What are these miniature scenes/hobby called?

Ages ago in a several issues of “Games” magazine they had some photos of miniature scenes that were created by using ordinary items, rather than specially built miniature-scale items.

Hmm. Not very clear. Well, for example, there was a kitchen scene in which a cheerio stood in for a bagel, and the ridged top off a toothpaste tube was used as the ‘pleated’ white shade of floor lamp. The openings of a harmonica appeared to be cubbyholes/mail sorters at an old time country store. The ornate back of a playing card served as an oriental rug.

Looking at the scene had almost the feel of an optical illusion. The items used were not painted or altered, just arranged in settings that fooled you into seeing them as much a much larger item they resembled.

I’ve been trying to find some examples on the web, but my searches only turn up doll houses and trains sets and such, where the items are deliberately manufactured miniatures.

Anyone know what I’m talking about? Is there a name for these scenes or maybe for the hobby of creating them?

Dioramas, maybe?

There are a number of picture books like that, but I can’t remember any titles off hand.

That’s a diorama at minimum. Yes, model train people do this somewhat.

Sounds interesting. A scene made entirely of common everyday cast-offs sounds like a fun project.

I remember one of those dioramas from GAMES Magazine. It was a private eye mystery made as a series of photographs and all of the characters has punny names referring to how small they were: I’m almost certain one of the characters was named Minnie Atcher, for instance. I think the private eye’s name was a take-off of Sam Spade or Philip Marlowe (Philip Micro?).

I think the key to solving the mystery had to do with the playing cards that were used as wallpaper, but it was a long time ago.

The word is maquette. There are some in the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, and have been around for centuries, made out of numerous different materials. I’ve appraised a rather large series of maquettes based on the shops in Diagon Alley from Harry Potter.

I did not know that was the word for them, but my son got some picture books that I believe are what you are talking about.

Look Alikes by Joan Steiner

I can still just pore over them for hours finding new things each time. In looking for a link to share I learned there is a film about Steiner and her work. I hope I can find it.

This picture might be enough of an example: Sweet Shop

The cafe chairs are pretzels and crackers. The patterened ceiling is playing cards.

Joan Steiner looks like the right artist. Here’s the general store picture referred to in the original post (in jigsaw puzzle form); it was a GAMES Magazine cover, IIRC.

EDIT: And here’s the kitchen scene.

I have a couple of the jigsaw puzzles made from Steiner’s pictures. They’re a lot of fun to put together.

Higher resolution of general store…

That’s it, that’s exactly it! Thank you all!

Now, I’m bummed that it’s (apparently) only one artist doing this, otoh she has published at least five books on them. Yay!

Well that’s just 5 flavors of awesome.

I’d be seriously careful lighting that stove though.

No, no, that’s just the damper. Go ahead and turn it. I’ll be out back doing… something.