A TINY PEEK INTO THE WORLD OF MINIATURES
By Ann Evans
Photos: Rob Tysall, Tysall’s Photography.
If you thought dolls houses were just a child’s play thing you would be very much mistaken. Dolls Houses these days with all their sophisticated and exquisite furnishings and accessories is very much an adult occupation – and very discerning adults they are too, indulging their passion by selecting perfectly scaled models crafted by world class miniaturists.
In the UK alone there are around 400 independent craft businesses making unbelievably intricate, dolls houses and everything that goes into them in 1/12th scale (one inch to the foot), 1/24, 1/48 and so on right down to 1/144th which enables dolls house to fit into dolls houses!
According to the British Toymaking Guild the dolls house ‘industry’ accounts for around a quarter of the traditional toy making sector. And dedicated dolls house collectors are primarily all adults, many of whom will be descending on the NEC this coming weekend when Miniatura holds its Autumn Show.
The event showcases the crème de la crème of craftspeople from this country and abroad. Award winning exhibitors will be coming from all around the UK and other parts of the world, each one unique in their creativity. You’ll find modern and period dolls houses such as Georgian, Regency, Victorian and Tudor and tens of thousands of the most delicate of items that furnish them – beds and bedding, wardrobes and cabinets, paintings and clocks, copper and silverware, glassware and pottery, tapestries and carpets; even hand designed wallpaper, foods, plants, pets and much more.
These talented artisans are constantly pushing themselves to create even more stunning miniature models, spending hours in their research to create authentic items; and then many hours on each and every tiny piece. Very often the craftsman or woman will use the same techniques and materials in making the miniature version as would be used in making a life-sized item.
Visitors to the show are in for a treat this weekend browsing around 150-200 stands, watching demonstrations or attending short workshops and of course talking to the skilled craftsfolk about their miniature models.
Visit the Miniatura website to see which top class miniaturists will be attending at the weekend, and meanwhile take a look at some of last September’s craftsmanship – and a few of the modellers involved such as four ladies who had travelled 9,000 miles from Perth Australia to attend the show.
Kim Murdock, Lynn Palmer, Tanya Wakefield-Tuna and Jenny Magden are all members of the Australian Miniature Enthusiasts Association and the West Australian Miniature Association. Additionally Kim is a double Fellow Member of IGMA (International Guild of Miniature Artisans) for figures and for costumes. Kim, Lynn and Tanya were originally from the UK and were combining attending Miniatura with a nostalgic trip back to the British Isles and a three week tour of Europe in a camper van.
Dolls House maker John Lewthwaite and his wife Hazel, known as the Glorious Twelfth had travelled from Ayrshire, Scotland to attend the Birmingham show, bringing with them three delightfully atmospheric 19th century style dolls houses in 1/12th scale.
John told me: “It was a picture of a house on a Christmas card that inspired me. It was like a Dickensian style. Sometimes we get commissioned to create dolls houses as replicas of people’s own homes, and others are built purely from my own imagination.”
Andy Hopwood is the main man behind Miniatura along with the founders – his parents Bob and Muriel. They established Miniatura back in 1983 and run 2-day Spring and Autumn shows at the NEC as well as a 1-day show at Cranmore Park, Solihull.
Take a look at their website for more details and to book tickets: www.miniatura.co.uk
Car parking at the NEC for this show is free.