It is 15 years since you were first able to read this column. If you are a reader who has stayed with me for 15 years, thank you!
JaneLaverick.com was begun to help artists exhibiting at Miniatura. At the time I was writing for magazines and had been abandoning my own table for over a decade to interview other artists for various publications. The magazine articles were good for Miniatura, because you could see what was on show and if there was anything you were particularly interested in. The articles were good for the artisans, because they were publicity; collectors enjoyed reading about their favourites. They were good for visitors, both those who could get to the show, and those who could not. There was one problem, which was the lead-in time for the magazines. It typically took six months from the interview to publication. About a month of that would be my fault, I never published anything that the artisans had not approved of. In the days before the Internet, that meant revised writings going back and forth in the post. I was happy to do it; I didn’t want to make factual errors or represent the artists in any ways they did not wish. Then there would be a couple of months of editing and fitting in the articles to different issues of the magazine, which always had to be varied and interesting, then the photographers did their bit and eventually the printers and binders. Finally a lovely glossy keepsake magazine emerged.
However, the artisans complained that as publicity the magazines were failing them. Not only did six months mean that they had moved on and were making something else, the latest and greatest was frequently bought without anyone but the buyer (and some buyers at the show were so fast off the mark at the opening they were just a blur – and still are), seeing it.
Up popped the Internet and email and suddenly I had a way of letting collectors see all the newest collectables, and makers show what they had made just a few days before the show.
Naturally this was a popular move. It is still the case that if you are exhibiting at the forthcoming Miniatura, if you email me a picture and a few words, I’d be happy to tell the world. This has fallen into abeyance somewhat over the last few years because of the lockdown and my ill health, but I am now up and running and ready to help.
Although the blog started for Miniatura exhibitors and visitors, readers of various magazines for which I had written, quickly found me and asked for writing on topics other than miniatures. I was often asked for ‘something that lasts as long as a cup of tea, ideally free.’ As this is also my idea of fun, I was delighted to oblige, hence such items as Knickerbocker Glory and The Parrot has Landed.
I was happily writing for magazines, making my own porcelain items and exhibiting at Miniatura, when the wheel came off a bit. My father died, so I became carer for my mother with suspected dementia, quickly confirmed. As my adopted mother was a very difficult person anyway and lived a good hour and a half away in a fast car, the caring took over my life, the magazine writing had to go, though I held grimly on to Miniatura, despite the best efforts of my mother, who was always extra difficult at show time. I realised that my worst times were after a dreadful day caring for my mother when there was no one around to let off steam with, and all professionals had safely left the surgery or office. Thinking that other carers might have the same problem, I began to blog the Dementia Diaries and got a response from all over the world. If caring for someone demented is the dish filling your plate, you most definitely are not alone. I initially assumed the Diaries would end with the demise of my mother, over five years later, but other friends and relatives became ill and so the topic continued. Although this is not the most cheerful topic for a blog, I felt, as the blog was started to help people, it was justified. When I became very ill when the stress of the caring job was over, I felt it was even more justified, especially if by writing, I can prevent someone else, lost in the trackless wastes of the disease, from getting sick too.
At various points other interests have popped up, there was an online shop for a while (and still may be if the S&H will kindly teach his mother how to operate the empty shop which he invented at the top of the page.) There’s been a bit of verse – I was a published child poet, regularly won competitions and considered it as a career until common sense and the strong desire to eat and live somewhere intervened.
And there’s quite a bit of me being silly, and gardening, and things to make (because I feel very strange if I have a day in which I do not make something, though potting on and cakes count too.)
Of course the most important feature of Jane Laverick .com, and yes this is my real name, is not Jane at all.
It would be pretty pointless writing if nobody read it. People from the UK, where I live, and all over the place have read and responded. Miniaturists, Miniatura visitors, carers, people who just like to read something free and funny for as long as it takes to drink a cup of tea and anyone who finds me by accident. I have never advertised or allowed adverts on the site. If you have found me by chance, congratulate yourself on your serendipity.
As always, if you have something to say just click on ‘leave a comment’ below and I’ll get back to you.
I enjoyed this fifteen years of writing for you, I am glad there are miniaturists, carers and people who still like reading, in the world. If you are new to this blog, clicking on any of the categories in the right hand column will take you back in time. There’s fifteen years worth of reading there, because this is the blog where you can time travel with a cup of tea without spilling a drop.