There’s a blog title I never thought I’d be able to write. Miniatura 2021!
The pandemic that stole our show has given us a new exhibitor we would not be meeting if the world had continued in the normal way.
Our silver lining goes by the name of Jon Trenchard, who would have been touring and acting if the virus had not given him the enforced leisure to continue with the house. I know as I write that you may be either welcoming a soul mate who had the good sense, like you, to get busy with the house, or wishing (like me) you’d got on with the miniatures a bit more while you had the chance.
More of Jon in a moment, in his own words.
Meanwhile you may have spotted that I’ve misspelt NEC in the title of the blog, except that I haven’t. The show this time is being held in the NAEC, which is the National Agricultural Exhibition Centre. A different place! On any map it’s about a fingernail away from the other place. If you thought you were going to the usual place, please look it up and make sure you go to the right one. It’s about ten minutes travelling time by car from the previous location. It has some differences you may appreciate, foremost that the site is much smaller, so there is no need for shuttle buses, there’s usually only one event at a time, which is the case with Miniatura, so you can’t miss the hall, it’s all flat and level and there will be wheelchair parking.
I have asked show organiser, Andy Hopwood, some tricky questions about the show, the virus and the venue and he is finding out the exact answers. When he has found out to his satisfaction, I’ll be able to tell you. Meanwhile, as always, information on the Miniatura website and the NAEC website, may help with your enquiries. Links at the bottom of the blog.
Here is Jon looking through the door of his castle. You may think you recognise the castle and the builder as they were in national newspapers some time ago. You could classify Jon as a returning miniaturist, like so many of us. When he finally left home, his family were happy to give him the castle he had been building since he was a child, but it was Covid that gave him the time to make it exhibitable.
I’ll let Jon tell you what happened next:
‘When Andy asked me in 2019 to exhibit the miniature castle I’ve been making since I was 12, I was so excited and flattered…and nervous. Some of the interiors were nearly complete, and the exteriors were still an unimpressive mix of cardboard box and plywood. How, after over 30 years in the making, even considering my professional commitments as a touring actor, could the castle be so unfinished? That was nearly two years ago. During that time, my theatrical work dried up, and the Miniatura show was postponed three times due to Covid restrictions. This has given us all time for hobbies; I’ve worked on those exteriors, and added a few interiors like a gatehouse with a working portcullis. This period has also increased my excitement and my nerves about revealing my life-long project to other miniaturists. I am in no doubt that many other miniaturists far excel what I can create from ‘bits and bobs’ like cereal packets, egg boxes and coffee stirrers, so I am even more flattered and amazed that my invitation to Miniatura still stands. I am so looking forward to finding out what visitors to Stoneleigh NEAC think of my imagined ancestral seat, (to be displayed as if it’s a National Trust property, complete with hand sanitiser at the entrance), and I hope people will be very generous with tips on how to improve and create with new techniques as the mini castle grows bigger…’
As you can see Jon’s techniques are already impressive and I know the cereal box brigade will be sitting up and taking notice. I wonder how much Jon’s familiarity with stage sets has influenced him, he certainly seems to know a thing or two about painting. This a sneak preview of the exterior walls that you are seeing first, here. I hope Jon will not be too surprised to find visitors with their noses to his walls taking notes.
And here is Jon who you’ll be wanting to bombard with questions.
You will find Jon on an island completely formed of new exhibitors.
Andy is delighted with his all-new island. I think this is a good idea, when they’re all in one place you will not miss the new talent at all. There is nothing more annoying than getting home after the show to discover brilliant new talent making it to the newspapers or the television that you failed to spot, which is easily done in a show of such excellence.
I think Jon is on a steep learning curve, he has not yet realised that the natural state of a miniature house is unfinished, unless you’re making it as a gift or a commission or donation. When he hears all the ‘entirely recycled dolls’ house’ stories, he’ll know what you know by looking at the pictures and reading the words.
Jon Trenchard has come home to Miniatura.
Tickets are still available! (As I write.) Numbers are limited, please click on the Miniatura link above if you’re interested.