Followers of this blog will perhaps remember the name Norman Randall. I've mentioned him more than once in the past because he made the carcasses of several of my dolls houses, leaving them, for the most part, for me to finish.
His wife Sheila was a colleague of mine at work and when Norman was due to retire she was bemoaning the fact that he really didn't know what he was going to do with himself. I asked whether he enjoyed woodworking and lo! A dolls house maker was born.
And some time later so was a miniature knitter - Sheila produced the most amazing baby clothes and dresses for little girls.
Norman was responsible for three of my best houses - the Dutch House, already familiar to blog followers from some very early posts but here to be seen again encased in solitary splendour in its temporary home in the Bavorov Museum, before Small Worlds opened to the public...
As with the Japanese house, he built this one from plans and handed me the unfinished carcass, which I then decorated inside and out. The Japanese house was a delight to work on - I had to do a lot of research on how the Japanese live in their homes before I touched the house at all. It will feature in another blog post once I am back in Bavorov, but here is a glimpse of the outside. Sadly, the roof is suffering badly from being lifted off several times a day to show visitors the inside. I shall have to think of some way round that next season.
All this was so many years ago that I can no longer remember which came first of the three - it might well have been the Cape Cod, again built from plans, which I took over originally from Norman completely decorated. It had however suffered quite badly during storage in the garage and moth had got into the carpets so last year it underwent a complete renovation, thanks to butterfly who has chosen it as the house she would most like to live in. You will find full details of her work - still to be finished this year - part way through the blogpost on the above link.
But again - here's a glimpse....
Work on the siding on the roof has since been completed but the house is still bathroomless, awaiting the return of butterfly to Bavorov in the spring.
What, you may well ask, has all this got to do with porridge in a pot? Well, once Norman and Sheila got into miniatures they joined, along with me, a group called The Herts Miniaturists. We met monthly and made things together and one day Norman was moved to create a room in an unusual container - yes indeed, a big black saucepan. I can't remember now whether this is what triggered the idea of rooms set in unusual containers, so that all of us in the group then set about making something, or whether someone had the idea, set it as an in-group competition, and Norman then did as he was told!
I do know, however, that Norman sent photos of his room-in-a-saucepan to a dolls house magazine, which then triggered a nationwide competition, with many of our makings, including of course the saucepan, being featured over several months. So here it is at last - sitting on my bookshelf across the room, waiting to take its place, along with his other creations, in Small Worlds - thank you Sheila!
That's about all for this time - but before I go I'd like to mention how I've been spending some of my time whilst away from Small Worlds. If I can't play with my own houses, what could be better than browsing other people's blogs? I've found some wonderful ones and will shortly be updating my list of good blogs to take a look at. One thing that has surprised me, given the almost total absence of Czech miniaturists blogging, is the number of highly talented ones I have found in Poland. One of them - Lady Fanaberia of Miniaturowy świat is running a giveaway this month - details in my sidebar.
Maybe I just haven't located the miniature crafters and collectors in the Czech Republic yet. I know there is a huge amount of craft talent out there and I would love to make contact with people who are as passionate about dolls houses and miniatures as I am. The Czech version of this blog is lagging behind badly - 20 posts in Czech to the 51 in English - but a young friend of mine, in training to become an interpreter and translator, is now steaming ahead with the Czech version so I hope that will result in more contacts and comments on it soon.
In the meantime, thank you for ploughing through this somewhat word-heavy post. I promise more photos next time, when one of my recent purchases will be revealed.....