However, these wonderful shows are more than just a collection of 'shops', they offer a miniaturist the chance to see masses of things that they hadn't even thought of. They are inspirational in many senses of the word.
A lot of us can not afford to buy from the top level crafts people who are producing the most exquisite museum quality furniture and silver and glass (and other) items; but this is our chance to see them and to dream and to give ourselves a standard to work towards, if that is what interests us.
For straight-forward collectors of miniatures it must be a little slice of heaven.
We often see ideas that can spark a notion for our project and even see things that can set us off on the next build!!
It is also something of a social event. Most vendors are hugely generous with their time and will happily help and answer any questions you have. At this show I spent a long time speaking to the man who is Escutcheon about his wonderful finishes that he achieves on his furniture. He carefully explained how he did it. Graham of Barbara's Mouldings was also generous with his time and we discussed what I might want for my next build.
I spend a lot of time just saying hello to vendors I now sort of know such as Jane Harrop, Mini McGregor, Amanda Speakman, Jennifer and Andy (Jennifers of Walsall) and others - all of whom are happy to say a quick hello and have a catch-up whether you are buying or not. It is also fun to come across visitors you might know. I always see the indomitable Molly Cromwell (a show organiser from the USA) and like to say "Hi". I am shy about meeting new folk but am happy to keep in touch with those I know.
For anyone who is gregarious it is a great opportunity to meet new people. I spent a jolly hour at lunch (compelled to table share) swapping interesting real life and mini stories with a delightful Kathy from Arizona.
You will have noticed this isn't really a review of the show as I have done that so many times. If you are curious as to how to get there and its amenities just click on last year's review over in the left column.
I didn't take photos of the show and hope to scrounge them soon from the super-helpful and charming Mr Andy Hopwood (one of the show organisers) Meanwhile you might want to see photos of what I bought. They do give you some idea of the breadth of stuff available to you. You can do that over at my Dalton House blog.
Not sure if this is a bit of a no-no but if you would like to see some lovely photos of some vendors work Alison Davies has done an excellent blog piece. I have half a dozen of her pieces and can't praise them enough - so pop over to her site and take a look at what she does if you don't know her.