Tuesday, March 31, 2009

You Never Know Unless You Ask...

Someone once told me, if you want something, ask for it. Sounds simple enough, but so many of us either fear rejection or worry that we may be imposing on another. That doesn’t seem to be the case in the mini world, and I never cease to be amazed at how frequently I have found a source, solved a problem or received a piece I needed, simply by asking. Miniaturists are by nature giving people who love to help each other. We also derive a certain amount of pleasure and self satisfaction by knowing that we have helped out one another. In that respect, I think we are even more caring than many other hobbyists out there.

I try to support the local NAME events in my area and the “Summer In Tahoe” State Day is a favorite. In appreciation, the club that puts it on sent me a complimentary kit from last year’s project. It was a Wizard’s Room, based on Dumbledore’s room in the Harry Potter series. As I began looking through all the pieces of the kit, I realized that the window in the room was a traditional window. Having never seen a Harry Potter movie (I know, don’t say it), I had no idea what this room should look like, but I assumed that since it is supposed to be in a castle, the window would not be one of a regular rectangular shape. It should be a Gothic window I thought, but I don’t think I have ever seen one available, and after a short bit of research, I determined I was right; it should be Gothic and there are none to be had.

All miniaturists know that if something is not available (or not affordable), you make it yourself, but a Gothic window was going to be a bit of a task. I had a basic idea and further researched some windows. I found a couple styles that would work and figured if you cut two identical pieces, one slightly smaller than the first, then layered the smaller one on top of the other, it would create a three dimensional effect. My problem would be how to cut this. Doing it accurately by hand would be difficult at best. I needed a way to cut identical pieces, with curves, both smooth and neatly. I needed a laser cutter. If you need something ask…

I suddenly remembered that I knew someone who made laser cut kits and had a laser cutter. But would she be willing to take on a job this small – just one window? Only one way to find out; I emailed her a couple drawings along with a description of what I wanted and asked if she could do it and for what cost. To my surprise and pleasure, she sent me back a picture of a proto-type she made and asked if it was okay. The price was very reasonable, but she said if I wanted to buy in a quantity of 10 or more, I could get 40% off. Wow! With none of these available and the popularity of wizard and castle themed projects, I could be the only supplier of Gothic windows; so indeed, I ordered 10. Now, if I ever need another unusual window I know where to go.

The point here is that I encourage you to always put out the word when you need something. Ask friends; post to your Internet groups; post to the NAME Online Region if you’re a member, whatever it takes to reach as many people as possible. You will be surprised at the number of replies you get as well as alternative suggestions. I have yet to put out a request for something that has gone unanswered. Like I said, we miniaturists love to help each other. Anyone looking for a Gothic window…?


  1. Aren't miniaturists wonderful people! :)

  2. You are so right, you ended up with wonderful windows!

  3. Wonderful...I have been looking for gothic windows everywhere...lucky you.

    She really ought to market those - I am sure they'd sell like crazy.

    BTW I've given you an award...just come over to my blog to pick it up :-)