“Some of life’s simplest pleasures live in the everyday. These small moments can take on greater meaning and become really big when they come to life in miniature.”- Miniaturist Tammie Knight
In May 2023, the African American Museum and Library at Oakland (AAMLO) had the pleasure of introducing miniaturist Tammie Knight to showcase her extraordinary art. The exhibition Black Culture: The Art of Photography in Miniature Galleries will be showing through July 15th, 2023 on the second floor gallery of the AAMLO. For miniaturist Tammie Knight, all of her designs tell a story. She describes them as her happy safe place. Knight’s love for miniatures first started when she was nine. Her mother loved life’s adventures in New York and would take her to shows and museums. One day, her mother took her to the Museum of the City of New York on 5th Avenue. Knight was blown away by the dollhouse and miniature displays on the third floor. The moment was magical and sparked her desire to be around miniatures all of the time.
Knight’s father built her her first dollhouse. Even as a child, her mother observed that she was not playing with the dollhouse; rather, she loved to decorate it with small bits of fabric and other delicate pieces. Knight went on to attend the Parsons School of Design where she studied graphic design and art history. Classes there were quite rigorous and intense, but she describes the experience as amazing. Currently, Knight still does graphic design for a few clients, but mostly does miniatures.
Knight especially loves miniature projects that are commissions for a specific space. She often goes online for inspiration or walks the specific space she is asked to create. Previously, a client asked for a Tiffany store miniature for his wife’s birthday. Knight had to collect miniature pieces from places like Japan, Spain, Russia and the Netherlands. She spent over one hundred hours creating this miniature project. She visited the shop in Walnut Creek to get a feel for the counter spaces and store experience. When approaching a project, she enjoys the freedom to use her creative license and tell the story from her own perspective. One of her favorite projects was a miniature she created of her room while studying at Parsons School of Design, including her messy office space and a miniature bowl of her favorite Raisin Bran cereal. Her goal is always to create a feeling for the viewer.
Knight has also had the privilege of working for several CEOs in the San Francisco Bay Area, including Sephora, Bare Escentuals and Optimizely. She also recently did a miniature project for Martin Luther King Jr. Day at Google. She describes her personal collection as 100 banker boxes in size and includes well over $20,000 worth of pieces. A lot of her work lives with other people as gifts or they’re holding onto it for her. Her goal is to eventually do her miniature work full time. Be sure to come to the second floor of the AAMLO to view miniaturist Tammie Knight’s work throughout June and until July 15th.