Good grief.... it is really almost a week since my last blog post? I'd intended posting pics of our newest toys and all sorts but last week seemed to get away from me.
We are now home from 'forn parts' after an enjoyable, if completely exhausting few days in the depths of the Oxfordshire countryside. As ever, the Thame Fair itself was its usual melange of high calibre UK artisans, many of whom are rarely seen outside Miniatura or KDF. It always takes me back to the 'good old days' when fairs mostly featured hand crafted artisan miniatures, rather than the ubiquitous Taiwanese imports which subsequently swamped the market, lowering standards and expectations in the collecting public.
This year at Thame we were next to Stokesay Ware, whose exquisite porcelain china has been gracing miniature houses of distinction for over 30 years. I hesitate to even think about how much money I've spent with them over the 30 odd years that I've been collecting, as every single one of my 20+ houses contained their work, from a single piece of Victorian kitchen ware in a humble cottage, through to a complete 8-piece dinner service in my magnificent Scottish baronial mansion. Even now, having massively downsized my collection of houses, a Stokesay Ware nursery tea set still graces my Edwardian day nursery.
In a similar vein, and talking of artisans of exceptional skill, this years Thame Fair marked the swansong of two of our best known miniaturists. Both Tony Knott, famed for his hand crafted historic armour, weapons, pewter and bronzework and wooden furniture, and Victor Pain of Simply Silver. Sadly Tony's website has now closed, and Vic doesn't have a website either but some of Vic's incredible work is featured in this blog post by a fellow admirer. Both artisans have now retired and Thame was a final chance to see and buy their work.
As usual the fair attracted many enthusiastic miniaturists, eager to add to their collections. As Thame is now the only fair we attend on a regular basis, it was lovely to see long-standing customers and past workshop students, many of whom I've known for more years than any of of us care to remember. Our stand was busy all day, and it wasn't until half an hour before closing that I got a chance to look around for myself.
My purchases were modest, some haberdashery supplies from the lovely Christine Orchard of Little Trimmings and some absolutely incredibly tiny unpainted metal animals from Jacqui of Ceynix for which I have an idea for a new toy.
My only personal purchase, was a tiny copy of a French book of fables from Dateman Books, which is destined for my French shop.
We're too tired to unpack tonight so tomorrow, when I manage to identify the whereabouts of the camera, I'll post some photos and share some of our latest ideas, which we just have to run by Small Dog first........