Wm. R. Robertson,
A Life in the Workshop
Even as a small child I built things including models of planes, trains, cars and ships. By 15 I was working in a hardware store and from that to jobs assembling everything from electronics to race cars.
For over thirty years I have been creating miniatures of decorative arts objects in the most accurate manner possible. For me the process starts with the study and research of the original object. It is important to understand the ways, tools and methods used by the original craftsman. The next challenge is to select the proper materials to work in miniature. For example, woods and fabrics must have scale grain and color. When I reduce an object to a smaller scale I must be careful to maintain proper proportions while at the same time adding an artistic interpretation. Many skills are required, in addition to extreme amounts of patience, to work with the tiny parts that may involve cutting dovetail joints in wood or making metal screws as small as 0.3 mm. After all the parts, which can often number in the hundreds, are made for a project the careful assembly begins. At any point one slip can destroy hours of work.
My work was quickly recognized by museums, including the Smithsonian and the National Geographic Society in Washington, DC, and incorporated into their programs and exhibits. Creating miniatures lead to working on the design of miniature museums in Kansas City, Missouri; Dallas, Texas; Naples, Florida and Maysville, Kentucky.
Using historic techniques and antique tools I strive to keep my miniatures as historically accurate as possible. As a result of extensive historic research and studies the National Park Service contracted me to work on the restorations of the Thomas Edison and the Wright Brothers workshops in 1:1. I especially enjoy teaching and sharing my knowledge and skill with others as they learn to create fine objects. I have taught classes in the USA, Europe and Asia.
For me best part of making miniatures has been the wonderful opportunity to meet, share work and techniques with collectors, artists and historians from all over the world. Even after 30 years I enjoy working in my studio which can at times be either peaceful or very challenging as I strive to make each new piece better in some way than anything I have done before.
Wm. R. Robertson