Thursday, 12 March 2020

Treasures from the Arnhem show, March 2020.

Last saturday I undertook my bi-annual pilgrimage to Arnhem for the spring edition of the dollshouseshow there. Apart from nobody shaking each others hand you hardly noticed a thing of that nasty Covid-19. Some sellers had to cancel because of it of course, but it did not effect the mood and I enjoyed myself nonetheless.

At every succeeding show I spend more time catching up with miniaturists (sellers and buyers) that I have made my acquantance with over the past few years. It is great fun to see and speak to eachother again. So much stories to cath up on. But fortunately I managed to get some real gems that I want to share with you.

First of all I got these two wonderful miniatures. The bellows are painted by Wagon Mountain Studio. She specialises in Dutch folk painting. Especially the styles popular around Hindelooper and Assendelft. I asked her to decorate this piece in the so called 'shadow work'. This style of decoration consists of motifs like scrolls and flowers in black and cream on a dark green base. The black and cream give the illusion of 3 dimensional decorations.

Next to it stands a delicate Delftware tulip vase with 11 nozzles. It is a miniature copy of an antique original. It is made by Henny Staring Egberts.  It is a heartshape carried by two ducks. I will fill this vase with some of the tullips from Ilona Kraasenberg which I bought last year.

You may have noticed by now that I like birds. Also miniature birds. And so these two caught my eye. The pink Cockatoo is made by Montheron. I love her work. The robin spreading its wings (sorry for not having a better photo) is made by Sandra van Bennekom of Lovingastory. She makes different types of birds using real feathers. Apart from realistic songbirds and owls she also had a few lovely Fenixes modelled on the old Fenix from Harry Potter. I think I'll buy a companion for this robin the next time I see her.

Next up are these three items. A jar and two chalices mady by Herman Straeten. The one in the middle is made out of a hollowed out palmfruit and ebony wood. The other two are turned from amber. The lids can be taken of. They are hollowed out and are quite opaque. They surely look good around my mounted nautilus. :-)

The three painted speculaasplanken or cookie moulds are not new. The one with the man on a horse is the one I bought this weekend. Made by Arjen Spinhoven this is the fourth mould in my little  collection. I will have to stain it first though.

More woodturning! This time made by Jokra. 2 walking sticks and a wig or hat stand. The black wood is ebony and the striped Brown wood is made of snakewood (also called letterwood) this last one has a tip and a knob made from silver.

As you may know, I love silver. And Marie-Louis Markhorst of Smallscale made these lovely mounted shells. She also makes great items for the kitchen in copper and or brass. Some of those are a must in the kitchens of Huis ter Swinnendael. But since my budget was rapidly coming to an end, I had to leave those for a future moment.

And last but not least, this recorder made of Rose Ivory. I did not know it existed until last weekend, but Rose Ivory is not pink coloured elephant tusk, but a type of hardwood. The beauty of this recorder is that if my fingers were small enough I could actualy play on it. It is made out of two pieces, hollowed out and with the holes in the right place. After the flute I bought from Gerrit van Werven last year, this is my second musical instrument. It is also made by Herman Straeten.

And that is it, my friends. The loot from my trip to Arnhem. I hope you have enjoyed this little post. I will spend the rest of the evening making my miniature administration in order. :-)


Thursday, 5 March 2020

An (un)expected gift

Hello my friends,

I love a surprise as much as anyone. A little time ago Mrs M. (Stephanie) whom you may know from her blog Madness, promissed to send me a few pieces of thin leather. Leather that I could use for upholstery, book covers, sword sheaths and such. Apart from furniture and travelcases, I will have an entire library to fill with leatherbound books. Every piece is therefore welcome and apreciated. 

When her parcel arrived this weekend I was surprised by the size of it. She had sent me an email telling that she had added a few extra things, without giving spoilers, away, but I still dit not expect a box of that size.

She had included two lovely miniatures that she has made herself. A decorated card board box containing a book or diary. and a marbled teacaddy with two cannisters. Both with lovely decorations! And then there were a few more pieces. Two ceramic birds, who are 'feves'. Feves are trinkets hidden in a king cake. The lucky finder may end up with a broken tooth, but at least he or she will be kong/queen for a day. :-) Porcelain figurines of birds were popular in the eighteenth century so I am happy with those. Perhaps I will paint them to give them a more pastel look.
The white structure in the front of the group is a resin miniature copy of the mormon temple of saltlake city. Now I am not a mormon so what to do with this? It did not take me long to find a nice use for it.  In the diningroom of Huis ter Swinnendael preperations are made for a festive banquet. So there or in the kitchen this temple will become part of the centerpiece. A castle made of sugarpaste. Placed on a base, with some (fimo) whipped cream around it and gold leaf decorated spires it will become a very ornate table decoration. From the renaissance until the second half of the 19th century these decorations were a must have for every banquet worthy of the name. :-)

But wait there was more. It contained several pieces of brown leather that will come in very handy with a lot of the projects I have planned. On top of the leather lies a few yards of broderie Anglaise which may certainly come in handy for decorative trim and such.

Then there were several resin ornaments. The frames are excuisite! They will certainly find a place in Huis ter Swinnedael.  I also love the winged Lions and the medallions. Lets see what I can use in Huis ter Swinnendael.The gold colloured rings probably come from buttons. I think they will make great frames for silhouettes. The crown is lovely. I have a few ideas for that one.

Last but not least, Mrs. M. put some pieces of furniture in the box. 2 kits from The house of miniatures, a candlestand and a sideboard, and a little bureau. For handling delicate miniatures she included some white gloves. And lastly a little notebook. I use several for my project and this one will come in handy too! I love the cardboard cover made from recycled material.

In short, I have been spoiled rotten. Thank you very much Mrs. M! Many items will surely find their way in Huis ter Swinnendael. Those that may not, will find a new home!

Well thats it for now. This weekend is the DHN fair in Arnhem. Despite the fears for the Covid 19 virus I will be going to Arnhem. There are a few infections now in the Netherlands, with most new cases from the immediate circle of the first victims. The governement has decided not to forbid public event because the medical authorities find that the risk of infection is still very low. So I see no reason not to go.

I hope to see some of you there. 


Sunday, 23 February 2020

A nautilus(y) cup

Hello my friends, last week I hit the mark of 50 followers. Welcome Anne-Mie, Linda and Gonda. I am happy that I am not the only one who enjoyes my little endeavour in the world of miniatures. 

Today I want to share with you a little miniature that I made. It is a miniature cup that pretends to be made with a Nautilus shell but is in fact just an ordinary snails shell. Found in a border in a local park. I found a few workshops in Dollshouse books and magazines that I have collected. So why not give it a try?

You may know the renaissance phenomenon of the Wunderkammer. Collections of rarities put together by monarchs and nobility. Entire rooms filled with collections of colourful, exotic and rare specimen of shells, horns, et cetera. These were the so called Naturalia that showed the marvel of Gods creation. 

Opposed to that there was the collection of Artificialia. The excuisite objects that showed the craft and ingenuity of man. In the Netherlands the wealthy burghers liked to display their interests, knowledge and good taste by amassing similar collections but on a smaller scale.

For Huis ter Swinnendael I want to make two early baroque collectors cabinets. One for the Naturalia and one for the Artificialia. By 1806 these early 17th century collections have become rarities themselves. Many pieces are valuable and therefore are kept. But the later collections of paintings, porcelain and antiquities have by now become much more important for the family to show their refined taste.

But back to the cup. Many shells have very different shapes from a Nautilus. This snails shell is not a perfect match but goes a long way. First of all the snails shell was cleaned and painted with mother of pearl nailpolish. I did not give it a basecoat of white paint because I hope that the natural colours of the shell wil enliven the colour of the nailpolish from underneath. 

Then I saw that the rim of the opening with this type of snail runs crooked. With the nautilus it does not. I took out the needlefiles and gently started to file down the edge to improve the Natilusness of the shell. After that I needed to repair the rim and other damaged area's with more nailpolish. 

Now it was time for the stand or foot of the cup. I shoved some beads I have in my little collection onto a toothpick. I then filled the cavities with airdrying clay and cut off the excess toothpick on one side. I added some small stickers used for making and decorating cards. After the clay had fully dried I gave it a coat of bright red paint. Lastly I aplied a coat of gold paint. I want to gild the base but I have not yet come around to buying the stuff needed for gilding. So paint it is for now.

Finaly it is time to add the shell itself. Here I also applied some of these small stickers to simulate the addition of gold on the shell itself. I removed the remainder of the toothpick and glued the shell on the card and let it dry.

And there we have it, my first attempt to make a nautilus cup. I enjoyed making it. I hope you have enjoyed reading about it. I do want to try and make one with metal as a challenge for the near future. As you can see I have a few more snail shells to pollish.

Those of you who have read my earlier posts may have noticed that in this picture there are a few new miniatures. The picture frame is a modern silverplate frame that I have painted gold. It wil be gilded eventually. The Bernini-esque bust was bought at Het Kleine Kabinet in Arnhem. A lovely visit of which I will show my new treasures in another post. And finaly the bronze statue of a Roman figure. It is a signet stamp used for wax seals. An antique I found on Etsy. 

Well, thats it for now, be well and u til the next post!