Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Spring Trip to Miniatura......Are Fairs in Decline?

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!


  1. WOW!!! What a great bunch of miniatures. I love the witch she is wonderful! So is Miss Weasley. Just adorable. I can see why you had to have them both.

    I adore the tea set. I wouldn't have been able to resist that either.

    What great kits. There are too few out there that are so nice.

    Ahhhh Danny Shotton. I LOVE his work!!! I have a bit of it myself. It is high on my list of favorites. I wonder why he is giving up doing shows. Maybe a bit of burnout. I am glad to hear he will still mail order. Sadly not to anyone that has to use PayPal. Most of us that do not live in the UK have no other way of paying him. He doesn't own a computer he told me. ??? I guess there are still a few out there are still a few out there. I thought they were the over 80 crowd though. Not that I have any idea how old Danny is. haha

    1. He isn't that old actually but a little bit alternative I think. I believe it is the price of the stands that is putting him off, he has to sell a lot of pieces just to break even. To be honest he looked a bit worn out but still enthusiastic about his work. If you ever want to add to your collection I would be more than happy to order them for you and you could then pay me through paypal. No problem at all.

  2. Gee, I had thought about going this Spring, but now I'm glad I didn't. I know a lot of my favorite vendors have retired and there is no one to replace the quality items they made. I might still go to the autumn ond though.

    1. I think the Autumn one will be better but you are right we are loosing so many of the real craftsmen. Still I seem to have managed to come home with a much lighter purse!

  3. Hi Janice I have to agree with you I haven't been miniatura for 4 year, and I couldn't believe how small it has become there was lots of lovely miniatures if you like spending big which I'm very guilty of but there was far to many stand which I would not call handcrafted, more like tat. 7 years back the hall would be full with wonderful makers. Your dolls are lovely, just wished julie made 1.24 scale for my new project.

    1. Hi Gina, it was a little disappointing wasn't it. I know they have to cater for all types of visitors but this fair used to showcase the best of our hobby and I don't think it does that now. I used to like being wowed even if the pieces were way over my budget it wasn't just a place to buy general supplies.

  4. Replies
    1. Thank you Penelope, I had a lovely day.

  5. Tuviste un gran día después de trabajar tanto en el jardín.Tus compras son maravillosas y enriquecerán tus proyectos!!!!
    Gracias por los enlaces!

  6. Hello Janice,
    Great purchases! they are all beautiful. A proper and well deserved reward for anyone who has been gardening...yuk!
    Big hug,

    1. A very big yuk Giac, not my comfort zone at all!

  7. A mi me gusta el trabajo en el jardín tanto como hacer miniaturas.Me han encantado tus compras. La bruja es sensacional.

  8. Lots of lovely purchases Janice. You did very well. I like your dishes very much.

    I agree regarding the decline of fairs, especially up here in Scotland. We're reduced to one small one twice a year in Edinburgh but fortunately the couple who took over the running of it are hoping to increase the number of exhibitors. I especially miss the Scottish Miniatura - that was a fab show but it disappeared about five years ago. I'm off to the Kensington Show in May (first time ever) and the Exhibitor list looks good but I've no idea if it's shrunk since last year.

  9. I also agree, I went to Miniatura as well this time and was disappointed by the fewer stalls (although I still made many purchases), but I love seeing the items in person so I will still be going to Miniatura in October (I believe)

  10. What a fabulous haul. I just love the witch with the glint in her eye and the purple hair and the tea set is fabulous.

  11. Hi Janice
    Your purchases are wonderful, especially your witch. She has such a lovely glint in her eye :) I love Miniatura, it is my favourite fair, although I did find that it was smaller this year. Have you seen Emma Jayne Miniatures? It was only her second show at Miniatura, but her work is beautiful and I have quite a nice little collection of her artisan work coming along. I adore Danny's work too and we are always lucky to be placed either next to him or within a couple of tables from him. He is a lovely gentleman who isn't going to disappear from the miniature scene. He has wanted to take a 'gap' year for a couple of years now so that he can concentrate on his love of cycling, but he is so popular and sells so well, at the fairs (no fear of covering costs for Danny) that he has been putting it off.

    When I am a bit more sorted, I will do a little post and give the link for Emma Jayne, I'm sure you will love her work.

    Julia :) x


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