Whatever has gone wrong with this computer has made it impossible for pictures to be uploaded from my camera to the blog. As my chief tech, aka my youngest daughter, is unavailable for at least two more days, I will not be able to post pictures for that time period, and perhaps longer if the problem is more than just the ability to upload pictures, or until the new computer arrives.
One of the things I've been trying to figure out is how long I've been actively involved in miniatures; I know that as long ago as 1993, we were travelling to Moncton, NB and Bangor, ME to attend miniature shows there, because I had one of my daughters' friends from Junior High (since replaced by Middle School) with us on one of the earlier visits. The first book I purchased, I got in Bangor, ME in 1996. So it's been 16 to 19 years of serious miniature activity, at least. What I can't remember is what triggered the visits to shows; somewhere I must have been exposed to one-twelfth scale seriously enough that any show within reasonable driving distance had to be visited. The furthest of those, long ago, would have been the Boothbay Harbor, ME show, which required a day of driving and an overnight stay. Once, when my father was still with us, I got to the MET Show in Toronto, staying with him in Oakville nearby.
Most of those shows are now gone. The only ones I am aware of in the Canadian Maritimes, where I live, are the Moncton Miniature and Doll Show each May, and more recently, the CFB Shearwater Hobby Show in Halifax/Dartmouth each April. The nearest miniature club to me is the one in Moncton, a considerable drive especially in winter weather. The next nearest are in Nova Scotia. That means I mostly mini alone now, as the two friends I've gotten together with irregularly in the past are dealing with health issues and not travelling much; we live about a 90 mins. drive from each other.
Books and magazines are one way I've learned; without them, I doubt I'd have been able to learn about scale and construction methods. I have collected most of the old Nutshell News, the small size, and find them to be invaluable. I learned the most from Joanne Swanson in the beginning; when I became a bit more comfortable with woodworking, I began working from Chris Dukeman's articles. Since then, I've been given or purchased every good miniature book out there, including a number that have been out of print for decades.
Because my main interest is the Tudor period now, I began getting Dollhouse and Miniature Scene from the UK five or more years ago, after a mini friend passed on some of her old ones to me. I own most of their quarterly Project magazines, and have made quite a few items from those instructions. I also at times am able to get hold of the two Dutch magazines, as well as the German one.
In March of this year, I had the trip of a lifetime, travelling with a Nova Scotia friend to the UK, where we had a miniatures-based holiday, including a trip to Birmingham Miniatura. We stayed with a British friend nearby, and the three of us subsequently travelled on to The Netherlands, to see the XXSmall Exhibition in The Hague, and visit the huge Dolls House Nederland show in Arnhem. The three of us met originally at Camp MiniHaHa in Nova Scotia. We met up there again this September, and will be back September of 2013.
It has been said that the dollhouse hobby is disappearing; however, I beg to differ! The Netherlands publishes two mini magazines, Germany one, the UK three or more, and there is a good one in Spain as well. Shops have been opened in Italy and Turkey; go to a big show, and there will be vendors and artisans from around the world. Japan produces an excellent series of (pricey) magazines and books, and if you visit eBay on a regular basis, you know that lots of minis are being made in the Far East these days.
We are probably dealing with switching over from brick-and-mortar stores to electronic stores, and once the economic slump settles, I hope some of the old shows will return.
On my must visit list are the Chicago shows, the Philadelphia Show, and the IGMA show in New York. I am lucky, in that I can drive to Castine, ME and back easily in one day, so I've been able to visit their shows of teachers' and students' world-class miniatures.
I need to finish knitting those socks, so I can get back to working on my minis....