I am sitting here thinking about the Teddy Bear Artist Signing event I just attended at My Friends and Me, and wondering if any other Teddy Bear lovers get a “bear show buzz”. I do. I call it a buzz because it is a warm, giddy, happy feeling, and I can’t stop smiling, even as I sit here by myself with just the memory of it.
See how happy I am?
What is it about such an event that leaves me basking in happiness for days afterward? It is a combination of lovely atmosphere, beautiful Teddy Bears, and friendly people. The signing event on June 18th at My Friends and Me in Leesburg, Virginia had all of these in abundance. Maria Balser, the shop’s owner, has been planning events such as this one twice a year since she opened her lovely shop 25 years ago.
Maria and her husband Milton.
The shop’s unique setting in a historic log cabin is just the beginning of the warm welcoming atmosphere of the show. Its interior is arranged with a comfortable couch and armchairs around a floor to ceiling stone fireplace, inviting artists and collectors to sit and chat about bears or other happy things. For the event, Maria had a table beautifully set with all manner of tasty finger foods, as well as lemonade and tea.
Then there are the bears. Arranged on the mantle piece and hearth, peeking out of glass cabinets and vintage china hutches, riding in old fashioned prams and wagons, and even sitting on the couches beckoning you to sit and join them, are beautiful Teddy Bears from artists all over the world. I could have spent hours just looking at them all. For the show, Maria spotlighted the work of four artists and I was very pleased to be counted among them. Bill and Jean Ashburner from England work as team to create beautiful, natural looking bears whose details and jointing system makes them seem almost alive. Rosalie Frischman from Wisconsin was there as well. Many of her exquisite bears (and dogs and bunnies) were dressed in wonderful handmade dresses, sailor costumes, or dungarees, and each was accessorized like an illustration in an antique storybook. I brought along a grouping of my cuddly, happy bears and was pleased that they all found homes.
Look! It's "my friends and me"!
As much as I love Teddy Bears, I love people even more, and Teddy Bear people are some of the nicest people I’ve met! Maria, her husband Milton, Bill, Jean, Rosalie, the lovely ladies who helped with the show, and all of the collectors were wonderful. Maria warmly greeted guests at the door like dear friends. I don’t doubt that many of them who have been attending the events for years have become just that. Then she took them around to personally introduce them to all the attending artists. It was nice for artists and collectors to have a chance to mingle and talk about those furry friends who brought us all together!
Me, Rosalie Frischman, Bill and Jean Ashburner.