Wonderland Glass - A World of Miniature Dolls House Glass Structures

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19 August 2013
imports_HAC_theorangerybywonderlan_62434.jpg The Orangery by Wonderland Glass
Jacqui Chana explains how the spectacular miniature buildings by Wonderland Glass came into being ...
Wonderland Glass - A World of Miniature Dolls House Glass Structures Images
Where it all began

About 18 months ago I was barely aware that the miniatures world even existed, so I guess you could say that I kind of fell into it by accident. My boyfriend, Paul, asked me if I would be able to make a greenhouse for his dad as a Christmas gift, to go in his dolls’ house garden and although I had never made anything like that before, I thought it was worth giving it a go.

I did indeed make a greenhouse, but I had no real concept of scale so it turned out horribly wrong. After a lesson in working out 1/12th scale, I gave it another go and successfully made my first 1/12th scale glass building. Paul showed photos of the greenhouse I had made to various people and it got a really positive response, so he encouraged me to think about contacting exhibition organisers to see if other dolls’ house enthusiasts would be interested.

I sent the pictures to Doreen Jefferies and she invited me to attend the Stafford Show just a few weeks later! It was all a bit of a whirlwind as I was completely unprepared. I had no designs, very little knowledge of the miniatures world, no business name and no idea how I was going to pull it off with only three weeks’ notice!

Luckily for me, my mum (Lynn) was visiting us from Tunisia, so (after hanging out of my bedroom window checking out the neighbourhood conservatories) there were a few very late nights spent drawing and making up designs to present at the show. My friend Marcella came up with the business name, Wonderland Glass, because of my love of all things ‘Alice In Wonderland’. My son, Kieran, designed the business cards for me and hastily threw together a website, and my mum cracked the whip.

Greenhouse & Conservatory

The first show and onwards

On the morning of the show we packed a bed sheet to cover the table and a couple of variations of the three designs I had made and Wonderland Glass dipped a tentative toe into the world of all things miniature. We received a really positive response from everyone we spoke to at the show and came away buzzing with excitement AND an invitation to exhibit at Miniatura just six weeks later!

The whirlwind chased us all the way through 2012 as we exhibited at both Miniatura shows, both Kensington shows, Chateau Impney and York. I’m pleased to say that we are now much better prepared and presented at the shows (although we do still use the Asda bed sheet to cover the table). We have more designs to offer and now they are all properly decorated and furnished. We have come a long way in 12 months (literally for my mum, who flies over from Tunisia to attend every show with me!) and it has been a steep but interesting and exciting learning curve.

Conservatory & Lean-To both in 12th and 24th Scales

These are a few of my favourite things

I have been making things in stained glass for about 17 years after taking night classes with my mum. Up until a few hours before enrolment we were undecided between stained glass and belly dancing! I think we made the right choice.

I’ve made many different things with stained glass over the years; leaded windows, lampshades, mirrors, vases and decorative panels. Before setting up Wonderland Glass my favourite things to make were caricature mirrors of people’s classic cars. It’s the perfect combination of two of my favourite things, old Volkswagens and stained glass. It’s also very rewarding when I’m at one of the classic VW shows and I see the vehicle in the flesh that I’ve made a caricature mirror of… or even better, I see a stained glass bud vase hanging on the dashboard.

It’s difficult to choose a favourite from the designs I’ve created because I like them all for different reasons. I like the green and copper conservatory because I would love to have that at full size on the back of my house. The greenhouse is also great because you can just imagine a dad or granddad lounging on the deckchair to escape for a few hours… but I think I would have to choose the lean-to design that’s furnished as an old washroom. That’s my newest design and it’s lovely to talk to people who remember the days before washing machines and tumble dryers. Please see the second photo above for Jacqui's favourite building.

Baby Room Box & Alice Room Box

And finally…

I work almost solely on a commission basis; the items I take to display at the shows just give examples of what I can make, although I do occasionally have pieces available for sale on the day. There are approximately 50 different colours/types of glass available and even the lead solder has three different colours (it can be left silver, or can be coloured copper or black using a special patina). It would be difficult to cover all the options available on a 6ft table. It’s also much more rewarding, for both myself and my customers, to know that each piece I make is a one of a kind, made just for them.

E: [email protected]
W: www.wonderland-glass.co.uk

This feature was originally published in Dolls House and Miniature Scene magazine. If you like making miniatures, why not buy yourself a copy of the magazine. Or better still take out a subscription so you never miss an issue. For fans of Facebook and Twitter, or to email, print or comment on the feature, please use the buttons above to share with your friends.
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