This year’s Tom Bishop Chicago International Show was outstanding. Dealers from around the world came to sell their amazing miniature works of art. The magic actually started on Monday, April 15th with workshops given by artisans throughout the week. Friday brought the very exciting exclusive preview event and sale. Saturday and Sunday the doors were opened to everyone who is in love with miniatures.
Workshops included making a retro chair with designer Kari Bloom, a mid-century modern room with Peter Tucker and creating a Louis XV painted Bergere Chair with Nancy Summers, just to mention of few. There were a total of 78 workshops to attend in all.
The Marriott O’Hare was full of dealers and collectors travelling from everywhere around the globe. Spain, Japan, Canada, India, Ireland, Mexico, England and the United States were all represented at the show. The restaurant and bar at the Marriott were bubbling with excitement and multi-cultural conversation about the newest find or new friend made during the weekend of shopping.
Smallisimo was making sure all the action was covered interviewing artisans and collectors about their experiences in miniatures. One thing was certain, the passion for miniatures is intense whether you are making them or collecting them. This show brings elite and highly skilled artisans together, some of whom, like Pete Acquisto, have made special pieces only available at this particular show.
Every kind of art and design you can imagine is available at the Tom Bishop Chicago International Show. If it is oil paintings you want, Robert K. Cloyd will be happy to talk to you. He even showed us his original painting of Kaye Browning standing with Spencer House (in miniature, mind you). You can purchase lovely mini shoes packed in tissue and a miniature shoe box from Italian designer Patrizia Santi. Beautiful sculptures and great conversation were available at Joe Addotta’s table, and you definitely do not want to miss the exquisite furniture created by long time miniaturist, Ferd Sobol. A visit to the booth of Jim Irish was sure to delight if your heart longed for the only crystal creations available in miniature. And you could not help but be changed by rubbing elbows with other mini elite like Bill Robertson. Be sure to watch the video above to hear about his reign in the minisphere.
The show brings together an almost overwhelming collection of anything that you can imagine in a scaled down version of its original design. This show also showcases the camaraderie of dealers who travel to the shows and see each other just a few times a year, and Tom Bishop has masterfully built that into the plan. There are many stories to share amongst them and much to catch up on since last year’s show. A dealer at the Tom Bishop show must be invited to participate, and this year two new additions of note were included: PRD Miniatures and Wild Wolf Miniatures.
All in all, the experience in Chicago was awe-inspiring. The work of the artisans is truly unbelievable, and gasps could be heard from table to table. The artisans themselves were forthcoming with descriptions and tales from the making of their creations. There was a lot to discover in a few short days. You could learn how to do it yourself from a skilled designer. You could gain an understanding that art in miniature is just as incredible, or possibly more so, as art in life size. You could meet people from all over the world and watch them share a common interest and passion for each other and their miniature creations. Discover it all yourself by making sure you schedule a trip to next year’s show. Although calling it a “show” does not do it any justice. It is really an experience.