Posted by: marymarthatours | April 16, 2010

Miniatura International Dolls’ House Show, Birmingham, England

This week I’m off to Chicago for the Chicago International Miniature Show, the Independent Miniature Artisans (IMA) Show, and the Three Blind Mice Miniature Show, which all take place on the weekend of April 16-18, 2010. I’m looking forward to seeing the new creations of some of my favorite artisans, and to finding some special treasures for my own collection of houses, room boxes, and unfinished projects.

But I’m also looking ahead to returning to the granddaddy of Miniature Shows, the Birmingham Miniatura, when the M&M’s lead a group to see England in Miniature this fall.

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Rocking Horse by D.A.W.’s Rockers

Miniatura is the world’s largest exhibition of dollhouse (in England, “dollshouse”) miniatures. It is now over 25 years old. I have had the thrill of visiting the show in Birmingham twice, once in 1995 with my sister Martha, and again in 2000 with my husband. Jess and I also attending the Miniatura show in Glasgow in 1997. These shows are a feast for the eyes and imagination, and a challenge to the bank account. How can you keep from making at least one or two purchases when there are almost 300 vendors, many of whom do not come to shows in the U.S.?

When Martha and I went to Miniatura in 1995, we were blown away by the number of vendors and the quality and variety of the merchandize. We arrived at the opening of the reserved ticket day and had to be kicked out when the doors closed eight hours later. I’m not sure we got around to all the booths. Martha, who is not a miniaturist (yet!), had lots of fun chatting with people who create in small-scale what she does in full size. She was amazed by the beautiful needlepoint, cross-stitch, and knitting. When she got home, she used what she learned at Miniatura to create a Fair Isle sweater in-progress for my big dollhouse.

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Martha’s knit sweater inspired by Miniatura — Mary’s bar in an English bar scene

One of my purchases that first visit was a marble topped bar. I had thought I might use it as a soda fountain when I recreated the century-old drug store that our grandfather owned in Alma, Wisconsin. Unfortunately, the drug store is still waiting to be started, but the bar was finally used in 2009 to create, appropriately enough, an English bar scene.

What fun it will be to return to the Birmingham Miniatura this October with a group of American miniaturists. Before we get to Birmingham, we’ll have seen some wonderful miniature-related sites in the Lake District and in the York area, but Miniatura will be the highlight of our tour. We’ll be staying in Stratford upon Avon rather than Birmingham, but it’s just a short drive to the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) where we’ll spend all day on Saturday, October 2nd. And for those who can’t see it all in one day, we’ll go back on Sunday. Of course, exploring the delightful town of Stratford is also an option for Sunday. A tough choice.

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Stratford scenes

(by Mary)

Miniatura postcard photo used with permission of Miniatura: http://www.miniatura.co.uk

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