Do you love tiny, meticulous replicas of period furniture? Then hold onto your hats because we’re about to introduce you to someone who makes absolutely amazing things: June Clinkscales. Artist, miniaturist and a judge on HGTV’s Biggest Little Christmas Showdown, June has created 1:12 scale replicas of everything from Louis XVI settees to full-blown miniature sets.
What helps June create her meticulous minis? You guessed it—her trusty pair of CraftOptics! Learn about June’s history in creating, her favorite projects and why she doesn’t start a project without her CraftOptics at the ready!
What do you love best about creating?
It’s something that makes me feel completely happy while I’m doing it. I’ve always thought that if you find something that brings you joy, something that you just want to do all the time, that’s what you should do, no matter what. That’s how I feel about making my miniatures. The endorphins kick in and I just feel completely elated.
Tell us a little about your history in creating
Since I was very young, I’ve always liked art and I’ve always liked miniatures, dollhouse shops, things like that. My mom gave me a dollhouse kit and it took off from there. I started making miniature furniture and entering my work in fairs—I was so proud of my work and my little ribbons. I even made a website. My dad was a carpenter and he taught me a lot about working with tools; I wasn’t afraid of tools. And I also took a lot of art classes but nothing specific to miniatures—I’m self-taught. I’ve built up my skills over the years. If you saw some of my first pieces, you’d know that I’ve improved with time.
I was a tattoo artist for a while, but I didn’t like the permanence of that: It’s there forever and that’s a lot of commitment! So, I started painting my miniature furniture, which I’ve continued to make over the years. The building is the hard part, and the painting is the fun part.
Please share a favorite project—or something you’re working on now
It’s usually the last project I worked on—I imagine a lot of artists feel that way.
But one project I’m especially fond of is a series of work I’ve done in collaboration with another artist, Chris Toledo. Together, we’ve been creating these “room boxes” for a client—they’re boxes that hold a miniature room and slide into the client’s wall. We imagined a tiny mouse who lives in her walls and these are little rooms that we built from the bottom up for this imaginary mouse to “live” in. They’re pretty spectacular. (Here’s the TikTok reveal for your viewing pleasure, plus the YouTube that shows the work in detail. June, you’re right—these ARE spectacular!).
When did you start using CraftOptics glasses?
I found myself not having enough light to do my projects and struggling to see well enough. I actually made myself a pair of magnifying glasses with multiple layers of glass to increase the magnification. They didn’t work very well, plus they were SO heavy and would start sliding down my face while I was working—I’d actually get headaches from wearing them. I tried some other options too, but nothing was just right. I spent a lot of money trying to find a solution—it really added up.
I first saw CraftOptics at the Chicago International Dollhouse and Miniatures Show right before COVID hit. I stopped by their table, they let me try a pair and I was sold.
Tell us why you love CraftOptics.
One of the best things is being able to do my work without being in pain. In the past, I’d be all hunched over trying to see and then I’d have back pain and pain in my face—it was like having pressure all around. I’d be in the midst of doing this thing that I loved, that was so engaging and all-encompassing, and then I’d start to realize I was in pain. I just wanted to be able to light a scented candle, put on some nice soft music and relax and paint, enjoy the process, but I couldn’t.
Thanks to CraftOptics, I can see again. I can enjoy my work. To be honest, I didn’t even realize how bad things had gotten until I had the CraftOptics. I just kind of lived with the pain to do what I loved and didn’t know there was a solution.
And the DreamBeam light is a big part of that. Before I had it, I’d have all these different bright lights and I’d have to pull them all really close—and I’d still struggle to see. Now, I have the light I need to see details, plus it’s a nice natural light. My projects demand that I’m making the right color choices and with the wrong light that can be very difficult.
I’ve also added something new to my repertoire since I got my CraftOptics: sculpting. I’m now making miniature dolls to complement my furniture.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I’m a tightwad and it wasn’t easy for me to decide to invest in CraftOptics—I really had to think about it. But I decided to take the plunge and I’m completely happy with my decisions. My CraftOptics have been worth every penny. If they can make someone like me who’s super frugal happy, I think they’ll make anyone happy. If you can find something that makes your job easier and more pleasant, get it.
Where can people see more of your work?