Monday, 23 April 2012

Day 315-Arnhem, My 1st Dollhouse Fair

I believe it was Josje who first introduced me to the Arnhem Dolls' House Show. It all started with Ronan-Jim Sevellec. On 4 February 2010 and just over a year after I started blogging, in a post I wrote about an Afghan rug I had just finished, I also blogged about Sevellec's Turkish Cafe. I fell in love with Sevellec's work the way I fell in love with Sylvia's Alcoholic's Attic, at first sight. Sevellec continues to be an important influence and I attribute to him my love for rust and all things grunge. Imagine my envy when Josje commented then that Sevellec would be exhibiting his art at the Arnhem Show in March 2010!  

A Bridge Too Far

John Frost Bridge, Arnhem  or more popularly known as a bridge too far

During those early days, I had not even seen the inside of a dolls' house shop (except in the Miniature Museum of Taiwan), not to mention attend a fair dedicated to all things poppenhuizen. My housemates and I were in Europe that February 2010 but our itinerary then could not include a place as far as Arnhem just for a dolls' house fair. Wouldn't be fun for the non-miniphile. 

Medieval gateway into Arnhem

The Arnhem Doll's House Show therefore took on a scale of mythic proportions after a while. For one, it was in the Netherlands, where I swear all children were injected with the miniature vaccine, explaining the great number of excellent Dutch miniaturists. Back then, the largest dolls' house museum was also in Holland (it has since closed, something I also found out from Josje). Finally, if Sevellec exhibited there, then it must surely be a show of significant standing. It therefore became the Holy Grail of shows for me. I really was not exaggerating when I said attending the 2012 fair was like a dream come true.

A Full Circle? Sculpture At Arnhem

In a way, because I had built the Arnhem Show into this mega event, it also became a little intimidating. I expected a huge crowd, exquisite miniatures and almost nothing I could afford. When Sylvia tried to give us the directions to St Eusebius' Church the night before, I told her not to worry, we would just follow where all the women were heading. I was also pretty sure I would go away empty handed because everything would be a trifle too fancy or too expensive for my humble and rather run-down houses.

Rosanna with her special earring just for the fair.

Looking at the town map- Rosanna in plaid

The truth could not have been further. For one, almost nobody we asked in Arnhem, from the train station to the church, had heard of the Dolls' House Show. There were of course, no throngs of women heading there. Luckily I had my iPad and could find the address with free McDonald's wifi so we asked for the whereabouts of the church.

The poster on a makeshift barricade

The bigger sign

When we got there, we saw that the church was under renovation . There was however a small poster stuck to a metal barricade announcing the fair. We turned and a bigger sign confirmed that we were at the right place. A small queue had already formed but it was nowhere near the avalanche of crowd that I had envisioned.

The Fair

Catalog featuring Sylvia's Roombox 

The first thing we noticed was the catalog featuring Sylvia's roombox on its cover. It was really such a thrill for me that this year's featured artist was Sylvia. It was like seeing Sevellec's work, only better because just 2 nights ago, I was in her home looking at my 1st love, the Alcoholic's Attic  up close and personal!  Imagine being able to say: O, you mean Sylvia de Groot? The famous artist whose work is in that room? Know her? Of course! Just 2 nights ago, she even cooked for us...

 Ceiling of Exhibition Room


Crowd at the show. Rosanna and Sabiha catching up, Sylvia sitting and watching her audience

We made our way immediately to the exhibition room to say hi to Sylvia. A crowd had already gathered. I was introduced to Sabiha and while Rosanna chatted with her, I wandered off to look at the exhibits again. And something caught my eye. It was the blue beach house. 

Sylvia's Beach House

This is a house I will never forget. Sylvia had mentioned before that someone actually made her an offer for it but this beach house was one she would never sell. I still recall how this house enchanted us when Sylvia blogged about her building process in April-May 2009. Gifts flew in from miniphile who wanted to be a part of this project. I too was infectiously inspired to make my 1st wind chime of little dolphins. It was the first time I made a miniature for someone else and you can imagine my trepidation then of sending something I thought was so amateurish to someone as accomplished as Sylvia. But Sylvia was really sweet and hung the windchime on the porch of the house. She endeared me further by calling it the hanging thing with little dolphins. Now 3 years later, my humble wind chime was still hanging on that porch, appearing as part of an exhibit in the 1st ever dollhouse show I have ever attended, THE Arnhem Show. I cannot even begin to explain how surreal the experience was, standing in front of this exhibit, looking at my first effort and tracing my journey from when I first started dreaming about building a Maharaja's Palace to the attendance of this fair. 

This is the magic of Blogland or to quote Drora, this must surely be the best of Blogland. You will find out in my next post that the best is yet to be. And because I am saving the best for last, let's now move on first to some of  the miniatures sold at this show. 

Saskia Maas
(HET kleine VOLK)

Rosanna and I decided that we should go through the fair once before any decisions to buy anything. We were also supposed to meet Josje and Alexandra for lunch at 2. 

I know the picture may not look appealing but this was the most fabulous fish lunch I had during this trip.Right after lunch, we went back to the stands again and this time, the buying started. Remember me telling you I would come back empty handed? Rosanna said the same thing. Bah-ge-booloo to both of us. 

Survival Kit for Ro

I stopped shopping at about 5pm and went back to the exhibition room. Rosanna was nowhere to be found and a rumour started about how she only had 5 Euros left in her wallet. Sylvia, Sabiha, Lisette (the sweet was from her) and even Sylvia's brother started gathering for what they called "A Survival Kit" for Rosanna, ie all the food she would have till she returned home to Genoa. Even then , when Rosanna finally appeared at 5.30pm, we decided to just make one last round before we go home. This time, without our wallets. That didn't work of course because there was always something that we must absolutely have. I ran back to get my money after 2 minutes. 

As usual, I got carried away and this post has gone on far longer than I had intended. Already almost 2 am and I have yet to show what I bought. Forgive me but that was my first show and I felt compelled to record almost every minute of what happened. This post has become a novel.

Tomorrow....maybe...I show...


The Old Maid said...

Oh, come on!!!!
WAKE UP!!!! Post your shopping right now!!!!!!!;D

Lucky you, dear Sans! I wonder when and where it will be my first miniature fair...:)

Anyway I am waiting impatiently for your next post.:)

Piikko said...

Sans, I loved your novel!
And I want more,
I want more.......!!!
Hugs, piikko

The Duke of Swann said...

Wow. I enjoy your blog. So unique, so rich and full of colour. Thanks for all your effort. I joined your blog in the last 2 weeks. I've only been blogging for about 4 weeks. So, I'm still learning. You ask for our links and I haven't left you mine. I make 1/6th scale jewellery and set it in a fictional story about Royalty. Hope you enjoy it. I hope I haven't got confused now and already left my link with you. If so pls forgive.

rosanna said...

Oh Sans so funny !!!! I love every bit of this post, it makes me smile giggle and cry a bit, all at the same time. Thank you dearie.Thank you very very much from the bottom of my heart !! Ro

malu2 said...

Magnifico reportage, me gusta todo lo que esplicas!!Sí, Susan pon todas las minis que has comprado!!!quiero volver a verlas!! jejeje.
Besos de las Malu´s.
Pol no ha llegado!!! Muaaaakkk!!!

Daydreamer said...

Oh, Sans! It is like BEING there With you... looking over your shoulder!!!! But of course... not being able to spend Your money... (hee hee)... I would have bought Stokesay Ware for sure... and some painted pieces... and .. and ... I CAN'T wait to see what YOU bought! I am enjoying the "Novel" SOOO much and want the next chapter! I will stay up late to read it....!!!
What an Adventure this was... so filled with magical meetings and beautiful people!
Love, love, Love!

Remco said...

A nice report you have written, Looks like you had a splendit time there!
Greetings from Holland, oh and did the survivalpack work?
Bye and a hug from me, ;-)

Dark Squirrel Victoria said...

Wow! Awesome show.

I can't wait to see what you bought.


BiWuBär said...

Haha, if you could see the broad grin on my face now... not only because your novel was so fascinating, enchanting, beautiful - it was like experiencing it with you - but also because I have a big advantage compared to the others: I already saw what you bought! (LOL). But I'm wondering now, some day you might write a book (a bestseller of course) and I will be able to say: That highly talented storyteller is a good friend of mine... and of Fluby, not to forget... ;O)


P.S.: I'm not over that Anne Frank-thing yet... wow, what a case of bad taste. Impossible around here! And I'm really sorry we only had so little time - I should have taken you to Berlin. Really, and you would have come home to tell your Berlin-loving friends that it is tiny, boring and not worth a visit! No, I'm not gone insane, Berlin is not only our capital, it's also a very little village (much smaller than mine) and not far away from Wankendorf. That would have been a story to tell at parties - going like this: I've walked through Berlin... and it only took me 15 minutes to do so... ;O)

minishop said...

I don't recall ever having been to a miniature show so large that they served food.

Norma Soulet (AZArtist) said...

Hi Sans,
What wonderful photos of your trip and that Fair was to die for! :)
Love that Beach House! It is amazing. Love all the details.
Love all the other beautiful objects too.

Lize said...

Thanks to Sans, I am also able to attend the fair! Lovely pictures and a very entertaining post Sans. Waiting for more updates... and greetings to all!

Sans! said...

Teehee, Ewalina, you mean I didn't show you the minis from Arnhem? By the way, they all fit nicely into the book box I got from Krakow :).

And "Lucky You" was exactly what I said to everyone who had been to a mini fair :). I believe if we want to, we all will eventually experience our very own 1st :). I am keeping my fingers, toes and eyes crossed for yours to happen soon :).

How did you guess that I was typing with my eyes closed for the last 2 paras of this post ? :):).

Sans! said...

Piiko, really? Be careful what you ask for :). But I dare say the best post about this trip should be the one after the next, now that this one took so long to write it needed 2 instalments:). I had thought of just posting pictures of the fair . Funny thing was there were only 25-30 pictures in my folder under Arnhem and I really didn't expect such a looooong post :)

Sans! said...

Hi Duke, yes, you have already left a link and my dear, I've already followed your blog since about 2 weeks back . I left a comment too :):). But it is good that you write again and I completely understand the confusion after visiting so many blogs. It's happened to me way too often. I swear I sometimes even blog about the same thing and repeat myself. That's why my posts are so loooong :)

Sans! said...

Ro, stories that are real and true are often the most fun to read :). You are the reason why the posts on Netherlands were so fun to write. :) Really, truly, actually!

Sans! said...

Pol es, sin duda se toma su tiempo, MaLu :). Sólo me mantienen informado. Voy a estar animando todo el camino desde Singapur! :) Tiene que más tarde me dicen todo sobre el bien, justo en Barcelona? Espero que no sea demasiado ocupado con el pequeño!

besos y abrazos!

Sans! said...

One of these days, when I am in the US, we may go shopping together at that mini shop of yours, Bets? :)

And maybe attend a Tom Bishop Fair :). I can't believe I am sprouting names of fairs like I have been doing the circuit for years ..heh heh heh.

All thanks to Blogland :)

Sans! said...

Remco!!! Wow! It took me a moment to recognise you! Change that profile pic, you look way better in person :)..heh heh :).

Just checked out your blog. It really does run in the family, the mini genes or is it the vaccine? Can all the de Groots do minis?

I think Rosanna still has the survival kit. She is saving it for when she attends SIMP next! Now what was your contribution? 10 cents ? :):):)

Sans! said...

Coming up next, Vic :). My purchases are quite predictable :)

Sans! said...

Birgit, you always make me smile. People must think I pay you to say nice things in my comment box! *psst, did you receive the last cheque? ")

And by the way, don't read the next post because it's mainly on what I bought and I have already bored you in Wankendorf with it.

You didn't notice, did you that until Ewa scolded me for spelling Gydnia wrongly, I thought it was WankeRdorf instead of WankeNdorf! oopsie! After the scolding, I quickly made sure I got all the names correct. Can you imagine I once laughed at Mercedes for saying Genova instead of Genoa! Took me forever to remember Zaanse Schans, Koog Zaandjik. Forget about asking me for the name of the outdoor museum in somewhereinNorthernGermanybetweenKielandNeumunster where you brought us. Even I am shaking my head at myself! At the fair, I was pointing at a picture showing the Bridge (a bridge too far) and telling Sabiha, "do you know that's a really famous bridge". I then asked her for the name of that bridge..teeheehee. I am sure she thought me a dingbat. How can I say it was a famous bridge and not know the name right? But I am super bad with names :)

I am very very happy to hear that you are close to Berlin! Guess who's meeting me there when I am there next? YOU of course :). Let's not planned where to meet. After all, Berlin is only a 15 minute walk. After walking 30 minutes, I am sure we will be able to spot one another :).

Sans! said...

Ah yes, forgot to tell you, Birgit . I think I will post my version of the Anne Frank postcard so you can see for yourself how bad taste (or not) it is. I can tell how traumatised you are by it :) .Thank you for finding at least 1 use for my useless purchases :).

Sans! said...

Minishop :), our lunch meeting at 2pm was arranged via email when Rosanna was still in Genoa. It was to be at a cafe inside the church.Remember we have never been to the Arnhem Fair and didn't know what to expect. Guess what? When we arrived, we saw that there were 2 cafes in the church! We didn't eat at either. Instead, we went out to the outdoor and bought fishes offered in at least 15 varieties because there was a sort of marketplace set up temporarily just outside the church. (Shoot, my mouth is watering now thinking of the fishes.)

It was a Herculean task trying to find spicy food in Europe but there it was (see picture), some kind of fish done in Balinese style -Josje's friend interpreted the signs for me- When I heard the word "Balinese", my head went *ding ding ding! We have hit the jackpot for spicy food! Woohoo! Like I said, best fish lunch in Europe 2012!

Sans! said...

Thanks for coming along , Norma S :)

Sans! said...

Lize!! Common, when can we read YOUR updates! You have been super missed, my friend :).

Ana Anselmo said...

I can´t wait to see what you bought Sans...I missed you, all your lovely posts and stories.
I did visit Arnhem fair, but the one that is in October and I loved it.

Eva - tatalamaru said...

Gracias por compartir tu viaje con nosotros, me encantan tus reportajes. Debiste pasarlo genial en la feria, y tus compras recuerdo que eran estupendas.
Un beso enorme.

Eliana said...

I'm so glad I know this world through your eyes ... Thank you.

CWPoppets said...

Oh, I can't wait to see what you bought. I've been to Arnhem two years ago and it felt like Christmas and Birthday at once.
And thanks for the link of Sevellec. I can't stop staring at his room boxes. They are the best I've ever seen.

carmen said...

gracias por el paseo...

Maria Ireland said...

Your "novel" is fantastic I was there with you all : D I have enjoyed this post very much. I also have never been to a dolls house fair but its on the top of my wish list. Thank you so much for sharing these wonderful pictures and your fantastic experience. Cant wait to see what you bought.
Hugs Maria

Eva said...

A wonderful post, you make me smile a lot.
I have to say that as I have seen what you bought I am quite relax but you are a really bad you can stop a post like this without showing what you bought? LOL ☺
Huge kiss♥

Susanne said...

Thanks for sharing, Sans! I wish I could have met you somewhere in Europe, but I had to work. Can´t wait to see your next post, please hurry!
Love, Susanne

Maria said...

I love your story, i was there too! I was there for the first time and i liked it a lot. I have been to the Rijnhal in Arnhem before but this fair was more quality. I loved to see Sylvia's work, it looks even better in person.
I am Looking forward to see what you bought.

Margriet said...

I was so sorry I couldn't come the fair this would have been wonderful to meet you!!! But all your stories give me the feeling I've been there a little bit ;-)
And please show your purchases...I'm so curious!!!

Ascension said...

He llegado justo para ver primeros todas tus compras jejejeje, asi no me has dejado con la intriga jejeje
Me encanta seguir tu diario de viaje, me has hecho sonreir, tendrias que pensar en escribir (profesionalmente), eres de lo mas entretenida jejeje
Me voy a ver tus comprassssss
besitos ascension

Jollie said...

Beautiful pictures Sans!!
I can see that you have enjoyed your first fair so much! :-)

Hugs Jollie

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