Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Driven to distraction by fractions.......

I had an email yesterday informing me that an article on realistic miniatures featuring my illuminated toy theatres is currently in Doll's House and Miniature Scene's Doll's House Projects magazine.

They asked me for the information ages ago, and to be honest, what with one thing and another I'd forgotten all about it.  The theatres take quite a long time to make so I generally prepare them in batches of 10 or so but they do tend to sell out almost as quickly as I put them on the website, so a new batch has been on my current 'to do' list for a few months. 

This delay has been due to running out of the very fine stripwood I use to make the theatre boxes, and the very sad demise of the lovely Alan Borwell of Borcraft Miniatures, whose wood I've been using ever since I started making miniatures over 25 years ago.

As well as being a wizard with wood, his kindness extended to supplying me with wood in the exact lengths I needed, saving me the trouble of cross-cutting them myself.  He has been sorely missed.

Following extensive enquiries, I have hopefully found an alternative supplier, who will (fingers crossed) perform the same service, but first I have to carefully work out how many pieces of each length I can get out each strip.

This is where the division of fractions come in.

The majority of miniature artisans I know, work in imperial measurements in preference to decimal.  I suspect that this is primarily because we are all of a certain age, and were educated in the pre-decimal era.  I still think in feet and inches, rather than metres and centimetres, and no amount of EU regulation to the contrary will persuade me otherwise.

However, when you also consider the fact that we work in scales of 1/12th, 1/24th, 1/48th and even the mind-bogglingly small 1/144th, it becomes apparent why imperial is simply the most sensible unit of measurement to adopt.

Until you start trying to work with fractions.  And having to divide the buggers.  Which is an arithmetical nightmare.  Numbers aren't my forte at the best of times but fractions drive me demented.  This morning I've been trying to work out a variety of sums involving 16ths and 32sths which has only served to highlight my myriad defects in the fraction calculation department.  I was transported straight back to when I was at primary school, struggling with fiendishly complicated sums and hating numerators and denominators with a vengeance.

Nothing has changed........

Yeah..... right.

So if you're on my waiting list for an illuminated toy theatre, please, please bear with me.  Once I've resolved the fractions debacle, and confirmed my order, it won't be long before I'm able to make a start.


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