When Conceptual=Tiny

Picture book writer and VCFA graduate Kate Hosford sent me a link to this video from conceptual artist and miniature knitter Althea Crome:

Among her creations are the sweater and mittens that the title character wears in the 2009 animated film Coraline based on the book by Neil Gaiman.

Crome has pioneered knitting at the incredibly tiny scale of 1:12. She holds the title of fellow at the International Guild of Miniature Artisans (IGMA), and her process of creating her extreme art requires an incredible level of precision and skill.

What does it do to the subject you are looking at, to shrink it down on such a tiny scale? I tried it in my preferred medium, that is to say, words. I wrote notes for a story, setting no word limits. I read my notes, taking in the spirit that stirred the idea in my mind, made me rush to put it down.

I put the notes away.

Then I wrote the story, imagining it all taking place on a tiny scale, everything reduced, shrunk down to a miniature mental diorama. It ended up short and sharp and pointed, with very few wasted words. Not tiny, but definitely denser and tighter than it would have been otherwise. I ended the day feeling a little dizzy from the exercise. It sharpened my perceptions, allowed me to get closer to the heart of the story. Most of all, it allowed me to gain necessary distance from the initial words in my notebook.


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