A black and white cat sits in a miniature living room diorama with blue lounge chairs, designed by Emily Boutard television miniatures - cover image.jpg
A black and white cat sits in a miniature living room diorama with blue lounge chairs, designed by Emily Boutard television miniatures - cover image.jpg
Stories & Ideas

Thu 25 Feb 2021

Making TV miniatures with Emily Boutard

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ACMI

Your museum of screen culture

Emily Boutard turns life-size things tiny.

We dare you not to smile at the sight of these small sofas, teensy televisions and itty-bitty bookshelves. Lawyer by day, model maker by night, Emily’s been crafting miniature TV rooms – complete with little working television sets – that are currently on display in The Story of the Moving Image at ACMI.

Transcript

Emily Boutard: It kind of almost feels like a mathematical challenge to work out, how to turn a life-size thing into a small thing, because you have to understand all its parts, how they go together and then how you can translate that into "small" with it and keep it looking realistic.

My name is Emily Boutard. I've been making several television dioramas for ACMI. My model making is like this totally secret life most people don't know about. I work full time as a lawyer. I spend most of my free time making miniature things. Often my friends will ask me to come out for drinks or, you know, go to parties and I make other excuses but the truth is I'm just making tiny furniture. So, it takes up all my spare time.

So, the ACMI display itself is made up of six televisions that are in actual fact dioramas when you look closely and inside the televisions are little lounge rooms from different decades in Australian history which show how the television fit into our everyday lives. So, it starts in the 1950s when television was first introduced in Australia.

So these televisions will work. These are little Raspberry Pi screens that are going to play relevant television shows from the era. I've been collecting tiny things since I was a child and I've always had an interest in architectural history so, I also made models of buildings and houses and I moved into a small apartment a few years ago and I realised that the scale I was working in was too big so I sort of downsized the furniture and made it even more tiny and unfortunately at that scale I couldn't find anything that I could buy on the internet, so I just thought, oh well I'm just gonna have to make it myself. That was about five years ago and I haven't stopped.

I think enjoying miniature things is a completely universal human experience. I never met anyone who didn't smile when they saw a tiny chair. Making tiny things is like it's a really good creative outlet. I just love to do it, so I think some people do yoga or meditation, but I just sit down for 18 hours and make tiny things.

Take a peek into Australian living rooms through the decades

See Emily Boutard's tiny dioramas in our new centrepiece exhibition