I first exhibited in the Miniature Setting class at the Philadelphia Flower Show in 2011. Since then I have exhibited each year (winning First Place and Best of Show twice) and for the past two years I have been Vice-Chair of Miniature Settings. As Vice Chair, I expanded this blog (the only extensive coverage of Miniature Settings), created a miniature plant database, organized all the information exhibitors needed in a handy and informative brochure (updated each year), taught workshops at our annual gathering, created signage for our exhibits, represented Miniature Settings at Flower Show Committee meetings, and spent 10 days each year at the Flower Show preparing for and supporting the exhibitors. This year I also arranged for a loan of film posters from the Bryn Mawr Film Institute which enhanced the miniature movie scenes. I have also been working on a history of Miniature Settings at the Flower Show going back several decades. The next step was for me to become Chair of Miniature Settings which I was scheduled to do at the end of the 2015 show.
During the 2015 show I had lined up a nearly full set of exhibitors for the next year and had organized these experienced miniature artisans into two groups based on the National Park (the theme for next year’s Flower Show) they wanted to replicate in miniature. When I submitted this list to the Flower Show, however, I was informed that for the next year the exhibitors would be chosen based on who had sent in their application form first. This exhibit-by-postmark approach guaranteed places to non-miniaturists who got their applications in early, without any discussion with me or any indication that the swift applicants had experience working with miniatures.
I felt this approach undermined the work in building the quality of Miniature Settings that Ron Hoess (the Chair) and I had worked on for years. It also cut off my future plan to create teams consisting of a miniaturist and a horticulturalist who could each bring their strengths to an exhibit. Obviously my belief that this would create better exhibits was not shared by PHS which insists that running to the post office is the best indication of who can create a quality Miniature Setting. Experience, as one supporter of this postmark approach indicated, should not be the criteria for selection.
So I have decided not to continue as Chair of Miniature Settings at the Philadelphia Flower Show. My love of miniatures and miniature gardening and my deep appreciation for the people who can create fine quality Miniature Settings is not being respected by those at PHS who have initiated this odd and unfortunate selection procedure.
I will continue this blog as a way to advance the creation of excellent miniatures and to promote the work of fine miniaturists. But it will not be covering future Flower Show exhibits nor will it track the production of those future exhibits. It will continue the instructional material that so many have found useful and will use past Miniature Settings to demonstrate production techniques.
Thanks to all who have visited and I hope you enjoyed this coverage of the Philadelphia Flower Show Miniature Settings.