Good Sam Show 2019

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I haven’t posted lately because I’ve been traveling the world (Portugal, London, Rome). I came home long enough to do laundry then flew off to the Good Sam Showcase of Miniatures in San Jose.

First–this is the cool thing I made in a workshop! Taught by Michael Yurkovic (Atomic Miniatures). The chaise is made of aluminum tubing, pinned together just like the original full size one. The prototype is in the background. We drilled many holes and inserted many tiny pins. (This was an all-day workshop.)

A couple of neat minis on exhibit:

This is called “Thadeus Smith-Jones — Bibliophile”

This one has an illusion of being far deeper than it is. The box was about maybe eighteen inches deep, but mirrors and lighting make it look like it’s going much further back. It’s called “A visit to the hall of mirrors.”

A quick trip (Fri workshops; Sat-Sun show), but fun. I’ve been trying to get to this show for years–finally made it!

 

Chicago Show–Workshops

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I had hoped to finish my workshop projects before I talked about them, but um … I will finish them but I’m waiting for the cool magnifiers I ordered to arrive. That’s a good excuse.

I took four workshops, and learned much!

Workshop 1) Mold making with Michael Yurkovic

This was the basic process of making a silicon mold and then casting. We brought a piece we wanted to replicate.

I took a ceiling medallion, because I’m always looking for them, like this one, and it’s not always in stock (I purchased at Hobby Builders Supply some time ago).

This is how the bottom half of the mold turned out. He taught us how to press the piece into clay, build a moat, and pour the rubber. I did make a top half, but for this piece, since it’s flat on one side, I really only need the one half.

We then poured resin into the mold, let it harden (didn’t take long), and voila!

The original and the cast piece side by side. I lost a tiny bit of detail, but not much.

The biggest worry in this process is air bubbles. You have to go slowly and carefully or bubbles happen.

The materials come from a place called Reynolds Advanced Materials, and I have seen the casting silicon and resins in my local art supply store (Arizona Art Supply, which is an awesome place). Reynolds also has showrooms in larger cities and they do mail / website orders.

I hope to use this method when I do stone work for the Westville–I have some stones I can lay in a wall shape, then make a mold from them, which I’ll use with Creative paperclay to made a stone wall facade. (These are good intentions).

Workshop 2: Artist’s atelier by Eric Goddard

This was a two-day class where we finished and decorated this roombox. (He nailed together the very basic box before the class). We did the window, the faux stone wall, the closet, and started work on the accessories.

Lots of work on the little details–we laid the bricks and cut mullions for the window, which was not as straightforward as it seems. The mullions are at a slant and an odd angle, as you can see, so math had to be done.

An LED strip outside the window gives it a soft glow, which goes well with the incandescent bulb in the closet.

I am not finished (still need to age / wash the brick wall, age and paint spatter the floor, and get my accessories together).

In the middle of this class, I came down with a cold (not because of the class but because of the cold weather, which I am not used to), and had to skip a few hours of the morning session, but I was still able to get this far. I’ll finish it now that I’m home with my own tools, lighting, etc.

Workshop 3: Box with Geoff Wonnacott

A workshop with Geoff has been on my bucket list a while. Finally got to one of his classes, which was the evening of the day I caught the cold. So I was a bit miserable, but I soldiered on.

A lovely little box with veneer. It was a short class, so he had cut the pieces, which we glued together to shape the box and lid. We added all the filigree, and I will hinge mine when I get the magnifiers I mentioned above. Need it for this!

Putting together the box is a bit trickier than you’d think, because the corners have to be just right, or it doesn’t sit square. Much trial and error. The filigree is tiny tiny.

What it will look like in the end. Geoff wrote very detailed instructions, and I’m fairly confident I can finish on my own (knock on wood).

Workshop 4: Aging wood techniques with Eamon O’Rourke.

We did not build anything here, but learned aging tricks and about French polishing (shellac diluted with denatured alcohol and poured onto cotton balls inside T-shirt cotton. This makes a pad which you then brush over the wood).

The top piece was aged via distressing the wood (spoons were involved), and staining and wiping and staining again.

Bottom piece was French polished when it was bare. Then stained a bit, wiped, French polished again. Looks beautiful!

These were ordinary pieces of I think oak, and they turned out amazingly well. Good techniques to learn. Again something that seems like it should be easy, but it was a lot of trail and error and plain work.

Eamon is such a fun guy, I recommend any class he teaches.

Those were the four workshops I went to (determined even though I felt crappy for a couple of them). I will be taking more! (As soon as I can find the time …)

Back to the Westville now. I’ve advanced through the staircase and bay windows and outer walls, and the next posts will catch up on all that.

Cool Stuff from the Chicago Show

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And now for the gorgeous things!

From Aristocratic Attic

June Clinkscales. Her work is breathtaking.

Back of the chair from June C.

Laura Crain. Fits well in the shabby chic half of my Beacon Hill.

Ulus Miniatures www.ulusminiaturas.com Just amazing things! So detailed and perfect.

A tea caddy from Geoff Wonnacott. He’s talented, and and a nice guy too.

Scroll Chest from Eamon O’Rourke.

From the O’Rourkes again–a Medieval potty. The moss is the TP.

I had just told my husband I was going to cool it on buying kits, but he waves at this table and says, “Have you seen this?” So I purchased this kit for the wine box vignette and the little house below. It’s all his fault. (Jill Castoral)

Gorgeous half-inch scale vignette by Japanese artist, Fumiko.

I put this cat by Sue Veeder into my Halloween room. Doing what cats do!

Fan girl moment! Me and the incomparable Ferd Sobol. I bought his book and also the caned chair in my hand. The Sobols and their daughter are so nice.

Quarter inch scale sofa and chair by Debbie Young.

There wasn’t much quarter-inch scale there, but what I saw I glommed. These are by Debbie Young (Young at Heart) and True2Scale minis.

Lovely quarter-inch furniture from a British artisan–Seaside Miniatures.

I’ve loved Wendy Smale’s things since I started buying her pillows years ago. She does a lot of minerals, shells, fossils, and scientific collections now.

More kits from a German vendor–these looked fun.

The plaques are from Teapots and More Minis; the suitcase pile, chocolates, tray, and macaroons are by Betinha Murta, and the espresso machine from Mini Fanaberia, a Polish artisan who makes appliances that are so detailed (refrigerator lights come on and everything). www.minifanaberia.com

Cute little girl from Pat Melvin.

By Fern Vasi. I actually bought this one in March at the Small World show, but she was also at the Chicago show. She calls it “Parrot Head.”

I also found a lot of fabric and trim from Miniature Luxuries and accessories from Cottage of Miniatures who had a huge spread of hundreds of tiny things (like garden hoses and tools, boxed and jarred foods, desk accessories, bathroom accessories, and much more).

This is only a sampling of what was there. Every time I went into the ballrooms (3 of them), I’d find something new. The show runs Friday through Sunday (closes Sunday at 4), and still you wouldn’t see everything.

As I said in my last post, totally worth it to buy the Friday preview ticket. Go through the show catalog beforehand to find the artisans that are a must-see for you, and visit them first. Then take a step back and browse. Take breaks in the main hall or lobby to breathe and keep calm.

Next post–Workshops.

Chicago International Miniatures Show

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I got back from the Chicago show a week ago now, and I’ve only just now organized my thoughts. I want to give you my impression and some tips for going.

I came back creatively charged, tired, and inspired! I will share some of the beautiful things I purchased and saw, and talk about the workshops in other posts.

  1. The show is totally worth going to at least once. It seems to always be the last week in April at the Chicago Marriott O’Hare. Even if you purchase nothing, just seeing what everyone is doing is inspiring.

2. It’s worth it to take at least one workshop. There are workshops for all levels (most can be done by beginners), and cover a range of things from woodworking, to doll making, to lighting, to flower making, to creating scenes, and other fun stuff.

3. Buy the Friday preview ticket to the sales room. You get in before everything is open to the public on Saturday. Stuff goes fast, so if you have your eye on a piece by a particular artisan, chances are it will be gone if you wait until Saturday.

Case in point: When I went in Friday morning at 10 am (at the end of a long line), I went straight to June Clinkscales’ table, because I always want to get at least one thing from her. Half her things already had already been sold! The show had only been open about 5 minutes! So if you want a specific thing or something by a specific artisan, buy the Friday ticket.

4. The hotel is pricy. The room block price isn’t so bad, and you get a decent, comfortable room, if small. But everything else, from a bottle of water to the breakfast buffet ($22.50 a person), is expensive. However, there are plenty of hotels in the area, very close by, and the Marriott has a shuttle that goes between hotels. (Also it’s a quick and cheap Uber ride). The Hyatt, the Renaissance, and the Wyndam are near, and I heard some of them have free breakfast.

5. There is a grocery store on the corner in walking distance–large and well-stocked. I didn’t think much of their lunch food (soup was watery and bland, sandwich was terrible), but it is quick and cheap, plus a good source of food / drink for your room.

6. Fortunately there are many good restaurants in the area, though you need a car, taxi, or Uber. We found a great Italian restaurant called Nonna Sylvia that we returned to another night–excellent food, friendly staff. But make a reservation! Many Chicagoans like it too!

7. If you fly, bring another bag for your purchases and carry it on the plane, or ship it home via UPS or Fedex. Between my husband and I both attending workshops, and me going nuts in the showroom, we went to a UPS store and shipped three boxes home! I have to say everything arrived intact–we had tracking numbers and insurance, but still it was a little nerve wracking.

8. Many international artisans attend–a great opportunity to see and purchase things that otherwise you’d never know about or afford the shipping from their country.

9. Bring cash! Many of the international artisans (and some of the US-based ones) will not take credit cards (though a few take checks). The ATM machine in the hotel emptied out fast–so stock up on cash before you come, or go out to a bank the day before to make sure you have enough.

10. The hotel does serve a fairly inexpensive lunch with a room to eat it in on the show days.

11. If you want to do tourist things in Chicago (e.g., visit the Art Institute, where the Thorne rooms and other great art live), plan a full day for that. It’s an hour drive (or an hour by train), one way, to downtown Chicago. We wanted to go on Saturday, but a) we had to ship things back and organize ourselves to leave Sunday, and b) it snowed!!

12. The Blue Line train (a block from the hotel), does go straight to downtown Chicago near the Art Institute. You never have to change. Once downtown, it’s about a four-block walk to the museum.

13. Weather in Chicago in late April is unpredictable. We had a couple nice sunny days of about 70 degrees, then the temperature dropped to 32, and it snowed. Because I’m from the Southwest, where it was already in the 90s, it was a shock. I was wise enough to bring long-sleeved shirts and a big sweater, but I wasn’t truly prepared for the cool weather.

14. Attend the IGMA presentation on Saturday night. Not only is it interesting (and might make you join IGMA if you haven’t already), but they have a free bar and snacks. 🙂

I think that’s it! I had a great week (took four workshops), caught a cold (dang it), shopped, and just absorbed the beautiful things people had made. It was very inspiring and energizing. Very glad I went this year and hope to go again.

 

Inside the showroom

Outside! April 27.

Mini Show 2019

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As usual I went to the Small World Miniature Club show and sale this year, and as usual, found some cool exhibits to photograph (and bought too much, also as usual).

I thought this room in a microscope was a great idea!

I love the unusual room box.

Below: Nice Microscale house.

I love this Victorian house. I think it’s 1/4″ scale.

Another lovely smaller scale house.

Nice vignette.

House on stilts.

Haunted house: Note the skeletal hand in the window.

I have a thing for grungy bathrooms, unless it’s one I’m using.

Front and back of a cart–so pretty!

Love this scene of little boys building a plane out of crates. “Girls Keep Out!”

This is “Fox and a Hen House” by Connie Sauve. She is amazing!

  

And there’s the fox …

Another house by Connie.

I love looking at everyone’s minis. We all come up with different things–the creativity inspires me.

I bought a few fun things that I’ll post when I get everything sorted out.

Chicago Show–Stuff

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Showing a selection of beautiful things I found at the Chicago show.

An overview of the goodies.

Wendy Swale’s pillows and specimen (shells) tray. I’ve been purchasing Wendy’s pillows for years (have them all over my dollhouses), and it was exciting to meet her. She is the sweetest lady! I couldn’t resist these pillows and also her tiny paperweights and minerals (below).

Mirror in background is by June Clinkscales.

This “fossil” I got from Wendy is paint! From the car factories in Detroit when the cars were spray painted. The overspray built up on the machines, layers and layers, and now these pieces are collected. Apparently yellow is highly sought after.

Another artisan I was excited to meet was Troy Schmidt of Red Dragon Pottery. I’ve been admiring his work a long time. I purchased a Japanese tea bowl, a pot with wooden handle, and an ewer with a dragon spout. Lovely.

This beautiful Celtic knot by Diane Almeyda can be worn as a pendant or hung in a dollhouse window. Best when the light is behind it. I chose this particular one because it goes with my “Shifters Unbound” series of books (the Shifters wear collars with the Celtic knot.)

I love this tutu! From Julie Stewart at Aristocratic Attic.

Laura Crain had a ton of things at her table I could have glommed. I restrained myself and bought this pretty chair and pot of hydrangeas. I am thinking of putting the chair in the bathroom of the shabby chic side of the Beacon Hill.

The standing mirror is by Pete Acquisto. Not only is he very talented, he’s also the nicest guy. Just a regular person (sure), who happens to make amazingly exquisite miniature silver pieces. I love his work.

Couldn’t resist the beautiful captain’s desk, made by Bruce Phillips (BHP Fine Miniatures). It has several compartments and secret drawers.

You can just see the pulls of the hidden drawers beneath the tray. They really are there.

Two Brooke Tucker-style pieces. I liked the bling on the lamp. And bowls for the cat who has everything.

June Clinkscales is another artisan who is lovely in person. I took a picture of this bed I fell in love with then said, what the heck, and purchased.

The color and style will fit perfectly into the top floor room of the left side of the Beacon Hill (which will look much better once I have a floor and a window and other details …)

Last but not least–electrics!

From Carl Sahlberg, whose electricity class I took, I have power supply, circuit boards, and LED Christmas lights, both in color and warm white. I might use the warm white in one of the Beacon Hills.

I was a little intimidated by the circuit boards, but they’re very simple. I’ll have more on that later.

I did make one other purchase (or at least a down payment) from Ferd Sobol. When I get that all paid off and in my hands (or on a table touching it very carefully), I’ll do a presentation. 🙂

Chicago Show–Workshops

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To say I had a blast at Chicago International is an understatement. I hope to return next year.

I could not stay the entire week because I had to do a reader event in Milwaukee, so on Friday afternoon, I left (after shopping until I dropped), and drove from Chicago north.

Workshops I took during the week:

Magic of the drill press with Tom Walden. Who knew? You can use a drill press for routing, carving, shaping–all kinds of things!

We made a table, which I did not put together all the way. I need to fix and finish it. I took Tom’s beginning class, but would love to go to the advanced class another time.

A radio made by Tom Walden using a drill press for everything except the knobs. (An example he passed around in class). Behind it you can see the holly and ebony table I’m working on.

Second class: Electricity!! Carl Sahlberg (Creative Reproductions 2 Scale: http://www.cr2s.com) taught this one. I of course went to his table the next day and bought all kinds of supplies to try out, including strings of LED Christmas lights.

We made a working fan with a light!

All the fun tools! We didn’t keep these–but all supplies for the class were provided. I learned to solder! Much easier than I thought, though I’m sure I’ll set the cats on fire if I do it at home.

The basic fan put together. The blades were laser cut for us. The board with electric tape was for us to practice laying and working with tape runs.

Bottom of the fan. The light socket has been threaded through (you can just see the tiny socket waiting for a light).

Lightbulb installed with globe over it.

It works!!!!

These two workshops were all day (9-5) with a short break for lunch. Intense, but I learned so much.

In my next post, I’ll give highlights of the show and things I bought. Before I went I feared I’d end up broke and having to sell the cats, but happily I found many lovely things without going over my budget.

 

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