For anyone who hasn't been to the West coast of Florida I commend it to you. It is full of lovely little towns the whole way down; one of which is Sarasota and it is well worth a visit in its own right. Add in a dolls house show for a mini enthusiast and some sun and we seem to have a perfect weekend.
As for Molly Cromwell's show itself, it was just as good as ever. I have no idea how hard it must be to keep up this standard and to find fresh people to keep adding into the mix but I am so glad she does it every time. There were over forty vendors, most of whom had multiple tables so there was a ton of stuff to go at. I had paid for both days so I got to do the Saturday preview (5 pm to 8pm). I scoured every inch of the room without a pause. It takes every minute of three hours to get round cursorily once to suss out what's there and then to go back and shop.
In fact I was no where near done and I spent a chunk of the evening making a shopping list for the next day.
For real aficionados of shows this is a four day event offering some major classes with the very best artisans. I counted twelve classes - some taking more than one day to complete. In case you don't have enough to do, on Friday afternoon Molly will also take you on a conducted tour of the Little Buildings Exhibition, being held in a nearby museum. The energy of this lady is just astonishing.
So let me share some of the things that wowed me. I have the invidious task of choosing about a dozen traders out of the forty plus to photograph and talk to and then that dozen gets reduced again to about six or so for my review of the show for Dolls House & Miniature Scene. I will be writing that tomorrow but it will be a couple of months or so before you get to see it published. After all that whittling down it feels pretty useless showing you only one photo for each of them. Luckily though I get to do profile pieces on one or two of them and that is a real pleasure. Five of my 'profiles' were at the show and remembered me which was lovely.
To get a better idea of the work these people do you need to take a look at the show photo album. There is a link in the left hand column.
All the names mentioned here have a link so you can check out their site.
Quarter Source is one of my all time favourites and this photo shows the garland and wreaths I have already bought to decorate The Gate House. Karen Benson and Sally Manwell have some lovely new prototypes ready to 'fly'. Check out the photo album. How do these people go on inventing more and more?
Carol Sherry puts us back in the land of 1/12th miniatures but with some unusual offerings. They are all beautifully made, so if whimsical is your thing she is your lady.
I defy you not to fall in love with True2scale's work. From their elegant displays and packaging and website through to each tiny little piece of perfection. Unlike the idiot photographer you can see in this picture. There are better pictures in the album.
A big buzz in the quarter scale community at the moment is the latest offering from Robin Betterley's Miniatures in conjunction with Suzanne and Andrew's Miniatures - Pickett Pond. I got to met the lovely Taryn and Scott on the Betterley's stand who were really generous with their time. When you see PP in the flesh you get to understand why there is such excitement. If I have understood it correctly, you get the whole kit you see here, other than the paint and the stuff to make the pond with (the pond is on the other side of the house). Then, each month, you get to buy all the kits you need to complete a particular room. So I was really lucky to see the whole thing fully furnished as this is all still a work in progress. If you don't want to spoil the surprise it would be best not to look at the show album.
Barbara Sabia's work is a long time favourite of mine and one of these days I will find a home for one of her pieces. Something like the screen would be just lovely freestanding anywhere.
Anyone who follows my projects might have discovered by now that there are three 'signature' pieces that go in every 'home'. One of these is a magpie from Mini Gems. I haven't come across anyone doing 'creature' work as perfectly in scale as hers - across all three scales - and with such character. I bought my second magpie so now each property will have two. One for sorrow, two for joy! I also bought a pair of half scale seagulls for Muir House and a quarter scale cat for The Gate House. So, if these are scales I continue to work in, Barbara Meyer's tiny creatures will simply move from one home to the next.
The Hairy Potter makes glorious pots but he has also made a 1/12th room box of a potter at work. It has all the necessary equipment (and mess) that pottery production needs. No point in having a pottery workroom if there aren't any pots waiting to be fired - so here they are - 1/144th size pots. Trust me they are immaculate. Yes, that is Craig's dainty creative finger pointing them out. He also offered a very extended workshop for this show.
Fred Cobbs is an incredibly skilled artist who makes wonderful replicas of all sorts of arcane tools. I may be mini-weary at this stage of the evening but I haven't been able to find a web address for him but it is well worth trawling the web to look at his 'worn and weathered' things.
Miniatures Limited is another favourite of mine and has something new and wonderful every year. The theme this year is Da Vinci's machines. The flying horse and companion are truly beautiful. All Michael Reynold's work - paintings, furniture and marvellous creations are of museum quality and a collector's delight.
... and so we move from the sublime to the ridiculous as I share my full scale treat .....
We always stop off in Venice on our journey back to Naples. We only visit one place - Ciao Gelato. It is just about the best gelato shop around. Made with the finest ingredients by someone who actually understands what gelato is. All their stuff is wonderful but to eat pistachio that actually tastes like nuts and isn't loaded with sugar is such a joy.
So endeth my wonderful weekend.