Sam McKechnie – maker of magical miniature worlds

Artist Sam McKechnie of The Magpie and The Wardrobe has been fascinated by doll’s houses since childhood. In her new book Miss Violet’s Doll’s House, she has gathered together her ideas for creating miniature worlds using everyday objects. In Sam’s own words, the book ‘aims to help you see the beauty in the mundane, opening your eyes, say, to a fallen piece of foil upon the ground – voilà – a mirror for your doll’s house!’. At the centre of the book is the adorable Miss Violet, a doll in every sense of the word, whose chic small-scale world will inspire anyone interested in miniatures. We caught up with Sam to find out more about her passion for all things doll’s house.

Sam McKechnie and Miss Violet

Where does your love for doll’s houses and miniatures come from?
A very young age. As a small child I was invited with others from the local primary by BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour. I was recorded talking about my love of the dolls house at Hartlebury Castle in Worcestershire. I also built shelf houses on top of my Peter Rabbit bookshelf with acorns and moss, old corks, foil and feathers. I adored The Borrowers and Beatrix Potter and was an avid reader.

Where do you find your materials for your miniatures?
Boot fairs, markets, charity shops and online. I do make a lot too.

Can you tell us more about Miss Violet, the star of your new book?
She is a sassy confidant version of me, a doll in every sense of the word, feminist, feisty and funny.

What is your advice for people who want to create a doll’s house in a limited space?
Don’t let yourself be held back by not having the right equipment … there are no rules … you can build a scene on your bedside table, no experience is necessary and in Miss Violet’s Doll’s House there is downloadable furniture aplenty.

Have you got a favourite projects in Miss Violet’s Doll’s House, and why is it extra special to you?
Pressed flower wall paper is a great favourite … it is so hugely versatile and makes any room so special.

Miss Violet’s Doll’s House by Sam McKechnie is out now.

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