30 April 2014
I was delighted to hear from Richard Bromley of Bromley Craft Products this week. He said in his email;
'I’d like to thank you for the recent feature on the Crofters Cottage as this generated a lot of interest and some extra sales which was much appreciated. I since received several requests for a 1:12 scale version and I have now produced this so the Crofters Cottage is now available in 1:12, 1:24 and 1:48 scales.'
This is so exciting - for him and for dolls' house lovers too, who can now find the lovely Crofters Cottage dolls' house in a size to suit them.
This isn't the first time that I have heard from people who have had their work featured in the magazine..and it is what I love...spreading the joy of dolls' houses and miniatures.
Bromley Craft Products Limited, PO Box 283, Uckfield, East Sussex TN22 9DY
Telephone: 01825 732515
Waiting to be loved
28 April 2014
Like many miniaturists I love a good rummage in a charity shop, flea market or antiques fair. I am still looking for my new dolls' house for starters. I say 'new' but I don't mean it in the strict sense of the word. I am not looking for a bright new shiny house. And I am not actually looking for a house at all - but a cupboard. But it has to be the right type of cupboard as I hope to create something rather like the Petronella Oortman dolls' house at the Rijk Museum...just a little more shabby chic. Of course the trouble with looking for that hoped-for item is that there are an awful lot of 'nearly but not quites' out there and the problem is knowing when to compromise and stick.
One of my regular haunts is the local antiques fair at the South of England Showground in Ardingly. Of course, I keep an eye out for conventional dolls' houses too, because I still love them. I wouldn't say 'never' to buying a proper dolls' house if it appealled, but it would have to be really special as I have such limited space at home.
But it is a familiar story isn't it, running out of room. Over my 13 1/2 years as Editor of The Dolls' House magazine I have been contacted by owners, or spouces/partners of owners of dolls' houses needing, often reluctantly, to find a new home for a much-loved doll's house. You can find my advice here: http://bit.ly/PKy0PE should you need it in the future.
Some dolls' houses end up at Ardingly and they always tug at my heart strings. There weren't so many on my recent outing there, probably because I couldn't make the first day of the fair, which is the collector's day, and I like to think that the real beauties and bargains were snapped up. Two of the dolls' houses (shown here on the left) were particularly poorly!
The one on the bottom looked as a house might after a fire, or a landslip. The one next to it on the right was a much jollier example and I really hope that this one managed to find someone to love it. The blue house above it at just £25 was surely a bargain. And as I know - a bit of bargaining, and certainly the offer of cash could secure it for less.
Where do these dolls' house go if not sold? Back on the van for next time. Of course I rather like to hope that even if they didn't secure a new owner for themselves, they just might kindle an interest in the visitors. Maybe that will set a seed...a seed of desire for a dolls' house. And next time, maybe next time, they will be snapped up!
Not quite Selfridges
22 April 2014
Lots of peole are interested in genealogy, and television programmes like 'Who Do You Think You Are?' make the most of the celebrity names they give airtime to. Over the Easter break with time to research my sister has been revealling what she has discovered in her quest to find out more about our family. And it has been fascinating stuff on both my father's and mother's sides.
We may not be famous now, but I have been delighted to discover that research into my father's family has thrown up an Edwardian department store!
The store in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire was established by Michael Huntbach, (1837 - 1910). The unusual name making it easier to track possible ancestors. Coming to Hanley in 1852, Michael served an apprenticeship with a Mr. Thomas Swift, of Upper Market-square, before starting a business for himself in 1861 in a small shop in Lamb Street. With the assistance of his wife and his two sisters, he laid the foundation of Messrs. Huntbach and Co., Limited. The company eventually had a permanent staff of about 300 persons, with shops, workrooms, and warehouses. There are Huntbach Streets in the neighbourhood too I have discovered, so we must once have had some standing in the community.
The next time I am creating some packaging for my dolls' house I think I shall include a little something from the ladieswear department from this illustrious Stoke-On-Trent store. Who needs Selfridges when I have my very own emporium to browse?!
A big day in Glasgow
10 April 2014
Last July I went to Glasgow for the first time and loved it. High on my list was the Glasgow School of Art, an iconic building designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. If you get the chance – take the official tour, so worth the insider’s view of the building. The School of Art building was completed in 1909 and is widely regarded as Mackintosh’s finest work.
I am delighted that the building site opposite during my visit is now an incredible new structure. The Reid Building officially opened yesterday, and looks to be an amazing space full of light for the students and staff who work there. It has been designed by US architect Steven Holl, and is named after GSA’s first female director, Dame Seona Reid. The new building is part of a £50m project and replaces the former Foulis building and Newbery Tower on Renfrew Street.
Facing such a world-famous frontage as the GSA main entrance I am so glad that it isn’t a copy or pastiche of the original but a bold and striking companion. I love the way that the new building wraps around and incorporates CRMs original work.
To my knowledge there has never been a dolls’ house that incorporates two very distinctive styles but it would be amazing if there were. Real size architects are utilising this concept, especially when dealing with historic buildings. Astley Castle in Warwickshire was the 2013 RIBA Sterling Prize winner. How long will it be before dolls’ house architects follow suit and give miniaturists something truly amazing?
BLOG PHOTOS: C.MCATEER BY GLASGOW SCHOOL OF ART
Further information: visit www.gsa.ac.uk
Escape the War!
7 April 2014
Don't get me wrong, I am loving WWI in a purely academic fashion. I should clarify that and say that I am loving the television coverage; dramas and documentaries on the subject, that is. The latest one was beamed to our screens last night - did you see The Crimson Field? Not as pretty to look at as previous Sunday evening offering, Mr Selfridge but a worthy dollop of British pluckiness in the face of adversity. And did you recognise Kevin Doyle, best known as Downton Abbey’s downtrodden servant Mr Molesley?
As all dolls' house owners know there is nothing like watching a period drama to provide a memorable history lesson. And now after a long stint of WWI commemorative offerings there is respite as the eighteenth century comes under the spotlight (not a searchlight)!
Tonight I will enjoy my history lesson on the eighteenth century, in the form of a documentary on BBC4. In Rule Britannia! Music, Mischief and Morals in the 18th Century Suzy Klein explores the extent to which classical music played a significant role in shaping British identity and patriotism in the 18th century. In the first edition, the presenter considers the power music gave the new Hanoverian royal family as it dealt with several Jacobite risings in the 18th century, and discovers why Italian opera was so popular in the era. She also reveals the significance of Handel's arrival in London, and revisits the origins of The Beggar's Opera. Featuring works such as Rule Britannia, God Save the King and Handel's Water Music.
You can find out more here http://bit.ly/PFdv7q
I must admit that The Beggar's Opera is one of my favourites, and I have been involved with a couple of productions of it. One was held here in Lewes in a local hotel; raucous and fun. Bawdy, oh yes! But that's a whole other story...although, if anyone has created a dolls' house that is lived in by a highwayman do get in touch. And did you know about Handel's connection to London's Foundling Hospital (now Museum)? I bet there's a reference!
You see, you never know when inspiration will strike! I'll be on my sofa with a cup of tea and a pencil and paper just in case.