Well, I don't know how long it's taken me (and I don't want to figure it out! lol) but I finally got round to opening a Bearpile 'shop' today! I have six bears listed at the moment and when I get time I will list a few more. Next up is listing on Etsy, where I will also be offering our patterns and maybe the occaisional kit. http://www.bearpile.com/artist.cgi?id=1300 should get you to my page if you would like to check the bears out.
I've been busy designing a couple of new patterns, hopefully I will be able to finish them off and photograph them soon. Summer has hit us early with today being the first Total Fire Ban for the season, and it's not technically Summer til the 1st of December. Saturday I am off to Tooradin to teach another Magnolia class at Bear Essence, which will be another fun day with lots of chat and giggles.. and hopefully some bear making as well!
Well, the last show of the year is done and I almost feel like it's my "New Year". It's a few months before my next show so I am hoping to start a few new projects and design some new patterns. The show deadlines are good for getting me focused but make it hard to act on ideas- either new or old- so to not have any looming feels wonderful! So I've been making a list of things I want to focus on- fingers crossed I can get some things crossed off. I didn't have any new bear pics as yet but I thought I would post this one instead- one of the most fabulous places I went to when I was away, Versailles- and this view down the Grand Canal. Standing there looking at that view was one of the most breathtaking moments I can remember. Pictures don't do it justice. How wonderful it must have been back in Marie Antoinette's day!
Yes, I can't even look at how long it is since I made my last post... ahh what can I say? It's been a super busy time and things have been going on, lots of shows to get ready for! July shortly after the last post, was a trip to Sydney for the Doll Collectors Club show, which went well. Lots of bears and a few dolls went home with new owners, which is always lovely. You might be thinking well yes of course- it's money- but its always more than that. It's so wonderful when something you create brings a smile to somebody's face, even if they don't decide to take it home with them. A couple of weeks after Sydney I was off to Adelaide for the wonderful show put on by Margaret and Kylie. They always do a wonderful job, and even though the show was moved this year it went off fabulously well. I have always enjoyed going to Adelaide, and the people there are so wonderful. So nice to catch up with them. After the show I had a couple of days with my wonderful friend Sarah and her Mum and Sister. We had a great time chatting about bears, sewing bears and even a little trip to the wineries in the Barossa Valley where I did my first wine tasting and we took a little tour of a winery. Lots of fun! Once I got home it was time to prepare for Hugglets! I have been looking forward to this since I was accepted in early May, it seems to be the pinnacle of the Teddy Bear calendar these days:) Lots and lots of work before I headed off to London in early September. What a fabulous time! After the show my wonderful friend Susan had myself and two Kiwi artists, Tracey and Laraine, as houseguests, and made sure we saw lots of fabulous things. Day trips to Bath, the Cotswolds and Brighton, a weekend in Bruges and a few days in Paris. Not to mention lots of trips into London. What a fabulous time! If I give too much detail the post will read like a book! hehe. One of the things I wanted to do when I was there was find some antique/old laces, as I love these for my bears and dolls, and they are not always easy to come by. Well, I found antique lace galore! The Sunday morning we were in Bruges there was a huge antique market, where most of the above pictures were taken, stalls full of lace and one even had millinery supplies- I got a shopping bag full of vintage flowers- anyone who knows me knows I was in heaven:) As you can see there was some lovely old dolls ( in their original clothes in original boxes no less!) and adorable old bears. Don't you love that grumpy one there? Or the big boofy-shouldered one? So much to see...... The other photos are of lovely Bruges, the statue is a Michelangelo sculpture in one of the churches ( I can't remember which church offhand) I don't think you can capture the skill and beauty of something like this in a picture.. imagine sculpting something like this from Marble, no mistakes and adding bits on here like you can with clay! And of course Bruges was filled with the things it's famous for- chocolate and lace! Just about heaven for me:) I somehow managed to stumble across wonderful things to buy for my bears and dolls (and me!!) almost everywhere- I happened to be in London and wandered to Covent Garden on a Monday which happens to be the day they have an Antiques market- more lace:) Then a trip to Camden Passage Market where guess what- more lace! hehe There is also a tiny hole in the wall old Doll and Bear shop here that looked fascinating. So tiny in fact if there was a customer in there, there wasn't enough room for another one:) Well worth searching out if you are in London and like old Dolls and bears though. Well I will sign off for now.. I could go on and on but this post will be way too long!:) I am back home slowly adjusting to the time change... settling down to work to try and get a nice stock up for the Woodend show at the end of the month. Oh, I just realised I didn't say much about Hugglets show! hehe.... It was a wonderful eye opening experience, so many great artists, lots of lovely new and old bears ( I came home with a lovely girl I will probably show off in a later post) and to top it off, I managed to sell almost all my little creations. I hope I can get back again soon! Bye for now
Since getting back from Brisbane I have been at work preparing for the next show, in Sydney. Last year when we went I didn't take any dolls at all, but this time I decided to do some new pieces. Of course neither of them are finished yet! I expect they will be about 24" tall, two different faces that will use the same arms and legs, and each will be finished differently, different hair/eye combos, different outfits. Making bears spoils me, not having to do multiples in an Edition and getting them exactly the same, where as with dolls, if you do an edition you have to make sure you get them as identical as possible. While that is easier than with a bear ( for instance, stuffing doesn't change the shape of a face, or the nose embroidery doesn't change the expression) doing editions of dolls has its frustrations. For instance, ensuring you have enough of a fabric lace trim or flower to finish the number of dolls in the edition... you can bet sure as anything, if you choose something and don't have enough to finish all the dolls before you even start making them, the colour fabric or style of lace you use will be discontinued before you even finish the first one!:) Or maybe thats just me and my bad luck!:) So, madly working away on dolls *and* bears, and a new miniature bear pattern for the upcoming show, as well as planning out what to take to Hugglets. Phew a busy time!
Well, I'm off this weekend to hopefully sunny Queensland! Brisbane specifically, for the Winter Wonderland show ( http://www.winter-wonderland.com.au ) The weather has turned decidely wintery down south in the last few days- not surprisingly since it is Winter after all!:) - so I will be crossing my fingers for some nice sunny days up there. I always look forward to going to shows I haven't been to before, or like this time, one I haven't been to in a while, because it's fun to see new things to admire and buy:) The photos above are a little sneak peak of Victoria's handsome groom, Albert- well at least I think he's handsome, but maybe I am a little biased! As with Victoria (featured in an earlier blog post) , he was designed specially for Bear Essence's Bear Tales pattern 'magazine'. If you make bears (or critters!) this is a wonderful deal, a whole year of pattern booklets posted to you- and Kim gets some wonderful pieces for you to make! Well worth checking out. Back to work for me, lots of bears to finish off before I fly off on Friday afternoon!
Some people will attest to my lack of Photoshop skills (Sarah?? lol)... even "Photoshop for Dummies" is a bit over my head! lol. I've just been trying to add a blurred border to my pics to make them more interesting, my trusty book mentioned above was no help:( Google searching tutorials, the same. Poor Mum came to the rescue, and voila! So here is two posts in one day, because I might forget how to do it again, and I want evidence that yes, I did do it once upon a time:) This is one of my little bears perched on a Mushroom in the front yard. It was a bit smaller than the one I took with Sarah's bear. These mushrooms were so magical looking, I think all up there was 5 or 6 of them over a couple of weeks. Sadly they are all gone now, hopefully they will be back again next year! Now, off to practice mly newfound skill on more photos!
I don't know where the time goes between posts.... I always think I am doing well at keeping up then when I see the date on my previous post I know different!:) Getting ready for a show this weekend, close by here in Melbourne, and teaching classes at Bear Essence. We also lined up next term's classes already! We are doing Babycakes, kind of a large bear for me, and also doing a separate hat class- no bear, just hats, small hats:). I will update the Class section in the sidebar with dates. As usual, classes were a nice mix of familiar faces and new- one of the students had not finished a bear before. It was a nice reminder of how exciting it is to finish that first face:) Thanks all for coming along! Working on some new patterns, and I will probably make them my next blog post:) For now, here's Babycakes, for the next class at Bear Essence....
Not going to IDEX or Toy Fair in January/February this year with a whole swag of new dolls and bears gave me the time and chance to do something I have wanted to do for a few years now- enter the US Magazine contests. Thanks to the staggered deadlines I was able to enter both the TOBY awards from Teddy Bear and Friends, as well as the Golden Teddies run by Teddy Bear Review magazine. After what seemed like an eternity of waiting, the Golden Teddies nominees were announced last week and I was absolutely beyond thrilled to have found out both my entries were nominated in their categories! Bella (top) in the Small, Dressed category and Pirouette (below) in the Miniature, Dressed category. As with the TOBYs, the public's choice vote will follow later in the year.. and as with the TOBYs just having got this far is thrilling and such an honour!
Well, even though I didn't manage to post a sneak preview of some bears *before* the show on the weekend, I am quite pleased with myself that I managed to actually snap a few pics of my new teeny tiny Panda. Mind you this is mostly because of a certain person (thanks Sarah! lol) asking me to!:) This little girl reminds me of a Liquorice Allsort, and only measures about 2" overall. I was pleased that the little ones I made from this pattern were snapped up quickly at the show on the weekend, so I have a few more on the drawing board for the next show! Speaking of the show.... while it *was* a little smaller than before, it was pretty successful for those who did attend. I know I wasn't able to leave my table until after 1pm and by then there was quite a few tables with empty spaces! Kim McDonalds bears were just about wiped out when I managed to go take a look, only two little cuties left.... I was disappointed as I love to admire Kim's work. On other show news, I have signed up for three more shows! eek! Next up for us now is another local show here in Melbourne (will update the show listing when I have the exact address) at the end of May. Then it's off to Brisbane in June for Winter Wonderland- which is kind of amusing to us Southerners since it's hardly Wintery in Brisbane in June, compared to what it will be like in Melbourne!:) Then............... in September... I have been lucky enough to have been accepted into Hugglets show in London! You can imagine how excited I was when I got *that* email! I can't wait!
If you've visited my blog before, you may notice it looks a little different- I finally learned how to fancy it up a bit with a cute background. And I have to say- it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be! Not sure if it will stay this way just yet but at the moment I am quite pleased with myself, even if it was just a matter of copying and pasting codes from the page of a very talented designer:) As for the pics, they are some new patterns we have done. The little Elephant girl is "Eloise" and the bottom two are "Lolly" Both are smaller than my previous patterns, but judging by the response from the show in Sydney, more and more people are getting brave and are coming to the dark side of making tiny bears!
Cheri will be my next class at Bear Essence here in Melbourne. There's two one day classes, either Wednesday May 20th, or Saturday May 23rd. Coming up on May 3rd we have the Melbourne Teddy show, of course I am working madly towards this to have some new things finished! I would love to have some preview pics of a couple of new things I have planned- so lets see if I actually manage to get pictures posted before the show;)
Well back from the Sydney Teddy bear Fair and what a wonderful show Melissa put on- as usual! I always enjoy going to shows, to catch up with the familiar faces, both visitors and traders, and be inspired by all the wonderful work everyone's doing. It spurs me on to come up with something different for next time. Seeing Merilyn Pursell's fabulous sculpted faces, and her use of colour, and Debbie Gunnions new little creations ( Her little ducks were so cute!) not to mention seeing Louise Peer's fabulously perfect work in person, among many. I was also teaching a few days of classes which is fun, again catching up with old friends, meeting new people, learning new things and maybe even teaching someone something they didn't know!:) Seriously though, I am just as likely to learn as the students, which I love. Theres always a new technique or a wonderful talent each person has to share. Sooo you are probably wondering who that is in the picture... Victoria is a new piece I designed for Kim at Bear Essence's fabulous "Bear Tales" pattern 'magazine'. My 'brief' was to make a Bride and Groom pair, so naturally, me being me, I started on the easiest of the two! Next up on my drawing board will be Victoria's Groom, who I think I shall call Albert... ahh naming bears, so hard! The thought of making his jacket is making me jittery already.......:)
As many people would know, specially here in Australia, we have had a bad time recently with bushfires. I took this photo about 8am one morning during the worst of it, the red sun and smoke haze was eerie... One of the fires started just over the ridge in this photo, though fortunately for us the wind was in our favour and kept the fire from our town. Thanks so much to all the firefighters who were there day and night for a month, doing their best to keep us all safe!
Well my first show for the year is rapidly approaching... I had brilliant ideas of having some of my new pieces photographed and previewed here, but as usual, I am running behind and frantically trying to get finished in time.... I guess at least I am consistent!:) I admire those Bear creators who are organised ahead of time, who have all their pieces photographed a week before the show.
I do have one piece photographed.. tho I am tossing up whether I want to sell it or not... I finished this set as a TOBY entry, and I was determined to keep it even though it missed out on a nomination. The three little bears are nestled into a pale Aqua Blue Edwardian ladies leather shoe, and I used lots of my prettiest vintage flowers to finish it off- I had this shoe for about three years just waiting to find the right project to use it with... sometimes it can be so hard to use and then part with special pieces you buy! So I am thinking now I will take it and see what fate decides for me... will I get to keep them or will they find a new home?
Well, I needed some pushing to actually make my first blog post- I 'started' this blog months ago but was finding it hard to think of something to write about! Hopefully the first is the hardest and it gets easier from here... So onto my exciting news... finally, after several years of telling myself I would enter the TOBY and Golden Teddy contests, I did it! And even more exciting, I actually won a TOBY Industry's Choice award in the Miniature Dressed Category. So here's my little girl, Eloise.... she's made from vintage long pile Velvet, with a little lace dress and of course, one of my handmade hats. The competition is very stiff for the Peoples Choice vote, so I am not too hopeful there, but I can honestly say it's thrilling to get this far!