I attended a Mini Flea Market & Potluck this weekend hosted by a club in the San Jose area. These types of events are becoming more common in my part of the country and I suspect, given the current economy, probably in other areas as well. Over the past few years a lot of local miniature shops have closed and shows are shutting down, so for many of us these events fill our obsessive need to enlarge our mini collection. However, there is usually a reason people are getting rid of things, and much of the time it is because it j.d.l.r. (you remember “just doesn’t look right” from my earlier post). So often the shopping is, at best, hit or miss. But if you are observant, you can frequently find a bargain that will make your day, and the challenge of the hunt is what keeps us going.
You can often tell a lot about a miniaturist just by what they are selling. One of the tables contained a plethora of boxes filled with half finished projects, kits with missing directions, and a lot of empty, but fully built shops and houses. As it turns out, the seller was moving from a full sized house to an apartment, and space was now an issue. Sometimes you can also tell how far along in the hobby a person has progressed. For example another table contained lots of new, unopened packages of “almost scale” mini items from places like craft stores and so on. You remember the days when you first started mini-ing and anything small appealed to you. Now you look back on some of those early purchases and ask yourself: “What was I thinking?” These are the things that now end up on a flea market table in the hope someone else will see a more creative use than you did.
The real draw of these events is the potluck. But it isn’t the food, although most of the time there is a very good assortment and it all tastes good as well. But it is the potluck concept that brings folks together to share. It makes it a more relaxing day and gives us a chance to visit friends we don’t see as often as we’d like, discuss projects with each other, and catch up on the latest mini happenings. For many of us who are not in clubs, or whose clubs are inactive, these sales are a social outlet, and that interaction with other miniaturists is far more important than the sale itself. We love to sit and share our purchases with each other, no matter how insignificant they are. And we share the latest news of what we are making, or planning, or what in real life has kept us from doing what we really want to do. Outside of a miniature show, or a club meeting, it is the one time I can socialize with others whose eyes don’t start to glaze over when I talk. If you don’t have one of these mini fleas markets in your area, why not try and start one?
All in all, for me it was a good day and I look forward to the next one in May. For those in California, it’s at Sacramento’s Elegant Dollhouse on May 2nd, and the happy hunt for the elusive, ultimate mini been happening for almost to 30 years now! Maybe I’ll see you there.
3 months ago