Sharing dates of Fairs

If you click on one of the months above it will show a list of fairs usually held that month.PLEASE, PLEASE let me know of any fair you know about and I'll add it to the list.
I apologise for not making any attempt to keep it current this is just an attempt to have a list of as many dolls house shows that I can find. Even if you see a show with an old date you can just google the name of the show to find out the date of the next one.

It would be great if you'd let me know of any I can add to the list.

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Miniatura, NEC, 2nd and 3rd April 2016

Andy Hopwood, the organiser of Miniatura, very kindly let me have a copy of the official press release and some photos to share with you.  


Over 3000 miniaturists gathered at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham for the Spring Miniatura on the first weekend of April to enjoy everything the dolls' house hobby has to offer.

Selecting which house style and period to go for is just the beginning and visitors were spoilt for choice for wallpapers, furnishings and finishing touches. At each show collectors add the next layer to the story, (or should that be storey) of their dolls' house. Each decision made adds an extra little bit of character and another personal touch which makes every house unique.

Whether they were are looking for a new house to start the next chapter or adding the finishing touch to the last, Miniatura offered everything (and maybe even more) imaginable.

The workshops which ran during both days of the show were enthusiastically supported, and everyone taking part went away happy with additional skills.

Internationally renowned craftsmen such as the St Legers, Stokesay Ware, Ray Storey, Julie Campbell, Glasscraft, David Booth, Nicola Mascall,  Country Treasures, Glorious Twelfth and The Flower Lady were amongst the many busy exhibitors who as ever brought some fantastic pieces which were swiftly snapped up by avid buyers.

Among the display, club and charity stands were Small Scale Fiddlers, the Miniature Needlework Society, Queen Elizabeth Dolls Houses, and Doug Somerfield.

As usual Pat Cutforth and her supporters on the Cancer Research UK stand worked their fingers to the bone for the whole of the weekend raising funds for this worthy cause. Visitors and exhibitors alike are now very aware of the work done by this group and Miniatura visitors know they will find something really special here at every event. [Total raised was £7605.00]

The new extra Sitting Room area with newspapers and jigsaw puzzles was appreciated by visitors waiting for companions who were squeezing every possible moment of buying time before heading home.

Our secret shopper prize this time is from Jan Southerton, The Flower Lady, and was won by Mrs Bond from Cheshire.

Miniatura has always taken pride in offering visitors quality in the widest possible price range and this show was no exception. There was something for everyone and the generous appreciation received from visitors during and after the show is a testament to the fact that this policy continues to work for the vast majority of the audience.

Some visitor feedback from this show:

“After 24 years of shows I still find plenty to admire and buy!”

“Really enjoyed it as always. I have been coming for a few years now and it's always fantastic for inspiration, nice to see regular and new traders. I started with a simple ... house and now have slightly more 12th and 48th scale buildings. It's an addictive hobby.”

“Really enjoyed the weekend bought some really special pieces, lovely, friendly people, worth coming all the way from South Africa !!”

“Had a fantastic weekend, bought far too much as always. Just a joy to be in a room surrounded by so much talent.”

The next Miniatura show is in Autumn on 1st & 2nd October 2016 . It will be the 67th Birmingham event and is already shaping up to have a stunning array of talented exhibitors even by our standards. As usual well over 80% of the show is handcrafted work which is why visitors from all over the world fly in to the NEC each time. This time we hope to have TYA Kitchen back from Japan - Mr & Mrs Kawai's work amazed us all last Autumn and we can't wait to see what their next creations will be. There will also be newcomers from Bulgaria and the Netherlands as well other established makers from around the world.

always well attended


Jacqueline Crosby

Jan Southerton

Kate Pinsent

Michael R Miniatures

Stokesay Ware

Top Toise Design

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Miniatura, 2nd & 3rd April 2016

Miniatura is held twice a year at the National Exhibition Centre , Birmingham - April being their Spring Show.  Make a date in your diary for the Autumn one to be held 1st and 2nd October.  This is a show not to be missed if you can get to it.

There is a general feeling that shows are getting smaller but with over 130 traders to go at; many of whom have more than one table and all of them showing hundreds and sometimes thousands of objects you will find it a challenge to cover the show in a day.  It is plenty to go at and well worth a weekend.

Being a couple of hours away we always leave early enough to get to the opening on Saturday and I trawl the arena for the whole day while my other half occupies himself - usually at any local NT place (mostly for the lunch!).  We then stay over night so we can repeat the process the next day.

I confess 'old age' kicked in and I only managed something over three hours each day this time, so I only just about covered it.  More energy and I would certainly have done double that.  I honestly only managed to get round once in that time.

Very few shows are 'day returns' for any of us but I think that if I build a visit to a show into a short break/holiday of some sort it helps validate the cost of going.  There is certainly enough to do for a few days in and around Birmingham - as a Brummie born and bred this is not just bias on my part.  The city is worth a visit whether your interest is in its new parts or seeing the Victorian underbelly.  The Art Gallery is a gem.  Gas Street basin and the back-to-backs are worth a trip.  History buffs (or looking for inspiration for your project) can 'fill their boots' visiting Ironbridge.   There is a ton of stuff when you start looking and of course only a skip and a jump to Stratford or the Cotswolds.  I commend it to you heartily.

The show is a good mix of the basics for beginners or people who are really working on collecting for a dolls house 'proper'.  For anyone seeking something more unusual and even quirky that is there too.  Best of all, for me, beside the joy  of 'shopping' at a zillion dolls house shops, there is also the element of artists showing work which will always be beyond my budgets but it is glorious to be able to see it.  So at a show you get shops and mini art galleries and museums all rolled into one.

Beith Miniatures is the first to come to mind.  I spent an age drooling over the most wonderful square piano.  It is fully strung, keys move, has a sound board and the 'volume control' opens and closes.  The construction and finish is incredible.  Please take a minute to look at the link here at some of the very best work you will ever see.  I am also a huge fan of Mike Sparrow's silver.  Traders like Stokesay Ware and Ray Storey are there for the day you treat yourself and there are many, many others.

Here are photos of a fraction of the work of just three of the vendors.... a fraction of a fraction of the show:

Mini Mcgregor

The parking is free, although we were given a 'get out of the car park free' ticket at the show so I was confused by that.  You can get a shuttle bus from the car park to the show but if you park in the car park nearest the show building it is not too much of a step there - as long as its not raining!

There is a cafe in the show itself and some eateries within the atrium so you are OK for a snack or lunch.

This year the organisers added a 'sitting room'.  This was an area with tables, chairs, newspapers and even 3D puzzles to have a go at.  Probably not used much by the actual hobbyists as they just keep going and going not wishing to miss anything, but it was decidedly used by quite a few chaps who, like mine, may well have been the chauffeurs rather than the enthusiasts.  Mine didn't use it as it was within the showroom and so you would have to pay an entrance fee.  My other half would rather stick pins in his eyes than enter a mini domain.  Maybe this area could go on the other side of the checking-tickets-desk for all the weary souls who drop off and pick up mini nuts?  

On Sunday there were many other events in the halls so there might well be something to occupy anyone who has come with you who is not interested in the game.  Mine toddled off to the Gadget Show but, on discovering it cost £25 to get in he toddled back again.  Little does he know what money leaked through my fingers.

There are a couple of workshops.  On this occasion neither were useful to me.  I wish we had this as well organised as the shows in the USA do.  Some of those run workshops for as long as a week, wrapped around the show!!  At the larger shows there are these and a ton more on offer during the show days themselves.  Tom Bishop's Chicago show, for example, is offering 69 workshops so far for his November show.  Almost all are booked out well in advance of the show so I have only managed to get to one, but it was absolutely brilliant. I learned a load of things, came away with a finished project and lots of extras.

You might think all this is a bit much for one UK venue but when you hear that someone travelled from South Africa, mostly to attend this show and I know someone in the States who is beginning to organise a trip for a group to visit the Autumn one, there must be a market for it?

So - Miniatura is held at an easy to find venue, motorway, airport and railway connections to it.  There is plenty of good free parking.  In the hall itself there is somewhere to rest, somewhere to eat and a large well lit, carpeted, spacious and neatly arranged arena, what's not to like.

There are thirty photos over on my Dalton House blog (click on the name) showing what I bought - assuming you are a glutton for punishment.

I hope to be adding a postscript to this post soon as I am looking forward to getting a press pack from Miniatura.