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Thursday, 28 May 2015

Kensington Dollhouse Festival and the Furniture Makers

The best of the best were on show at the Festival, and I just mostly stood and looked at them and admired them. One of the dealers, I swear, was selling miniature tables for over 3,000 British pounds!
Ann High, Beith Miniatures, Brian Underhay, Chris Malcolmson, Colin Bird, Cristina Noriega, David Hurley, David Iriarte, Geoff Wonnacott, Janet Reyburn, John and Sue Hodgson, Kim Selwood, Michael Mortimer, Pear Tree Miniatures, Rohit's Miniatures, all the famous (and thus also pricey) names. I did buy one piece of furniture:



This is a scale copy of a full-size prie-dieu, or prayer bench. It was made by Thomas Burchmore, a new name for me. He is going to have to re-design further versions of this, as he find some of the small detailing is very difficult to do in this scale. I am glad to have one of the fancy ones!  And then, two stalls over from Mr. Burchmore, was HiJinx, who make embroidery kits.


This is a lovely kneeler cushion, in two shades of red and a gold. It is 22 count, and I will have to do it on smaller count fabric to fit the kneeler on the prie-dieu. I've made up a number of Carolyn's patterns from UK dollhouse magazines, and I really do like her colour schemes. This red on red with gold will look very nice in the bedroom of the Tudor house; now I have to find or make a Book of Hours to go on the lectern portion. Hopefully I can find a Brothers Limbourg illustration to go into it, I just love their wonderful medieval scenes.

In case you're wondering what I'm referring to, try looking up Les Tres Riches Heures de Jean, Duc de Berry; this is a book of prayers the Limbourgs illustrated, and you will likely recognize the type of illustration. They used to portray rich gentry, riding usually by a castle, with ordinary people doing field work of some sort near them, and these are often used by scholars for tool identification and the like. The colours are just incredible, including that wonderful turquoise blue made from ground-up lapis lazuli.

Another chapter soon; the weekend promises to be busy, but I hope to make time for more photos and descriptions.


Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Kensington Dollhouse Festival and the Dollmakers


I brought home a baby from the Kensington Show. She is wearing a white crocheted outfit, trimmed in pale pink silk ribbon, with teeny, tiny pink rosebud embroidery near the hem of the top. She came complete with a soother on a string. The baby is less than 3" or 7.5 cm long!

There were some very famous doll makers at the show; James Carrington, Gale Elena Bantock, Marie France Beglan, Jane Davies, Bags of Character, The Giddy Kipper, Crumpled and Rumpled, Georgina Ritson, Julie Campbell, Kate Pinsent, Le Coffre d'Emilie, Daniela Kiefhaber, Veronica Ann Pickup, and the lady who made this baby; Victoria Heredia Guerbos. She spoke next to no English, and Jose Gomez the luggage maker, who had the table next to her, did some translating;  the rest we did with sign language.

All of her babies are OOAK, hand-sculpted in polymer clay. I just loved this one's sprawled posture, and her arms and legs move! Before she packed up this little treasure, she kissed it and patted it, then put her in tissue, bubble wrap, more paper, and an outer covering of what seemed to be hand-printed card, all securely taped. Then she added a card band with her information on it, also taped on. The baby will eventually go into the English pram that I have to "doll up", for the nursery shop vignette.

James Carrington is a very pleasant, chatty man; we must have talked for about 20 mins. He doesn't teach in the US any more, but still comes to the major shows here - he'd flown the Atlantic 3 times in the last month or two. For teaching, he goes to a new school in Denmark, in a small town called Tune. James appreciates the smaller class sizes, and the fact that he gets enough time over lunch to take a nap; he had a serious heart attack a couple or so years ago.

And it is true, Marie-France Beglan has a lottery to buy her dolls; I didn't have much opportunity to look before that was held, but there were some display figures left afterwards that I was able to get a much closer look at. Like James Carrington, the tailoring and detailing of the clothing is definitely one of the things that makes their dolls so appealing; they are both masters of their craft. The fabric doesn't appear to be lined, the edges are mostly fray-checked, but invisibly so. And of course, the fabrics are all exquisite. Marie-France Beglan also knits for her little figures, and makes tiny straw and fabric hats for them as well.

I'll post another entry tomorrow, on some other things I picked up. As I went with a shopping list, there are some "things to make things with", along with some very neat finished items. What do you think of this little baby?



Sunday, 10 May 2015

Off to The Kensington Dolls House Festival

....which means no posts for the next while. However, when I get back I will show what I picked up and interesting photos with a mini slant to them.

There are at least 3 dollmakers at the show whose work I absolutely adore, so I hope to see some of their pieces up close and personal. My understanding is that certain buyers with lots of money make a beeline for those vendors' tables, and they are often sold out in no time at all....

We'll see!

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Miniature Knotted Fringe Attempt

As our mini group had a display at the recent Moncton Miniature and Doll Show, I had mounted some of my personal embroidered pieces for viewing; the items were pulled from the Tudor Market Hall and the Tudor House, with the addition of a wonderful "faded" antique carpet that I just love.
Years ago, I had made a hinged display board out of foamcore, Bristol board and fabric, with a bit of braid trim for appeal. It occurred to me that the two halves could also be used separately, so that is what I did on Saturday.



It looked pretty good, so I am leaving these pieces on the board as we have a display for the model car club show to prepare, at the end of the month. They saw us at the model railroad show, and pretty much begged us to come to their show too - I guess we are supposed to occupy the wives and daughters of the model car club visitors....

Just before the show, I decided to attempt a knotted fringe for a medieval table carpet; I worked it on a macramé board, using a 1/4" graph paper underlay for spacing. Let me tell you, while the first set of knots weren't a problem, the two later ones were a different story; the spacing was so small that the pins interfered with the knotting process. I may never do this again for a miniature, but I am quite pleased with the effect.



The note on top refers to the millefleurs wall hanging, by the way; this piece was done on 24 ct canvas and doesn't have near that many stitches. Table carpets were a sign that you had cash to burn; they had to come from incredibly far away, and had to pass through many hands before they got to you. So the elaborate fringing is part of the snob appeal of a table carpet, with the carpet portion lying on the table and the knotted fringe hanging elegantly over the edges. While the first set of knots was made 1/8" from the edge, the other two were 1/4" apart. It looks pretty, but I really had to twist my fingers to do this.

My bum shoulder won't let me do any embroidery or knitting, and I am getting a little nuts from not having something to do, in my hands. Guess I'd better cultivate some more patience....