Chicago Dollhouse Miniature Shows Spring 2022

Chicago Dollhouse Miniature Shows Spring 2022

Have you ever attended a Dollhouse Miniature Show? If so, then you know the experience is pretty amazing.

I was fortunate enough to attend two Miniature Shows this Spring in Chicago and wanted to share my expereince. The first show was the Tom Bishop Show, which marked its 44th year of miniature show production this year. This show gathers miniature enthusiasts from all over the world; a half of million people have attended past shows to be exact!

The second show I attended was a smaller show (but still amazing) by T&D Miniatures, which was only an 18 mile drive from the Tom Bishop show. Please listen as I share my experience and the stories from all the amazing artisans I met.



Miniature Artisans I met and admired:

Volker Arnold- Dresden, Germany

I found the work of Volker so amazing; how he can work in such a small scale while still capturing so much detail. Check out his work at:

Volker-Arnold-Chicago-2 Volker-Arnold-Chicago-2 Volker-Arnold-Chicago-2 Volker-Arnold-Chicago-2

Peter Gabel- Boston

You need to get out the magnifying glass for these creations as they are made out of the smallest sea shells. Check out his work at:




Murphy-O’Brien Fine Miniatures

Keeping up the theme of sea shells- check out the fascinating work of this artisan. Check out their work at:



Michael R Miniatures- Boston

I loved the whimsical creations by Michael R Miniatures.



Wholesale Show

I had a great time helping out at the wholesale show.






Transcribed Podcast Episode:

Hello friends, and welcome to my miniature obsession podcast. I’m your host, Rachel Karpf. This podcast is about all things miniature, we will explore the world of minis. And all its raw talent, dedication, patience, and the new energy of this art form. Here for miniature hobbyist and professionals from all over the world, we will gain a deeper insight into the creative processes that drive them. We will also explore what their biggest struggles are their most devastating failures, and the most uplifting successes, I hope to encourage and inspire you in your miniature hobby. Because even the ordinary become extraordinary in miniature.

Hey, friends, it’s Rachel. And I wanted to make sure that you are aware of this month mini challenge. So if you haven’t heard each month inside of our Facebook group, which is called the mini district community, I give you a challenge. And it’s a way to win cool prizes. And you can also learn new techniques, meet new many friends, and well have some fun. So this month’s challenge is to create a miniature cake. Birthday cake. I guess it can be any cake. But I was hoping birthday cake because it’s my birthday month. That’s right, May 21, my birthday and I thought what better way to celebrate than to have some cake mini ones. I mean, they are low calorie, and well, they’re just cuter. So what you got to do is create that cake, any scale using any material, simply post a picture to the group, and I will enter you into this monstrosity. So we’ll see you in the group. It’s See you there.

Hello, friends, it’s Rachel. And I’m back for another episode of my miniature obsession podcast. Thank you so much today for joining me. So the end of April, I got the opportunity to go to two miniature shows in Chicago. One was the Tom Bishop show. And the other was of a show that my friend Teresa puts on. And it’s presented by TND miniatures. So I took a trip all by myself down to Chicago. And I had an amazing time. I’ve had so many questions about what I loved what I hated. What was my experience, like what did I buy? So I just thought I would share it all in an episode for you today. I have to say I loved every bit of it. Actually could have stayed there a little bit longer. But being gone from my family for five days, I decided I better get back. So the only part that I disliked was driving to Chicago. So I live about two and a half hours away, which isn’t bad. But driving in a city through Milwaukee was okay. But then once I got to Chicago, I hated every second of it. So for those that don’t know, I, I lived in some pretty big cities, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Denver. So I’m, I mean, I’ve done this before. But wherever we go for the last 15 years now my husband drives everywhere. And I guess that’s a bad thing because I’m not used to driving anymore in big cities. So I think I think I have to take the wheel from now on and just so I can get used to it. But once I got through Milwaukee and Chicago and I got to the hotel, it was amazing. So let’s just start by the Tom Bishop show. I stayed there at the Marriott. If you ever want to go to the Tom Bishop show, I recommend that you book in advance. It was sold out. So people were there are hotels in the area. But you definitely want to book in advance. And that we I stayed at the Marriott O’Hare. So I arrived there Wednesday night. And the first thing I did was I treated myself to a class and the class was so much fun. It was all about soldering. And when I first saw the description of a class, I’m like, why would I ever need to know how to solder? It’s not really something I think I’ll do right especially if I’m wearing a dollhouse. I just use the tape and the breads that I used to do in the past. However the teacher of the class, his name was Tim craft. He’s actually an enigma and I G M A artisan he’s he’s pretty amazingly, he’s very talented with his, he makes light fixtures and he also teaches classes. But what he taught us in that class is if you’ve ever wired a dollhouse, you’ve probably maybe use the tape with those little annoying little brands that you have to pound into the side to make a connection, but you have to pound it into the woods. And it just there are pain. So that’s how I actually what I used in my last house, but what he had told us if you don’t take over those are really protect them, the glue that you’re using for probably your wallpaper, it’s what most people do, the glue that you’re using will wear it down, and I’ll corrode those brands in eventually your electricity won’t work in your house. And that’s what happened to me. So if I only would have known to tape over those, but I didn’t. So he taught us a technique on how to solder. So you don’t have to one use those annoying Brad’s into your electricity in your house will last forever. So it’s a really fascinating class. He also taught us a lot about LEDs, and, you know, 12 volt versus three volts, which take a lot of notes. And I’m sure when I do a project like that, again, I’ll have to revisit it because it always I’ll be honest, makes my brain hurt. But hopefully I can do a blog post on that soon. So for those that think, you know, using electricity, and Dalhousie makes you kind of quiver, like you don’t want to do it kind of scared. Maybe this blog post will help you. So watch for that in the future. So that was Wednesday night. And then Thursday, I woke up and I got to help my friend, Mary, Mary Jay, help. I’m saying Mary Kay, help with her wholesale show. So she invited me along, I kind of wanted to see, you know how a wholesale business works, the ins and outs of it versus retail. So she I helped her? Well, it was pretty interesting. It’s very busy. I did expect the wholesale show to be larger. They were probably maybe 15 to 20 people selling at the wholesale show. So I expected that to be quite large. But it wasn’t. She said that was pretty normal for for a show. It was very, very busy. And she did amazing. And so that was fun. I learned a lot. And I also got to shop, which was fun. Now if you you’re like how can I buy wholesale versus retail. And for those that don’t know, it’s it’s usually about double retail versus wholesale. But you would have to have a business license. So when you say next year, if you want to go to the wholesale show, you would have to just fill out a form, show me your business license, your retail number, and they will let you in. So that was Thursday and Friday. It’s always a two day thing. So I helped her on Thursday, Friday. And then after I was done, I got to go and I kind of wandered the sales floor and just got to see everyone set up.

And at that time, i It was just wow. It was so many vendors, so many amazing, amazing pieces. There was probably around I don’t quote me, I don’t know the exact number. But it was probably around 250 to maybe 300 There was three rooms in this ballroom filled. And I can’t even I can’t even describe to tell you what it was like it was just, it was almost overwhelming after a while. But it was amazing. There was some amazing pieces, the ones that come to mind, and I’ll put this in my blog post. And I’ll give you a link so you can see visuals of the things that I saw that I was just intrigued by. So a couple of artists that really caught my eye were one Peter Grable, I never got to meet Peter, because he wasn’t at his booth when I was there, but I got to see his work. And let’s just say it was pretty darn amazing. What he does is he had Florida bouquets and 112 scale, and they were made of miniature like mini mini seashells. I can’t even imagine I would love to know like how much time he spent on those pieces. And where he found his seashells. So maybe I’ll have to reach out to Peter and maybe even have a man an episode here on the podcast to see about his work. Also, with his work came some pretty high price tags. He had only five pieces, I think five or six and one was $5,000. That was the highest one I think and then it went down to a thing the other ones were about 2500. So it was Peter Grable and I will put all this in a blog post. So you guys can have visuals and I’ll put their web address things like that. So you can see what I’m talking about. I also got to see my friends at the itty bitty mini mart. They were actually in the wholesale show, right next to us. So I got to spend, and chit chat with them a lot. And then they were in the retail side also. So it was fun to see them again. One person that I loved his name Gildan Wolf. He is from big timber, Montana. And I think he said he was 82 or pleases somewhere around there. And please don’t quote me on that. It could be a little younger, I’m not sure. But he has some beautiful handcrafted furniture. That, wow, just amazed me. It’s in full scale, one tall scale. And it let’s just say all the doors open and the locks work. And it was just the craftsmanship was amazing. I actually asked him okay, do you have family? Who are you teaching your secrets and your skills and your techniques do? And he said, no one has family is interested. So I told him I am I’ll come out to Montana. And you can show me all your secrets and traits and trades and techniques. So he agreed. So if anyone wants to go and learn how to make miniature furniture, he was definitely willing to teach them when his ways. So it was really fun to see him. I should say that I just loved walking around the show. And just talking to people I really to be honest, didn’t buy much. I’ll post the things that I did buy. But I didn’t say I was proud of myself. I personally just like talking to people. And just asking questions, much like this podcast, just getting to know them. Why managers? How long have you been doing this? How did you make that and most people were very open to tell me how they created things, which is amazing. Sometimes people get kind of don’t want to tell their secrets. But the majority of the people I talked to were very open and shared a lot. So I was very honored that they did that for me. So one person that I absolutely loved was his name is Voltaire. Arnold, he’s from Germany, I believe. And he has all different scales. So he has, I think he even has a scale littler than the one 144 As a scale that micro I mean he had I don’t even know how to describe it. He had a house, like the size of your thumbnail, maybe even smaller. But within that house was a doll house, and it was all furnished. So the scale is just amazing. And so he had finished pieces. And he also had DIY pieces. I told him like there’s no way I could even make that even if you gave me the kit and then instructions. I don’t think I could put that together. But I did find a piece that I loved if his and again, I’ll post it on that blog. It was just so much fun to talk to him.

And to see him. So one of the things with the Tom Bishop show is it is an international show. So you’ll see a lot of people from around the world. I did hear comments throughout the show that the people from Japan, most artists that I guess are there year after year, I did not get to make it. I don’t know if it’s because of COVID or what happened there. But there were a few people that I guess weren’t there that usually are so maybe next year when we go, we’ll get to see those Japanese artist. Another person I loved her art. I briefly got to talk to her because it was Friday night and she was hanging out with Bridget Bridget McCarty. And she has miniature pets and scenes but she’s very whimsical. So you’ll have to check out Bridget and loved her things. I also loved to talk to and I met Teresa with I hope I’m saying her name right with the grapevine. And what’s really fun about her is I was talking to her about this miniature retreat that I’m doing here in Wisconsin in October. And she’s like, I do that same retreat, and she’s from Tennessee. So that really, really small world so I’ll get to see her again. And come October when I do my retreat, which I can’t wait to share more about that in a different episode. So much to share, but we’ll keep it at the show for this episode. Another person that I love to talk to and he was actually rooming right next to me was Scott’s lighting. And he’s from cable Wisconsin. It’s a little bit up north north would be west of me. But hey, same state. So I was pretty excited to see him. He had some really amazing lighting. Just he’s very, very, very talented. So I was excited to get to meet him. I also talked with the table, a booth that they had set up about the international guild of miniature artisans, or igma, as they would call it. And she was showing me about the guild show in the school that they have. It’s actually in September. And I would have signed up right then in there. You know, but one has a family and it is a week long. But for any of those that don’t know, there is a school that you can go to, to learn how to make miniatures. And what’s cool about that is they also have a scholarship that you can when he’s got to apply for like any scholarship, and then you can get to go I don’t know if it’s, I haven’t really looked into it yet. But I don’t know if it’s, the whole thing is free, or just certain classes, but it’s something to check out for sure. You just have to go to IGM To find out more information. So who knows, maybe I’ll get to go to I think it’s in Connecticut. I always wanted to go to that part of the country. So who knows. So those are the couple of people Oh, when I got to see detail miniatures, I met them at the last show that I was at, and I was thrilled to see them again. And he makes some amazing minute or laser cut pieces. And so him and his husband were there selling and they are from Omaha, Nebraska. So it was fun to see them again. So that was the show. Um, I did that again on Friday night and Saturday. For those that want to take more classes. They definitely had, you know, the whole weekend was booked classes that you could have booked. I just was really busy with the wholesale show. And well, I wanted to talk to people and meet people. So I didn’t take any more classes. But there were some pretty amazing ones that you could have taken. Also there was in the igma. I think with ACHEMA. There was an auction that I didn’t get to go to because I was helped taking down the wholesale show, but know that there is an auction. And that I think it was Yeah, Friday night. So that was kind of the time Bishop show. Then when I woke up on Saturday, I headed out to another miniature show, which is about 80 miles away. And the drive was in horrible. Maybe it’s because it was a Saturday morning. But it wasn’t too bad. Not like the drive there on Tuesday. But it’s a show that my friend Teresa puts on its T and D miniatures. And yeah, I think she had around 20 Other. I actually she had I think 35 This time, other vendors. And it’s just so it’s a smaller type show. But I have to say the price eggs are a little smaller. And

overall the show was amazing. I met some really amazing people there to my family wanted me home, you know, in the early afternoon and let’s just say I talked too much and I was I didn’t get home until way late. But some people that I want to just shout out that I met there were Lisa with a wee bit teeny managers. She or modern minis. She was actually the one that was on my last podcast. She’s going to be doing the Las Vegas show. So it was really nice to actually see her in person and meet her because she was just on the last episode. So that was fun. And then I also got to meet Karen with a pocketful of wishes. I met her at the last show and it was nice to see her again. I think she does every single one of Teresa’s shows. It’s her and her husband and they travel around. They’ve been doing it they said for 35 years. So it’s nice to see them again and she’s she’s an amazing artist she has she does florals she does wood things she does actually a variety. She has a large table. I also got to meet Suzanne of Suzanne’s miniatures. She is from I believe Missouri. It was really fun to talk to her and meet her and then always to see my friend Teresa, the one that puts on the show. She’s TND miniatures and she has a very large table. Teresa actually is next show. She has one coming up here soon in Ann Arbor, Michigan. And then she’ll be in Cleveland, a weekend of my birth They may 21. And then should we back in Wisconsin for those that live close to me, and walk a shot, and that’s in June. So I’ll put a listing of all the shows, I believe it’s that they’re already listed on the mini But I also put it in a blog post. I know that there’s she has one thing Kansas City, Minnesota, Indianapolis, St. Louis, where she’s from, and then I believe back in Chicago in November. So if you want to check out one of her shows, I highly recommend it. She also has classes. And they’re much more affordable than the ones in the Tom Bishop. So that is my experience in a nutshell, I, it was four days of Heaven. I loved it. I loved the class, I love the wholesale, the retail meeting people. And I have to say the dry back wasn’t awful. But maybe it’s just because I knew it was coming, you know, on the way there, it’s a new experience, you don’t know what to expect. So maybe that’s why it was so scary. But I highly recommend that you check out a show in your area. There’s ones all over the US and you just have to research and I bet you can find one in your area. So I would love to hear what shows you’re gonna go to or it’s on your bucket list, or ones that you have been to in the past that you absolutely love. And you think that I should go to? Because I think I need to go to another one. Before I know that I’m going to the one in Las Vegas in February of 23. But I think I need to hit up some more because that that’s a long time to wait. Right. So I hope you enjoyed today’s episode. And if just please reach out. I’d love to hear from you. You can find me on social media at the mini the mini district or Mike drop miniatures. Sorry. And again, thanks for listening and I hope to hear from you soon. Thanks, guys.







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