You may recall that back at the beginning of March I asked what drew you to miniatures and what keeps you coming back --your responses were fascinating--so many personal variations on the theme!
Now I'm writing an article on this very subject and need your help again. I have your responses to my initial post, but I would love to hear from more of you. And it would be absolutely wonderful if you could email me a photo or two to illustrate story....your first dollhouse or the dollhouse that inspired you....something you fashioned out of an everyday item....a treasured artisan piece (maybe the first one you purchased?)....or a piece, roombox, or house you made yourself that you are particularly proud of....or just a collection of little things you display in a curio cabinet or shelf or drawer. Does anyone out there have a Cabinet of Curiousities like the Victorians did? I want to see it!
If you came to miniatures as an adult, or back to miniatures after a hiatus, tell me what or who in your life inspired you to become involved as an adult. Do you think you've inspired others to become interested in miniatures?
So let me hear from you. I love learning and collecting your stories and want very much to tell the world why we love the world of miniatures!
As I said, I didn't seem to take as many photos this year as I have in the past. And it also seems that a lot of the photos I did take are blurry. Guess I'm not used to using my iPhone as a camera!
But here are the displays from some of the other dealers.
Master's Miniatures UK--Gary and Heidi Masters hand make their furniture and have a broad range, as you can see here. They also accept commissions.
The inimitable Ray Storey's fabulous lighting....and yes, I did replenish my website stock with some beauties. Love the lanterns.
Ray also makes chemistry items...he started out as a glassblower with Phil Grenier.
This is the very talented young silversmith Greg Matusovsky and his lovely financee Julie....Greg introduced a new piece at the show--a repoussé vase--which sold like hotcakes. You can see them filled with Martha McLean's flowers on the left and right at the bottom. Mine is filled with red roses and is going in the living room of my big house.
Geoff Wonnacott was there with his exquisite furniture and a full workshop. Anything he brings leaves his table fast and there's always a waiting list for his work.
Leslie Smith brought an array of paintings, including new Fragonard's. The one I wanted is the little Fantin-Latour roses on the bottom but someone beat me to it.
Here's a close-up. Hopefully Leslie will paint it again for me.
Lastly, this amazing boulle piece by Rohit Khanna of Rohit's Miniatures (India). I heard an extremely knowledgeable collector say that he thought this might well be the finest miniature he had ever seen.
Little history lesson: André Charles Boulle (1642-1732) was a French furniture designer who developed a distinctive style of furniture inlay that consists of tortoiseshell with inlay in brass, pewter, or copper. As cabinetmaker to Louis XIV, he produced desks, cabinets, clocks, chests, and even parquet floors, working in an ornate Baroque style. His influence continued into the 19th century. And into the 21st, judging by this extraordinary piece.
That's it for the Chicago International this year!
A few more photos of artisan work at the Chicago International. These are some Christmas decorations that I was particularly taken with.
Karen Markland's display. I bought the angels on the back wall.
Here are a couple of close-ups of Karen's work.
I was rather taken by this little shelf but didn't buy it for some reason --which I now regret.
Another artisan who had a wonderful Christmas display was Veronique Bailleul from France. Her little Christmas tree (on the extreme right) is just wonderful.
Volker Arnold was also at the show--with his lovely daughter who speaks perfect English -- I bought a bunch more of his kits and have more coming by mail. Unfortunately, neither of the photos I took came out very well but I will post them anyway.
I love this (blurry) castle--one of the kits I bought.
Here it is a whole week later and I haven't done a round-up post on the Chicago International. Time to rectify that!
The show was amazing, as always. 241 dealers in three ballrooms. Even for dealers the array is almost overwhelming. Although we are at the show to sell, many of us also love to buy. As a result, we have to get someone to watch our table while we run around. I am fortunate to have my friend Emily as a helper. She is irreplaceable--couldn't do it without you, Em!
I won't bore you with my table set up. Instead, I'm going to post some photos of favorite artisans, starting with TYA.
I covet their big restaurant kitchen units and hope someday to buy one.
They brought some new pieces this year, like this salad bar. The detail is amazing.
Also new this year were this big stainless steel stove with its integral hood and back splash and dishwashing sink.
I love this work station.
This photo shows their stainless refrigerator, all the way over on the right, another new piece.
10 doll houses, designed by architecture firms and decorated by LA interior designers, will be auctioned in mid May to benefit the UCLA Children's Discovery and Innovation Institute. If you happen to have an extra $15,000 sitting around, that's the starting bid.
This is a replica of Monique Luhillier's flagship store in New York.
Photo credit: Modern Mini blog
Here are a few rooms...look at those gowns!!!!
Photo credit: Monique Luhillier Facebook
Can you stand it?
Photo credit: WWD.com
And just to give you an idea of the size.....
Photo credit: Monique Luhillier Facebook
Instead of repeating what other bloggers have covered, I refer you to these posts with more amazing photos.
Before I even do a single general post about the Chicago International, I must show you photos of the new Whitledge-Burgess kitchen box, which Ray and Scott have called "A Culinary Classic."
It is absolutely the best kitchen ever! And I'm not the only one who thinks so: so many people are signed up for the classes in July and November that they may be adding a class in October. The response has been remarkable.
Here is the whole box. It was a little difficult to photograph on the show floor. It consists of a fabulous kitchen with a Wolf range and lots of countertops and cabinets for display, and a butler's pantry for the overflow china and glassware.
I love the double windows and the display space above the sink, the lighted cabinet above the fridge (right side) with even more space for cool things on top, and the fabulous display unit in the butler's pantry. Actually, there is nothing I don't like about it!
Now for some close-ups.
Here is a good look at the stove side. Love the hood, love the stove, love the space to display food and kitchen items. Nice space on the island, too.
This is the right side with the fridge with its paneled doors. And another view of the island.
Here is the butler's pantry--straight on. Love the aluminum bar sink! And the wallpaper. And the big display cabinet on the right side. Have I got china to fill that????
Here is a better look at the wallpaper. It's composed of little French labels. How cute is that?
Here is the china cabinet on the right side. So many shelves to fill!
Needless to say, I will be in the July class. And I'm already setting aside things to put in my new, fabulous kitchen!
In RL I'm a communications executive. I'm also a passionate Francophile, a collector of fine miniatures, an incurable romantic, and an empty-nester with three grown sons. Last year I started my own web-based artisan miniatures business: Small Treasures Miniatures.