Top News

A big deal for a mini artist: Freedom Miniatures opens in Kentville


New store is one part shop, another part gallery, and another part studio space for miniaturist Shelley Acker

KENTVILLE – It’s big news for mini art – Shelley Acker has opened a new shop in Kentville featuring tiny pieces of art created with great detail.

Miniaturist Shelley Acker says she’s retired from her “real-life job” and is looking forward to showing people why she argues making mini creations is not a craft, but an art, at her new business named Freedom Miniatures.

The shop and gallery space is located at 45 Webster Street in Kentville, and is the only space of its kind in Atlantic Canada solely dedicated to selling miniatures. The space has become Acker’s new job, but feels more like a big dream come true for the mini-maker.

Acker’s creations contain an incredible amount of detail and take many, many hours to complete.
Acker’s creations contain an incredible amount of detail and take many, many hours to complete.

“I’m retired, so this isn’t meant to be stressful. If I’m not smiling as I walk through the door, I’ll change something. But so far, I haven’t been able to wipe the smile from my face,” says Acker.

Acker creates miniature objects and dioramas on a one-twelfth scale, meaning if something measures one foot in real life, it measures one inch in the diorama.

She's a regular at Camp Mini Ha Ha, a retreat for miniaturists that began in Berwick and has since moved to the Annapolis Basin Conference Center in Cornwallis.

Acker describes feeling inspired to open the storefront in late July when she was driving through Kentville and spotted the ‘For Rent’ sign in the vacant shop’s window. She went ahead and contacted the landlord on an impulse.

“It wasn’t a long-term plan and hasn’t been all thought out, but it’s something that is making a lot of sense so far,” says Acker, who also uses the gallery and shop space as a studio for her miniature creations.

“My favourite pieces are the ones with lots happening in them,” says Acker. Among her favourites is this studio diorama.
“My favourite pieces are the ones with lots happening in them,” says Acker. Among her favourites is this studio diorama.

“I’m able to work on things every day, and also bring awareness to people that you don’t need a dollhouse to appreciate miniatures.”

The shop displays both pieces Acker is showcasing, and others she has for sale, just as in an art gallery. 

That creating miniatures is an art is something that’s obvious to anyone looking at her pieces – a studio, a workshop, a mini wall of books carved into a life-sized stack of books, a bakery – that each show a staggering amount of detail that's impossible to miss.

Many fellow miniaturists have dropped in, and many mini newcomers as well – most of whom have been dazzled by how real each piece appears.

A top-down view of the inside of Acker’s bakery diorama.
A top-down view of the inside of Acker’s bakery diorama.

“It’s a lot of awe at just what it is that can be created, and an appreciation of seeing what you experience in real life, recreated in a smaller scale,” says Acker.

The store’s grand opening took place Oct. 25. Acker will be in the space Monday to Friday to work on her wares, and will be open for people to browse and purchase from Wednesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. She also plans on hosting workshops and is still looking for suggestions on her Facebook page on what people are interested in making. 

And though she is running a business, Acker feels more like she's living out her dreams.

“I’ve always dreamed that I could do what I love most and do it every day. And that’s exactly what I’m doing with this shop,” she says.

Recent Stories