Frequently-Asked Questions

We get lots of questions about Mini*Me Original Miniature Portrait Sculptures. I thought I’d answer some of them right here…

What are the sculptures made of?

Mini*Me’s are made of terra cotta clay (the same stuff that they make flower pots out of).

But they look like bronze. How does that happen?

After the clay is dried and then fired, they go through a patination process that Art has developed over the years that makes them look very much like bronze.

How do you do these? Do you use a computer?

No, we do not use computers to sculpt these pieces. We start with a lump of clay and then “get after it” as Art would say. The only computer used here is the one between our ears.

Why do the sculptures take so long to get back?

After they’re sculpted (remember these are one of a kind, and hand-sculpted), they have to dry for several weeks before firing. If there is ANY moisture left in them, they will explode in the kiln. With mounting and framing, it generally takes 4–6 weeks, depending on how many orders we have stacked up before yours.

What’s a kiln?

A kiln is the oven we use to turn the clay into hard ceramic. It heats the clay at about 2000 °F.

Why do they cost so much more when done from a photograph than from a sitting?

When we do a sitting (usually a 30 minute duel) we get a “sketch” of the individual, whereas when we do a study from a picture, we work on it until we have a more accurate portrait…which usually takes between 4–6 hours.

Are there framing options?

Yes, absolutely. We generally mount Mini*Me’s done from one of our Dueling Sculptors duels on a wood plaque. Those from photographs are mounted in shadowboxes. If you’d rather have them mounted a different way, there are custom framing options. NO problem.

How did “Dueling Sculptors” get started?

Out of boredom. Art and I have done a lot of art shows in the past and would get bored watching people walk by. For many years Art used to do an hour demo, doing a life size bust, which proved to be a draw for people but an hour in the hot sun. We thought that having some fun with people would make the time go a lot faster, so we came up with the Mini*Me idea and then it grew into “Dueling Sculptors”. Being married allowed us to give each other a hard time without any hard feelings.

Got a question we haven’t answered? Contact us and we’ll be happy to answer it!