Feature,  News

Caroline Simpson – The KDF Bag Lady

How one of our visitors to Kensington Dollshouse Festival ended up creating a very special mini carrier bag for our 2023 LDF Members.

A selection of the miniatures our Members would get in their carrier bag

At LDF, we try to have everything you could possibly want or need for your dolls house, so when a visitor to the show lets me know an item they really wanted to buy isn’t available, I am miserable, but sometimes the stars align & just one conversation & a couple of coincidences can turn into something wonderful.

When I took over the running of the KDF back in 2005, I always wanted to have some special mini souvenirs made for visitors to buy.  Generally, when there was a Royal Celebration or momentous year, I tried to find some way of celebrating this with commemorative china etc.  But I don’t think I ever managed to produce a souvenir for the show itself.

It just so happened that during lockdown I started to acquire & re-sell dolls house collections under the nom de plume of Nom de Plume.  Looking through these collections I started to notice LDF catalogues, LDF mini carrier bags, LDF souvenir mugs, all produced before I was running the show.  Humm..

Then, after the Summer Festival last year, I received an email from Caroline, a miniaturist in the US, who had travelled all the way to London for the Festival for the 1st time.  Of course she bought all sorts of wonderful miniatures at the show, but the one thing she longed for was not there!  A mini LDF carrier bag!

“I subscribed to Miniature Collector, which I would read cover-to-cover, and one day, I saw a picture of a miniature room with a “London Dollshouse Festival” shopping bag placed near a chair. From that moment on, I had to have one of those bags… Finally, 2022 set LDF in my sights and the search for my very own bag would officially be underway. However, as fate would have it, while I left the Festival with many things, an LDF shopping bag was not one.”

Caroline took it on herself to make her own LDF bag & she sent me a photo of her creation.  I was devastated that she had to resort to making her own bag so I decided for sure, I was going to commission a bag for 2023, I just had to find the right person to make them…then after a moment I said  “could you make them for me?”  Of course Caroline was the right person to do this & she was definitely up for the challenge. 

Each year, we commission someone to make a really special limited edition miniature for our LDF Members.  They have had some fantastic treasures over the years, from china by Stokesay Ware to a commemorative photo album of the Queen by Miniatuur Boekbinden. Caroline had mentioned that she could fill her bags with tiny treasures too, the perfect gift for our loyal members, their very own LDF shopping bag!

“My attention to detail increased (while the bag is 1:12 scale, its contents are 1:144 scale). This edition even has a bag within the bag because so many of us are handed such tiny parcels with our purchases inside when we shop at the event. I wanted to replicate that. I’ve experimented with ideas and materials to create the final product and its contents…I’ve built topiaries from scratch, flower pots have been painted to create the appearance of moss, furniture has been handmade and hand-painted. Ultimately, I wanted each member to have a unique item.”

Throughout the last 12 months, Caroline & I have been emailing back & forth about what will be in these precious bags. I am delighted to say that Caroline is making the journey back to Kensington this year to deliver these precious creations & we will finally be able to meet in person.

Our lucky members received one of these bags in their goodie bag this year & we also have a few empty bags for sale that will be available to buy at our Christmas Show.

LDF Memberships will be available to buy from November 1st. Click Here for more information.