Postcard of St Eusebius' Church, Arnhem
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.
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.
(HET kleine VOLK)
(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.