ANNIV SPL: Agnika Banerjee’s food-themed miniatures are cute & life-like

Agnika, who gave up her corporate job to be a full-time miniaturist, says that she has plans to try her hands on miniature pottery in future.
Agnika Banerjee with her miniatures
Agnika Banerjee with her miniatures

Little things make a huge difference. The cute and life-like food-themed miniatures by Agnika Banerjee are perfect to jazz up any corner of your house. Agnika, who gave up her corporate job to be a full-time miniaturist, says that she has plans to try her hands on miniature pottery in future.

“In 2017, I wanted to gift my mother something unique for her birthday and thought of making a miniature birthday cake for her. While surfing online for ways to make air-dry clay more flexible, I chanced upon ovenbake clay and the various possibilities of it in dollhouse miniatures. Inspired by the same, I started sculpting miniature food items, which I found very appealing. When everyone noticed them and requested miniatures for their collection, I thought of taking it up professionally. It took me a few months to chalk out the entire business plan, but that’s how I began my journey as a miniaturist,” recalls Banerjee, who shares more details about this unique profession. Excerpts from our chat:

A miniature bread, butter and jam
A miniature bread, butter and jam

Can you take us through the process of making a miniature?

All my clay miniatures are made up of polymer clay, which hardens when baked in an oven. I also use chalk pastels and glaze for added effects and then shape the pieces using common tools like blades, needle tools, rolling pins and shape cutters. I always like to have a picture of the real food item I am replicating. Sometimes, I also study the recipe to understand the texture and colour behind the final dish to make the miniature look realistic. After giving the clay the desired shape, colour and texture, it is baked in the oven. Once it cools, a layer of glaze/varnish is applied if required.

What excites you the most about art?

It is exciting to take up projects where my client is trying to bring back memories of a particular moment through miniature food since they give an instant visual connection. By sculpting them, I also learn about cuisines from different parts of the world, since a lot of research needs to be done before every new art.

Miniature Bengali sweets
Miniature Bengali sweets

Any artist who look up to?

A Denmark-based artist, Tanja Jensen.

How much time does it take to create a miniature?

On average, I take 3-4 hours to sculpt a miniature. If I receive an order for a customised product, then it takes more time since I need to design it according to the customer’s requirements. In that case, finalising the design can take anywhere between a few days to a week and additional time for implementation.

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