Posted by: marymarthatours | May 8, 2012

More 2012 Chicago Miniature Show Stories

In mid-April, I attended three Chicago miniature shows with my friends from the Sue’s Day Girls miniature club of Rochester, Minnesota. The biggest of these is the Chicago International Show, which bills itself as the “largest and most prestigious show of its kind in the world”. This year, the International Show featured 240 exhibitors in three large rooms at the Marriott Chicago O’Hare Hotel.

After several days of classes, the show opened on Friday, April 19, 2012. My friends knew just which vendors they wanted to visit and what they wanted to purchase. They laugh at me because I prefer chatting with the vendors to actually buying. Though my purchases are few, I always have a fabulous time meeting new people and learning from them. My favorite purchase was an adorable doll dressed in plaid, created by Maureen Thomas of Maureen Thomas Miniatures.

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                           My Scottish lassie doll from David and Maureen Thomas

The Independent Miniature Artisans (IMA) Show was held 20 minutes away at the Doubletree Chicago-Arlington Heights Hotel. With 52 vendors, this show is smaller, but, like the International, it features the original work of many talented miniature creators. Barbara Ann Meyers of Mini Gems always shows there, and she can count on me to make a purchase of animals or birds every year. This year, I found some great half-scale candle holders that will fit perfectly on the tables at Barley Hall.

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                     Half scale cat and candle holders for Barley Hall from Barbara Ann Meyer

With about 40 vendors, the smallest show is the Three Blind Mice Show at the Best Western Schaumburg. These vendors carry a variety of merchandize often mass-produced and cheaper than artisan items. I didn’t buy much there, but I found a vendor who brought all three shows together, Carl Sahlberg of Creative Reproductions 2 Scale.

Carl is responsible for the phenomenal electrical work in the amazing houses and shops displayed by Jim Landers at the International Show. One of Carl’s innovations is a turntable that allows a house to be viewed from all sides while maintaining electrical continuity.

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                                  Jim Landers at 2012 Show and one of his 2011 brick storefronts

Jim Landers only began building miniature structures in 2006, yet every one of his totally unique buildings is a masterpiece of design, detail, and construction. Each hand-laid miniature brick on his series of 1900’s retail shops is real brick, created in England from WWII London Blitz rubble. While chatting with Jim, I learned that he is a fan of another of my favorite craftspeople, Patrick Kinney from Mora, Minnesota. The metal outside staircase on Jim’s 1902 Rustic Rural Center was created by Patrick.

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       Patrick Kinney at the IMA Show and the metal staircase on Jim Lander’s 1902 Rustic Store

I first met Patrick at a Midwest Miniature Guild meeting where I saw the wonderful pieces he makes in wood. I especially love the way he combines unusual woods in his pieces and the beautiful natural finishes that he achieves. I stopped at Patrick’s booth, Miniature Wood Creations, at the IMA Show to catch up and to admire his latest creations.

In my previous blog, I mentioned that I didn’t take a class until Thursday evening. During the day on Wed. and Thursday, I sat in the lobby area near my friends’ classes so that I could occasionally check on their progress and make “coffee shop” runs for the caffeine-deprived. While sitting in a comfy chair in the well-lit hallway, I spent my time needlepointing. I was working on a rug from a charted design purchased last year from Janet Patacca of Stitches in Miniature. Of course, lots of folks stopped to see what I was doing, giving me even more opportunities to chat with fellow miniaturists.

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                                        Started rug and chart purchased from Janet Patacca

When I stopped at Janet’s booth during the show, she said, “Oh, you’re the one who’s been working on a rug in the lobby. Because of you, two people have purchased that design today.” We had a good laugh, and I came away tickled that my talkativeness had been profitable to more than just myself.  Now I’m looking forward to my visits with vendors at the fall Birmingham Miniature Show in England.

(by Mary)

All photos by Mary Wallace and used by permission.

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