A wee storm in a cup

Teacup scale

Take a cup and saucer, bring together a bunch of creative makers, add an incentive ingredient – and watch what happens…

New and old traditions can be conjured up like a storm and the outcome is likely to be delicious. Micro-miniaturists might turn a teacup into a home for a tiny gathering, creative thinkers might brew up a whole new meaning to flying saucers, others may simply sit back, sip and enjoy.

That’s what we’re looking forward to this weekend, when the traditional micro-mini convention will be hosted by the world-wide society of micro-miniaturists. This year’s theme is Scenes in a Teacup.

There’s always a keen interest in convention helpers and recent tradition has involved some highly contested incentives.   Teacup Scene

Despite a toned-down convention this year to give the organizing committee a bit of a breather, I have decided to stir up the competition a little. As a woodworker (and not a porcelain-wright), the lathe was called into action and out came a maple cup and saucer. Shown here with some 1/144 furniture that I had received as a swap during a previous convention.

Now to set the creative juices boiling, we just need to figure out how to select a lucky recipient for this over-size micro-miniature woodturning. How about this: to be eligible for the giveaway you add your comment to this post and describe your Perfect Cup of Scene. All entries will be steeped in a teapot and the lucky winner drawn during the convention on Sunday, March 10th will be sent the teacup in the mail. Improve your chances by entering multiple ideas.


To sweeten the deal for you, I’ve added a teaspoon, a couple of sugar lumps and now some mock chocolate/walnut cookies to infuse your comments with even more sweetness. Who’s going to have a little tea party?

Teacup with sugar and cookies

OK: Another addendum

In discussion with some microminiature group members this morning, I added a tea egg to hold those leaves, and a little saucer to keep the drips off the tablecloth, completing the scene.

Tea scene

It’s Sunday in teacup land, time to put the facts on the table. Comments will be switched off at noon Pacific, 3 pm Eastern, that’s 7 pm UK, 8 pm rest of Europe (sort of). Winner announced an hour later…


    1. Others have had the same thoughts as sprang to my mind – but I think I would put a tiny log cabin set amongst trees, with a little stream and some rustic furniture under a tree in the foreground.

  1. I would put a tea shop inside and out, having the chairs and tables spill outside the actual cup rim. A teeny cart filled with tea cakes to serve the guests would near a table too.

    1. I would create a book shop — complete with a few tables & chairs. (a teapot & cup/saucer on a table). This would help relieve my sorrow since Pinocchio went elsewhere. OH! I would have to have a slumbering cat among the books.

  2. I LOVE THIS CUP! I would put a woodland scene in it. Planning a scene now and it would look fantastic here! I chose a woodland over landscaped flower garden for the weekend. Need to get a new camera so I can post pics.

  3. Can the cup hold real tea? It is beautiful.
    A cockoo clock is what the woodcarver Gepetto is making as his newly made boy
    Of wood, Pinocchio, watches his father in wonder create this magic timepiece.
    This will be a beautiful clock being made for a great house in the town. Gepetto
    Will get enough to buy Pinochio new boots and a warm new coat.
    A fire is blazing in the fireplace warming the room. Old Gepetto works with more contentment
    Gazing often at his little son of wood. He is very pleased with his new little puppet of wood
    And has began to call him his son.

  4. A second idea would be to have a family room with a window looking out onto a woodland scene. Bookshelves, comfy sofas, warm fireplace and the room would extend out onto the foreground. The background would be seen through a large picture window toward the rear, and just a hint of it would continue down part of the sides. This beautiful, natural cup certainly shouts a natural setting to me.

  5. I can also see a child’s tree house set in this cup. A tree dominating the opening, or part of a tree, with the treehouse set among the branches and other bushes and garden below.

    1. I would create a rustic country living room at Christmas. Red/green plaid sofa and chair, stone fireplace, Christmas tree decorated with popcorn/cranberries/raisin garlands, nuts in the shell, paper stars, and lots of wrapped presents around the base. A large window on the back wall would show a night scene with snow falling and Santa making his rounds.

  6. How about a touch of fantasy with a dwelling for woodland creatures? Whether it be along the lines of Brambly Hedge (my preference), fairies or whatever. I see the cup and saucer as the perfect setting for a Brambly Hedge house, with of course the interior extending to the foreground to make the best use of the space. I think that this is my favourite idea at the moment!

  7. I think it is wonderful. I see a hand carved scene in it created by this incredibly talented artist I know by the name of Maarten Meerman.

  8. I would create a scene from the sixties versions of the future–the walls of the teacup are a spinning space station for a whole community winging its way across the galaxy. buildings, gardens, sidewalks. Miniature space colonists can jog up over and around and back to their original spot.

  9. I think it would look really cool to put in a log cabin overlooking a pond with a bridge crossing
    one end of the pond,with the cabin buried in the midst of a forest.

  10. I would place a scene of the north star with the pyramids in the background and a caravan walking across the saucer with camels

  11. I think I’d have to do a gnome house in this cup – the wood makes me think of a chalet in the Norwegian woods. Tiny “built in” bunk, wooden trestle table with wood stove on one wall. Maybe a window so the falling snow outside contrasts with the inner warmth.

  12. I love woods and would love to get this cup and saucer of yours! Also like flowers and plants, so would probably put a flower shop with plants in it!

  13. Beeautiful work as usual Maarten – I see it with Australian bush – beautiful tall trees and undergrowth, ferns, birds about to fly from the top branches, some sitting amongst the branches, animals and lyre birds in the undergrowth. It would all have to be done so carefully to enhance the wood you’ve used.

  14. Maarten , dank je wel for this. You are kind to make a nice competition for us.
    I would respect the beauty of the wood it is made from and create a scene with trees and some timy creatures inside it.

  15. I would build a little wood worker’s shop with the wood worker turning a set of wooden dishes. I might even put in a second floor with a lounge for the wood worker and areas to display his/her work.

  16. Beautiful cup, needs a beautiful outdoors scene, park with kids and swings and things!

  17. I would put a clock makers shop in mine, or even a Pinocchio scene….

  18. This beautiful work deserves a tribute to its creator! A replica of Maarten’s workshop would make a terrific scene. Your work never ceases to amaze me, you are a true artist.

  19. Another idea sprang to mind. A gnome house! I see Callie thought of a similar thing. Even wee rosemailing! (or as close as you can get with our scale) Also could put an ENT with a fairy on a limb! Ideas abound!!?

  20. Wow Maarten , it is beautiful . I think I would do a tiny Renee MacIntosh tea room in it .

    Jill, UK

  21. Beautiful. I would put a wooded fairy grotto with a waterfall and tiny fairys dancing in the woods.Using blacklight paint I would add fire flies and surprises that would only be revealed with the blacklight. I would not want to obscure the wooden beauty of the tea cup and saucer.

  22. I would put it on my side table and stare at it long and hard until I figured out the perfect scene. It is SO beautiful. Well done!!

  23. I would make a tearoom with a gift shoppe in it. I would have outdoor and indoor dining areas . I would have beautiful floral landscaping outside of the teacup.

    Mini good wishes,

  24. My perfect cup of scene. Charming guests, hot tea, scintillating conversation, my home, your home, or far away from home.

  25. Since it is made from wood (I love wood!) I would like to make an outdoor scene with it – open water (lake, ocean) in the background, woodsy areas on the sides, a fallen log or two, and some activity like a picnic, or a BBQ.

  26. How about a kitchen with wood cupboards that match the wood of the cup, that would be cozy!!

  27. I see a cozy sofa next to a roaring fireplace with an end table with my cup of tea, book, and a plate of cookies. Outside the window a storm is brewing. But I an warm and happy with my cup of tea.

  28. I would love to be able to carve wood and make such beautiful things, if only I had a lathe. Someday, that is on my list! A modern living room with lots of light woods would be great in this cup.

  29. How about an architects office with drafting table, model in progress on a table with tools and sawdust, architectural plans on a shelf, coat rack in the corner, trash can with crumpled up paper, nice rug… ideas are brewing. You have created a beautiful piece and sparked up the imagination

  30. I would make an architects studio with a drafting table, nice rug, a model in progress on a table with some tools and saw dust, architectural plans piled on a shelf, a coat stand to the side with a hat and coat, a trash can with crumpled up paper… You do such beautiful work and you’ve definately sparked the imagination of many

  31. A handsomely-crafted spoon to stir up my imagination and muddle the waters! I would stick with my original plan — with the spoon on the side.

  32. There is a pond in North Vancouver that I hiked to one day in the pouring rain. When we finally got there, a wonderful elderly couple were sitting on a bench with an umbrella shielding them from the pouring rain. A dog sat by their legs and beneath their umbrella, they each had a cup of hot tea. That is my Perfect Cup of Scene.

  33. Beautiful and so many wonderful ideas already given but I think a scene from the film Willow with those two wonderful woodland fairies amongst the trees with a carved dragonfly hovering over the edge of the cup or even on the spoon, tiny pond with bulrushes and butterflies whilst ferns lap the edges.

  34. Now I want to make a willy wonka-type scene where the river is chocolate and trees have fruit filled with candy, and lollipops are like bushes! Oh!! Nother cool idea. Leave it like it sits instead of on its side. Make a wee forest or wonderland !! Can make a hill or pond with NO problem. Also shows off cup more ! Yeah!!!

  35. Just amazing and sooo many wonderful suggestions I can see a this as a little bugs house but love all the suggestions so far.

  36. It’s snot fair Maarten you keep adding to it and giving more inspiration, its a space station, landing pads, spoon the control tower, cubes docking stations and cookies made into flying saucers against a backdrop of chocolate swirls.

  37. I like Dede’s idea! Sounds delicious! The cookies look yummy, Maarten. Great idea to put the two colors of wood together for them. What kind of wood are they?

  38. I would put a tree house and yard a cup like this one. It is so natural looking that it has to have at least some outdoor scene to accentuate it’s naturalness. Beautiful!

  39. Maarten this is just beautiful!!! With the addition of the cookies and sugar I think I would do an outdoor winter scene with Santa eating cookies and drinking hot chocolate while the reindeer feasted on the sugar cubes.

  40. Hi Maarten, I’m not meaning to take ideas from your own heading but…… I would indeed make ‘a storm in a teacup’. My grandfather, his father and several brothers were Lowestoft fishermen during the late 19th and early 20th century. Out in all weathers in search of the silver darlings (herring). Grandpa later worked for Trinity House (Lighthouses) before joining the police. So, I would also have a lighthouse. A tribute to the memory of my forebears.

  41. Another idea, now that the sugar has been added would be a hospital scene. A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down after all.

  42. Love the sugar , spoon and cookies Maarten . It still needs something sophisticated and calm for the interior , so I am sticking with Rene Mackintosh Tea rooms …must look up how to spell his name …LOL . Jil x

  43. The plate is the sea with a tall ship – preferably schooner. The teacup is the beach (of course there will be a fancy sand castle) and in the far background are the fronts of beach houses… Also on the plate somewhere is a light house. Have a kid flying a kit on a wire as string (is a wire allowed or does it all have to be wood?)

  44. Or… in the cup a rustic scene with a stream – either with a house front in the back with a front porch with swing, or mountains in the distance and a nice high meadow in the foreground with the stream. The lip of the cup is a waterfall from the stream and then the plate is a lake. Of course a lake needs a boat LOL and perhaps some ducks or loons (although in 1/44 they might be too much of a small speck).

  45. I imagine a cozy reading nook with lots of books, a fireplace, a cat, and of course a cup of tea.

  46. I would still need time to stare at it for a while to figure out the perfect scene, but now I want it even more! 🙂

  47. Oh this now has to be Hobbit land or maybe a fantasy world the colours of the wood remind me of warmth and chocolate swirling into infinity with the spoon gently shifting us along the way different worlds on each cookie and dish the orb rotating gently above as we slip into choccie heaven. Yum!

  48. I love the tea egg in it’s drip tray. Yes, the tea egg would make a great micro people conveyance. I’m edging over to a theme park ride, with the spoon and tea egg for rides.

  49. Its fantastic turning Marteen – I would make a scene of a tea shop such as the Mackintosh tea shop in Glasgow – the wood would look great against the wood of the turnings

  50. Ok, so now it is a really big tea party! It just keeps getting better and better. ;0

  51. I have a few micro hand carved & jointed Christmas things, Santa going down the chimney, Rudolph, a Mr & Mrs Snowman. I’d do an outdoor winter scene with a bonfire or colored lights & pine trees. No glue. Then I’d do a Spring, Summer & Fall scene & back to Winter.

  52. I would leave the arrangement just as it is and have teams of mini workmen busily working on and around it. There would be painters with a big pot of melted chocolate painting it on half of the biscuits. A ‘chain gang’ of blacksmiths working on the chain, sawyers cutting up sugar cubes and a team of french-polishers polishing the cup itself with, perhaps, more on one of those cradles that window cleaners use on high buildings polishing the inside. Not all work though, a group of roller boarders could be rolling down the handle of the spoon and doing tricks in its bowl.

  53. It’s hard to think of something that would incorporate all the new extras Maarten! I think that it needs little teeny tiny people playing in and on it, clambering up the side of the cup with ropes and grappling hooks, having a picnic on the biscuits and so forth, as if it is a huge and oddly shaped rock outcrop to them. Jax

  54. Comments will be switched off at noon Pacific, 3 pm Eastern, that’s 7 pm UK, 8 pm rest of Europe (sort of). Winner announced an hour later.

  55. Sorry, prematurely hit the send button.
    As I said, there are some obvious uses, but the cup like it would be big enough to hold a demonstration by the tea party. 😀 In 1:144 of course!

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