How to be the most important person in a hall.

Three days to go to the 99th Miniatura.  It is quite something for a dolls’ house show to be run by the same family for 99 shows.  What usually happens with a show as successful as Miniatura is that it gets sold on because it has been good at making money.  You will notice that some dolls’ house shows are very expensive to get to and can be quite costly to get into as well.  In some places the parking would cost you dearly for a whole day and no one can ‘do’ a whole dolls’ house show in an hour.  There are over 100 stands at the 99th Miniatura, which, if you expanded all the exhibits to full size would be like visiting all the shops in a big town centre in an hour, absolutely impossible.

Additionally there are plenty of shows where all you have to do if you wish to be an exhibitor is to pay the table fee and show up.  In the early days of the current flowering of the hobby, I visited a few of those, they were full of tables with identical stock, all mass-produced factory imports.  There is nothing wrong with factory made miniatures but by the fifth table of exactly the same thing you begin to hate them and the way they are wasting your time.

Miniatura was founded by miniaturists for miniaturists, in fact, that’s the motto of the show, which it has stuck to unfailingly.  If you want to be an exhibitor you have to submit your goods and be assessed and be good enough; if you’re not you won’t get in.  This also extends to a very few, different stands of mass-produced miniatures at very reasonable prices because the show has always welcomed the next generation of miniaturists at pocket money prices.  (And the last generation; in the early days, as a visitor, I went without dinners for weeks to save up enough to spend at the show. And quickly learned to avoid the shows where all I could afford was a look.  The whole point of a show is going home with a  glorious handful of little bags.)

So every table at the show has been hand-picked to be the best of its kind, which means that you never waste a second of your time, every table has something different and there has always been a preponderance of original artisans working in miniature making their own collectables from their own designs and inspirations.  Yet there are many items that anyone can afford.  I haven’t yet met the miniaturist who is rich enough to buy something from every table, I certainly couldn’t even though I might want to.  I rarely escape from my table these days because I’m doing the show on my own, but in the days when I abandoned my table to a helper, in order to see the show and report it for magazines, I don’t think I ever  found a table which was not interesting.  There is never anything boring or samey because it’s Miniatura, every exhibit has been chosen to be by miniaturists for miniaturists.  If you are a visitor this weekend has been designed and put together for you.  In fact, I would say, if you are a visitor, you are the most important person  in the hall, because, without you, no show.

Yet it is very reasonable to get in to the show and compared with family outings at the weekend to fairs, castles, stately houses and the like, a positive bargain.  And the parking is my favourite price – it’s free!  And it’s right next to the hall, no steps, no trek.

So why, if it is so fabulous (and it is) hasn’t the family who run it sold it to the highest bidder?  Because it hasn’t been made to make loads-a-money.  Some years ago when the hobby was burgeoning, would-be exhibitors used to beg the organisers to let them have a table at any price.  They were turned down; the show is not about making huge amounts of money by cramming in  dozens of dealers. The cost of a table is reasonable compared to other International fairs because the show is not about the organisers skinning the exhibitors so their costs are covered and they’re making money before the show opens (and some shows are, or have been, I can tell you) it’s about miniaturists.  In fact it’s by miniaturists for miniaturists.

It’s for you, it’s for me, it’s for us and always has been.  Something wonderful, something we could have a go at, something touching, something funny, something you could learn to do, something fantastic, for the 99th time.  I exhibit there and nowhere else – this is the show that has absolutely got it.  What we want and need. It is very classy, top class tiny stuff.

Among other things, I am taking this:


It’s just a little box of Versailles, (prior to the unpleasantness.)

Another picture tomorrow, if I get a minute.


All you need to know about the show can be found at

It’s a very nice show and a lovely day or weekend out – for miniaturists, you know. (By miniaturists.  It’s for us. For the 99th incredible time.)

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