there while searching for ideas on Pinterest. In these videos you can find both the written pattern and also see how it’s done. I find it’s easiest to try something new in 1:1 scale first and then slowly adapt to a smaller crochet hook.
Inspired by Evelien and want to create your own miniatures? Dolls House & Miniature Scene magazine is for you! Enjoy endless inspiration, projects galore, the latest from the world of miniatures and advice from the experts.
What advice would you give to aspiring beginners?
I started with a 1mm needle and now I mostly use my 0.35mm Tulip crochet hook, but this size hook is very fragile – I’ve already had to order a new one.
For macramé I love Durable crochet cotton and Venus crochet cotton #70. For detailed crochet work, I find Gütermann sewing thread (Polyester) works best.
You can also use the macramé yarns with a 0.6-1.0mm hook to get a more chunky crochet appearance. I also use a small pair of sharp scissors, a table easel with a plank on it, some little clamps or clothespins (to hold the macramé threads apart), good (day)light – and that’s all you will need.
What’s the one piece that you are most proud of to date and why?
The replica yarn cabinet I made of Fanny Zedenius as mentioned above, I think because at first I thought, “What am I thinking, I hope I can do this!” I can be a real perfectionist and I really wanted to do her beautiful work and room justice. After many, many hours I’m pleased with the outcome and I’m glad I carried on – I want to do these projects a lot more! It’s so much fun to be in contact with all these great artists worldwide and a smaller project suits me better than a whole dolls house to fill.
Evelien’s inspiration piece.
Evelien’s version of the cabinet.
You can see more of Evelien’s work on her Instagram page: @oneformini_oneforme.
Looking for another inspiring read? You’ll love this interview with Dianne Fisher, a fellow miniature enthusiast who also creates gorgeous homeware! Or explore the Dolls House & Miniature Scene blog for a wealth of projects and inspiration.