Autumn Siney with a selection of her miniatures. Photo by Patrick Siney.


She’s artistic and good with her hands. She enjoys fine, detailed work. And she’s always liked small objects.

So it’s not surprising that Autumn Siney, 17, makes miniatures — tiny, clay replicas of anything from cupcakes and root beer mugs to turtles and tigers.

They’re only an inch or so, some smaller, some slightly larger. The intricate decorative features, such as a red heart on a cupcake’s icing or cherries in a pie, are teeny.

Siney, a Harmony School senior, makes most of her miniatures for jewelry, such as bracelet charms, earrings, or necklaces. Others are used in miniature dollhouses. She says there is a huge online community of people who make or collect miniatures.

“I enjoy creating things and I see it as a challenge, making small objects,” says Siney, who has studied pottery and photography at Harmony. “I can look at a picture of something and create it with my hands. I also sit down and think of things that would look good small. It’s endless what you can make.”

Since she began making miniatures in September 2014, she has sold a few and would like to sell more. She was inspired to start crafting her own tiny objects after seeing miniature cupcakes on an artist’s blog. “I just thought to myself, ‘I can make that,’” she says.

She watched a YouTube tutorial on making miniature cupcakes, purchased some polymer clay, and was on her way. She sculpts nearly everything by hand, uses a toothbrush for designs, and bakes her creations in a toaster oven.

As a busy high school senior, Siney says she can’t spend much time working on her creations, but when she does she can make five to 10 in a couple of hours. “My friends think I’m crazy spending so much time with little things,” she says. But to her, it’s therapeutic and fun.

Siney is the daughter of artistic parents, graphic designer Patrick Siney and Suzin Snyder, a graduate of The Art Institute of Chicago. “I’ve always been into drawing, ceramics, photography, collage,” she says.

“I love art and will always have it in my life,” adds Siney, who has applied to several art colleges. “I would like to have art as a career.”