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Part V


PREVIEW Friday Evening, April 16, and SHOW and SALE, Saturday, April 17, 2010

I spent my resting time after the IMA Show coordinating my list with the room plans and dealer locations in the show catalog, so that I would be sure to stop at some point to see people whom I knew and/or hopefully had things I was looking for.

We did not try to get there at 5:30 when the Preview opened. Dana had told me there was a huge crowd waiting to get in and I figured there was no need for us to rush, and sure enough about thirty minutes later the hall was not nearly so crowded.

On the way, we ran into Jacqueline from NJ, who had been my roommate last year.

We stopped at the table so that Dana could pick up her ID, saw Tom Bishop briefly, who gave me a hug. It was so good to see him looking hale and hearty, as we had all worried about him when he was so ill last month. And, except for sitting quietly in the Campers meeting, he was always zipping up and down in his scooter when I saw him for the rest of the weekend.

And we finally entered the Big One - Tom Bishop's Chicago International, with dealers from all over the world. What an awesome, wonderful, mind-blowing experience.

Anyone who has seen the Harry Potter movies would be especially thrilled to see Rik Pierce's version of the Weasleys' Burrow which greeted us in the hallway!

Look what lighting adds to an already wonderful cottage. And don't you love that chimney?

Who is better at this than Rik?

Look at all the effects achieved with PaperClay in Rik's masterful hands - brick, stone, plaster, wood ....

And, of course, many people now use those techniques, including Suzanne in the workshop that I took from her, as she told us. He freely shares his expertise; all he asks is that people not duplicate his buildings (I think that's what she said).

I wonder if people fight in the ring for the privilege to be in the hallway where people see them coming in, going out, and traipsing from ballroom to ballroom.

Dana called me back here later to show me something that I just HAD to get to go in the Tetley Teapot roombox (picture in a later Part).

It was at this table that I found my cornstalks. Isn't it funny how one little thing can give such pleasure? I LOVE that corn, and already can see some odd character standing in shadows in front of it; wonder who s/he will be in my story?

The first person I wanted to see in the first showroom was Alice, of course.

Here is the lower level of her booth. Amazing to think that one person makes all that!

I intended to come back and get Lorraine's picture, too, but was never able to. So, here she is, glimpsed through the uprights. What a gal!

Lions and tigers and dogs, oh my. This year I bought a terrific zebra table from Alice.

I enjoy seeing how people display their wares. Notice the two different styles here; but, of course, they are selling different products, too.

This extraordinarily elegant furniture shows up so well against the three-sided box.

And look at how these walls are; hinged, maybe?

I can admire, but I sure can't purchase this year. Maybe one year I might get one piece. As Tevye the Milkman says in Fiddler on the Roof, If I were a Rich Man ....

It was interesting seeing so many men this time.

I love men at miniature shows. Those who make miniatures often have a sardonic wit or dry humor, and engage in outrageous flattery or nonsense. Then there are the husbands of dealers, seen sitting in the hallways in silent patience as they pore over newspapers, sit at laptops, or nap, mouth agape, head against the cushions. They set up, take down, pull suitcases, push carts, haul bundles, bags and cartons, fetch, carry, run hither and yon, obligingly carrying out whatever requests or demands are made. What a great group they are! My hat's off to you all!

And then there were the good looking young guys speaking in French, whom I saw as we waited for the elevator. One wore shiny shoes with toes far more pointed than I ever saw on a man in West Texas (except for cowboy boots), but the other guy in suspenders was wearing well-worn Nikes!

Oh, these chandeliers were awesome!

There were so many dealers, so many tables, so much to see, in three big rooms; it just dwarfs anything that I had ever imagined until my first Once-In-A-Lifetime Experience in 2008! Now I know what to expect, but it's still awesome, especially since I live so far from any shows or shops.

THE CAMPERS MEETING, Saturday at 3:00

The Camp is a very active, fun and informative online miniatures group, all scales, that has been around for seven years. It's a place where everyone from the most talented professional to the brand new beginner can feel at home; and from its earliest days, it's been very supportive of the Chicago International.

Many Campers were dealers at the show and for quite some time there was a great deal of discussion and excitement among the group online about who was going, who was selling, who was taking what workshop, what were we packing, what were we taking to snack on. It all added even more fun and anticipation for those of us lucky enough to go.

As he has done twice before, Tom Bishop and his wife Lani graciously provided not only a room for the miniature group to meet, but included snacks, coffee, tea and cake! Not everyone could get there at 3, including many dealers who could not leave their tables, but there was a good representation. Dana got back in time for the meeting and took some more pictures.

Here is the only picture we got of Tom, left, but doesn't he look great?

Here the group owner Marie Werth, affectionately known as Den Mother, is addressing the gathering. That's Robert, husband of Charlene from Canberra, looking on. I wish I could have seen some of the turnings he does.

Dana said I didn't need to get her picture, but I said "Yes, I do, because you are always the one behind the camera."

This was an emotional moment as DM teared up, expressing her gratitude to those who had made it possible for her to be in Chicago this year.

Certainly was an attentive group!

Here is Charlene, holding forth to Irene from NH as I open my ziplock bag of mini pictures.

And here we are taking one from each contributor. The idea is to make a mini Camp album of our pictures.

I forgot to add that Susie Parker gave everyone the neatest tiny little white castles! I shall find a special place for mine one of these days. Right now, it is sitting in front of my computer, giving me a smile each time I spot it.

What a group of Happy Campers! There was another meeting that night, but I was just too tired to come down for it. Wish I had now, since I've heard reports of the great hilarity and all.

It was great visiting with Diane Almeyda, whose stained glass is so stunning. Dana was particularly impressed, and they had a conversation about some special stained glass signs that were in Dana's husband Lee's grandfathers's Coffee Joe's shop many years ago. (Boy, is that a convoluted sentence!) Sure would be neat to have those signs and their Art Deco lilies (I think that's the flowers) in miniature.

And Joanne Root from Canada and I met in the hallway and talked! Lots of fun Canadians around. During the Campers meeting Joanne passed out Canadian pins and her friend Sunni passed out Olympic pins. I shall also find someplace special to park them soon, too.

I really enjoyed meeting up with people I "know" but have never met personally. Here's Carol from New York.

Since I first put these pages up, I now remember someone else I enjoyed talking to - Ruth Frank. We got to hug each other and visit for a few minutes, and I was so glad because we've been exchanging emails for YEARS. Dana was gone at that time, though, so no picture of Ruth. I also had a nice chat with Serna Sheridan, but no pic of her, either. I had planned to chat with Dawn Weaver, an old friend who was there as a dealer's helper and somehow in all the flurry we missed each other.


This awesome house was done by The Guys From Texas.

This is called Cypress and Fog. It was so interesting to hear Jon tell me how he achieved the effect of that foggy, misty outdoor scene. It was truly awesome in person.

This is the prototype for the gas station they taught in their pre-show workshop.

Oh, I wish DH Santa would buy that quarter scale adobe for me!

In these three busy rooms there were some bare tables, OR, one lone person sitting there whose wares hadn't made it because of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano that erupted in Iceland on September 15.

What a terrible blow, but especially awful when the dealer got here but his or her wares didn't. How devastating it must have been to sit there alone at that table and see the money draining away from all the expenses and no returns.

Fortunately, local miniaturists revealed their humanity and generous natures to help their fellows avoid further hotel bills by taking them into their own homes and treating them like family. Some got home fairly quickly, others were stuck in the US for a week or more, depending on how the ash cloud drifted.

Interestingly, enough, the volcano had its effect in our area, too. I read in our newspaper that a group of 60 geology graduate students and professors arrived in El Paso from Imperial College of London on April 17 to study carbonate minerals in the Guadalupe Mountains near Carlsbad, New Mexico. Their trip had to be extended 10 days because of a backlog at airports across Europe.

The University of Texas at El Paso learned of their plight and opened all their facilities to the students, who came from England, Denmark, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Nigeria, Russia, Thailand and Venezuela. Not only were they able to use the University's gym, library, computers, geology labs, everything that they needed, but they were treated to backyard barbecues, Mexican food and the Alfresco! Fridays program in Downtown El Paso. In normal circumstances they would have only spent one night here, but now after this experience they say there are bonds that will last a lifetime, and many hope to return to El Paso and UTEP.


This is one view of the doll room; a stunning collection of wonderful dolls and enormously talented dollmakers.

It was great fun visiting on Preview Night with Nancy Cronin, whom I know from the MiniDolls List. That's Jamie Carrington in the background, talking to a customer. I have several of his videos; would love to take a class with him some day.

These dolls are part of a series Nancy created for a group on the Dolls list called the Posse, who get together to chat about dollmaking and work on projects together.

I have these two to dress and wig and Nancy will be delivering the third in July, I think.

Look at these manly fellows.

"Oh what a tangled web we weave ...."

And Whooooo are Youuuuuu?

Dana was really taken with Nancy's dolls, as you can see. Her plan was to get more pictures on a later return to the doll room but we ran out of time.

Unfortunately, I kept forgetting that I had a camera along on this trip, so don't have pictures of Anna Hardman, whose dolls are so exquisite. I also saw Gayle Clausen, Connie Sauve (although she was so busy each time I was in there we didn't have a chance to talk), met and chatted with Elle Piccolo, and talked with Nancy Quinby, whose work I have admired for YEARS.

Let's see, who else ....

Somewhere along the way I also talked with Evelyne from Brazil, Cookie Ziemba, and so many others whose names I didn't get down and now I can't recall. Anyway, it was great, especially when people told me they really enjoy my stories! Thanks!

Dana and I had very good pizza for a quick lunch in the Tiki Bar on Saturday.

She got me before I got pizza on myself.

And I got her!

At this point, she left to do some more exploring and picture-taking.

She said the tulips were EVERYWHERE!

She wasn't sure of the denomination of this unusual church, but has since learned that it is Ukrainian Greek-Catholic and is called St Joseph’s Ukrainian church. Can't you just see some miniaturist making that?

Here is their website:


When I first put these pages up, I had an email from Andy in TX, who wrote, "I loved the tour through Chicago and the show.  The church with the 13 domes is quite near my aunt's house.  We pass by it often, and she always tells us about it....I can ask her if you want to know...all I can remember is the 13 domes for the apostles (and Jesus)." Then I got a later email:

"The inside is quite plain which is a surprise since the exterior is so ornate.  The church was built within the last 50 years - she remembers it being contructed and she has lived there for 50 years!.  They sell perogies at one of the side doors (the neighboorhood is in or near one of the Polish areas of Chicago).  She was at a couple of funerals there with her husband for his aunt and uncle.

She told me that she was going to go over and buy some perogies and pick up some more information!  She was so excited that someone I "knew" was that close to her house!  I don't think she really grasped the online group bit and that I really didn't know you know you!"

And here is the latest information from Andy on May 14: " My aunt can't possibly remember it being built since according to the website that happened in 1913 - 1915!  It is Catholic and Ukrainian.  She did send me snail mail pamphlets, but they didn't cover the history of the church, just the events happening now - they were in both English and Ukrainian - pretty cool!  There was a service going on when she went, so she said she just grabbed a couple pamphlets (in English!) and left.  At least I got the name of the church and could find it on the web."

Isn't that the neatest thing - as a result of Dana's picture, an 80 year old lady going to buy pierogies so she could find out more information for us about that church!

And speaking of pierogies, that term is not too familiar in El Paso; however, there is a festival each year at one of the local Greek Orthodox churches where all kinds of great delicacies are sold. I also discovered that a doughnut shop not too far from here sells pierogies. But you have to get there early as they are very popular with people heading to work!

Back to the workshop ...

During the afternoon I also took several breaks to sit in the hallway or in the lobby to recharge my batteries, which also gave opportunities to strike up or join in conversations with people from all over everywhere. I saw lots of people whose pictures I didn't get, because it hadn't occurred to me that I had my camera in my purse!

It was interesting to walk up and down the hallway, catching brief snatches of conversation as I passed.

"I'm working on The Visalian ..."
"... figure it will work in either scale."
"Geoffrey Somebody ..."
"You know, the gal that uses all the pastels ..."
"He uses this mixture of glue and ...."
"I save for this all year and by golly ..."
"I don't really need another ..."
"Did you see what they were charging for ..."
"You can never have too much garlic ..."

Luckily, I find a seat when I need it most, and look through my purchases, tallying up my expenses and seeing how each purchase will fit in my collection of UFO's. I didn't know I needed an alligator, but I got one.

DM walks by and says, "Now who is that you are going to do the story about?"

"Ah," I say. "Slackjaw & Grimace, Attorneys at Law."

And here is Dana that night, ...

... probably sending Lee a picture of our pizza in the Tiki Bar.

Stay tuned for Part VI, The Rest of It ....

NEXT: >>



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