Adventures of the travelling miniaturist…

January 13th, 2015


I have been a bit lax about keeping the Blog up to date, mostly due to commitments for shows.

On returning from The Good Sam show in October, it was off to Holland, within a week I was off to Philadelphia (Exhausting), back from Philly, within a week I was off to Madrid, Returned from Madrid, within three days off to Tokyo! I can assure you there is little any one can tell me about jet lag! In the middle of all this I went to Poole in Dorset to visit a charming lady who was ‘Downsizing’ her collection where I bought a number of pieces by retired makers such as Judith Dunger and Denise Woods (See Pics). Then of course ‘Christmas’. Just a small inconvenience to fill all one’s space.

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D Woods-min

My New Year’s resolution is to travel just a bit less and keep up to date with my web site, blog and newsletter. The road to hell is paved with good intentions as my husband keeps reminding me.  However, to prove the point I have spent the whole week following Christmas, photographing just about everything in my studio that has not gone on the web site. So far I have taken 1300 pictures with more still to do! So there should be at least 500 new items posted in the next few weeks. The trouble with miniatures are that they are so small! The trouble with travelling is it is so exhausting. I always buy more stock than I think when I am away and over the last three months have not even unpacked some of the boxes and bags.


My trip to Holland this year was by car, my Husband John drove me as we usually do as you can pack so much more when you drive than when you fly. Chris Malcolmson was at the show and my husband and Chris always spend some time chatting, you know the kind of thing “Hi Chris, Antwerp Ring road a night mare as usual” “Hi John, can’t wait to go home to Spain, just too cold in Northern Europe” Etc. Any way to cut a long story short, my Husband bought me my Birthday Present from Chris! Wow, it is a most beautiful inlaid commode cupboard for my own collection.  I was truly thrilled.


Philly was also a bit indulgent. I bought again for my own collection a Vignette set with birds and dragon flies in a framed setting from Beth Freeman-Kane from South Africa. Truly beautiful! I already have two and will ensure that at the first opportunity I will add to that collection.

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I was at Philly for an extra day so I attended a pottery workshop by Craig Roberts aka ‘Hairy Potter’. It was a first for me and great fun. I don’t think Josiah Wedgewood has much to fear from me for a moment. However, it has left me with an appreciation of just how skilled some of our pottery artists really are! Craig of course was very kind about my finished work.

This was my potter’s wheel, tiny isn’t it.  We used poker chips to make the pots on as they are easily removed form the wheel without touching them.  A couple exploded on the wheel but I think they look quite artistic!

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Madrid was a little smaller than usual, it’s that old Eurozone thing again, it is obvious the economy is under a great deal of strain.  However, I thoroughly enjoyed it, particularly the Tapas and Rioja! Madrid is a great City and just wonderful to walk around in the evening as everything is open so late! The Spanish are still eating at midnight!

I collected a couple of harpsichords and a clavichord from Helen Archoleka when I was there.

Italian Harpsichord 4-1-min Italian Harpsichord 1-1-minClavichord 2-1-min

Tokyo was a different kettle of fish! It is a twelve to thirteen hour flight to start with, which in itself is very stressful. There is a nine hour time difference between Japan and the UK so getting your head around the difference between breakfast and supper is not easy. Culturally it is also chalk and cheese. Unlike Europe, very few people speak English and the ritual politeness means it is very easy to commit a social indiscretion without knowing it! I am sure I offended dozens of people with my Western ignorance of the subtlties of the Japanese culture!  This was what I was faced with when using the toilet!


Tokyo is a Mega City in every sense of the Word, with a population of 13.35 million people, all of whom appear to go to work at the same time every morning! It is like an unstoppable tide of suited salary men at Rush hour, quite a thing to behold. In contrast to the ant like human activity is the traditional Japanese architecture and incredibly serene open urban spaces formed by the Japanese gardens, incredibly detailed and very tranquil, the perfect antidote to the intensity of Tokyo’s massive population.


The show was relatively small with around 50 Stands. Of course the quality of the artistry was phenomenal! I was lucky enough to be near to my friend Miuyki Kobashi and she translated for me with consummate ease, I am very envious of her wonderful ability to switch from English to Japanese and back at the drop of a hat! I bought some lovely things, including 1/144th scale Kimono shop and Saki bottles. The local collectors where intrigued by my display of Western miniatures, the emphasis in Tokyo is very much on Japanese traditional pieces but I am happy to say that I was very well received by all at the show.


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I was lucky that my friend Geoff Wonacott and his charming partner from the States were also at the show.They kindly took me sightseeing around some of the wonderful tourist areas within the city, Geoff is an old hand at this show and was great company, so a big thank you to both of them.

My Japanese friends Miuyki and Kazuko also took me on a guided tour after the show.

I had two days to fill, you don’t want to travel all the way to Tokyo without at least getting some kind of picture of such an incredible place! We eat Sushi at a real Japanese Sushi bar and I spent hours buying Souvenirs like traditional rice bowls, chop sticks and origami creatures, suitcase space was at a premium so restraint was everything in choosing souvenirs.

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So, after the last three months of insane travelling and Oriental Mystery I am off to Las Vegas for the CIMTA Trade show in January. 2 days after my return I will be at the London Tower Bridge show.

 City of London Dollshouse Festival

Then it’s off to visit the Milan show with an American friend who is flying in for the London show too.

So 2015 is starting to look busy already.  I look forward to seeing you at one of these show soon.

Don’t forget to keep checking my website for the endless list of new items I am adding daily.

Happy collecting.


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