As part of the deal for having my workshop installed I agreed to give the garden a bit of a makeover following the building work. So for the last couple of weeks I have been taking advantage of some glorious Spring weather in order to dig, scatter and plant. I am not a gardener by any stretch of the imagination so it has been a really hard work and lots of trips to the garden centres. Having completed about half of the planned changes the weather has changed so I am back to working in a much smaller scale thank goodness!
As a reward for all my hard work I headed off to Spring Miniatura at the NEC this weekend with a small list of necessary supplies and hopefully a chance for inspiration.
My first stop was at the stand of doll artist, Julie Campbell, as I knew she has been working on lots of new characters for the show. I couldn't resist the glint in the eye of this saucy witch.
Such a friendly and welcoming witch will be perfect for my Roots and Shoots wizarding plant shop.
This young Weasley was a definite for Flourish and Blotts.
Very studious like her Aunt Hermione I think. Julie's dolls are among my favourites and it was lovely to meet her and her daughter again.
I have decided to go with the staff nook in the upper floor of Honeydukes and I want it to have the feel of my childhood with a mix of '50's and '60's furniture and a bit of kitsch. This Sally Meekins tea set seemed to fit the bill. I remember my mum had a whole collection of vegetable related kitchen pieces. They will find a place on a utility tea trolley.
I also spent a lot of time with Jane Harrop's kit display and came away with quite a haul.
These pieces will either find a place in the staff sitting area or be saved for other projects. Jane and her husband are real enthusiasts, offering tips and advice to all visitors. Their website is a fantastic source for miniature kits in all scales.
For a little while now I have been conscious of the declining number of stands at both Miniatura and Kensington as many real miniature craftsman are retiring or simply moving away from miniatures altogether. This can be seen in the increasing number of general sellers especially in Birmingham.
With this in mind I had decided before the show to buy a few pieces by Danny Shotton who produces the most fabulous pieces of hand crafted ironmongery.
I have the intention of having a garden shed showcasing his work. When I eventually get close to Danny's stand, it is always mobbed, I overhear him telling someone that this will be his last show if not for ever then for a good while. This leads to a bit of unexpected and panic buying by yours truly as you can see by these two little bags of goodies!!
Danny will still be selling by mail, there is not a web site, for a while at least but I would suggest that if you are collecting his pieces you don't delay.
His pieces are for sale on a couple of collector's websites but they are a lot cheaper if you buy directly from him.
I had a lovely day out, met up with some other mini enthusiasts and shopped far more than I ought but I must admit to being slightly disappointed in the drop in the number of stands. I do like to buy on the Internet but I love being able to see pieces too, especially if they are at the top of my price band. I am not sure Miniatura is offering this type of miniature at the moment. It is a great show for supplies, especially dolls houses and shop boxes but for me it may have become a once a year trip rather than twice. Saying that there are so few quality fairs even marginally south of the country I will probably still visit in the autumn!!
Hope your roofs are firmly nailed down wherever the wind is blowing tonight!