MINIATURA – 70 AND GOING STRONG!
By Ann Evans
Photos by Rob Tysall, Tysall’s Photography
If you love dolls houses and miniatures, then you will love Miniatura; Ann Evans went along recently to their 70th show.
If miniatures and dolls houses are your scene, then the name Miniatura will be something you’re familiar with. It a highly specialised show, established in 1983, dedicated to the hobby and craft of domestic modelling. Bob, Muriel and Andy Hopwood are the team behind Miniatura who bring together the very best miniature artisans from around the UK and abroad who work in 1/12th scale and related scales right down to 1/144th which enables dolls houses to fit inside dolls houses. And occasionally even smaller.
If you think that dolls houses are for children, then think again. Dolls house collectors and craftspeople are almost exclusively adults, and very discerning adults at that. The work they produce is exquisite and perfectly scaled, and just has to be seen to be believed.
As organiser Andy Hopwood points out: “You may think there can be nothing special about making a miniature vase, carving a tiny oak chest, or creating a small copper kettle? But remember it must be exactly to scale, from the thickness of the edges, the size of the handles to the grain of the wood. Think about weaving a carpet; it must lie flat when finished, have a design that has been reduced in scale, and be twelve times thinner that a normal carpet. What about blowing a glass bowl, or making a pewter tankard, or even knitting a shawl or sweater? Perhaps you feel that knitting must be easy. So, just find some fine pure silk sewing thread, and two pieces of fine piano wire or sewing needles and off you go, with the same number of stitches as for a full-size garment of course.”
Recently, Miniatura celebrated its 70th show – and it’s 35th year of exhibiting at the Birmingham NEC. And there was a big surprise in store for them. Helaena Ackers, Account Manager for the NEC presented them with a giant iced sponge cake and raised a toast to all involved. She said: “Seventy shows is a great achievement so we thought that the organisers, Bob, Muriel and Andy Hopwood deserved a celebratory birthday cake to mark the occasion.”
The cake was made by Amadeus, the catering team at the NEC and was large enough to ensure every one of the exhibitors got a slice.
The 70th show was again a huge success with exhibitors coming from as far afield as Spain and Italy. There were talks and workshop and stalls galore featuring the most incredibly detailed miniature works of art. And amongst the many exhibitors appearing over the weekend, were three who had been with Miniatura from the very start; Escutcheon who make exquisite period furniture; Stokesay Ware who make finely detailed handmade bone china, and Country Treasures who make copper, tin and enamel ware. Many of the exhibitors had brought out new designs and miniature pieces to mark the 70th show, and in particular Petite Properties had brought out 70 new pieces.
Raising a glass to all the exhibitors and visitors who have supported Miniatura over the years Andy Hopwood commented: “We say a huge thank you to all the exhibitors, the visitors and the people that worked so hard to help us make the show work so smoothly. There was a wonderful atmosphere all weekend and we saw so many smiling faces and full shopping bags.”
As for the celebratory cake from the NEC, Andy added: “We always feel looked after by the NEC, and this really is the icing on the cake!”
Miniatura’s 71st show will take place on 22nd and 23rd September, where else but at the Birmingham NEC.
For more details and to sign up for the Miniatura newsletter with all its latest news, special offers and prizes, visit: www.miniatura.co.uk