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A world in miniature on display

Miniatures made by Karen Riddet will be on display at the Gays Mills Public Library for the next month.

Karen Riddet has been involved in the arts most of her life. With an associate degree in art, her work has transitioned over the years from acrylic painting to creating hand-made 1/12th scale miniatures. Basswood, oven-baked clay, and “found” or modified objects join with her attention to detail, historical research and, occasionally, sense of humor to produce exquisite miniatures.

Riddet has made miniature rooms and other 1/12th scale creations for over 30 years. During that period, she has accumulated a large assortment of “bits and pieces” with potential use. She says these items are “well organized, labeled and easily accessible within a short distance from my studio work table.”

Riddet has taken advantage of new materials available on the market. 

“All my foods, from the turkey to the fruits, vegetables, baked goods, cheese and candies are made from Sculpey polymer clay,” Riddet explained.

Many of Riddet’s miniatures deal with earlier historic periods. 

“Perhaps this is just nostalgia” Karen said, “or, perhaps, wishful thinking on my part. As we approach an uncertain future insofar as sustainability on a global level is concerned, perhaps a little simplicity and sensibility will go a long way in maintaining sustainable consumption.”

Riddet’s personal favorites on display in Gays Mills include the Civil War trunks and the Halloween feast. That’s not surprising when one realizes that Karen and her husband Michael Riddet have been regular participants in Boscobel’s Civil War re-enactment events and that Karen loves holidays generally and Halloween specifically.

In 2011 Riddet won the American Miniaturist Contest for entire feasts displayed under cheese domes.  Judges favored the quality and creativity of her work while appreciating that the pieces “just look fun!”

Riddet’s work has been featured in ‘Miniature Collect Magazine,’ ‘Miniatures Magazine,’ and ‘American Miniaturist Magazine.’  Her pieces have been exhibited at the Harry Nohr Gallery at the UW-Platteville and represented by Winstanley Roark Fine Art in Dennis, Mass. Many of her miniature rooms may currently be viewed at the Boscobel Public Library. Some rooms and miniatures are also displayed at the Carriage House on Highway 61 in Boscobel.