Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!!!! And My 20th Anniversary Bear Drawing

Even though every year seems to fly by faster than the previous one, it never ceases to amaze me! It really feels like only yesterday I was writing this blog post full of plans and anticipation for 2013! Re-reading the post just moments before the calendar page will be turned to 2014, is a gentle reminder to me that time waits for no one. Oh, who am I kidding--there's nothing gentle about it! The plans that did not yet come to fruition are hitting me like a ton of bricks! I want to yell, "Hey, wait 2013! I wasn't finished with you yet!"

In spite of that I plan to finish the year on a positive note. After all, I did accomplish some of my goals and it really has been a good year. I did create bears and animals for five shows. I even finished a doll, which has been on my list of goals for several years now, and I was very pleased with her!  A total of 43 bears, (and kitties and a doll) were created by me in my studio this year and they all found homes!

Also, the year started with three of my pieces being awarded TOBY Industry's Choice Awards, and these two fellows were awarded Best of Show by the show visitors.

And, while I didn't do the drawing for my special 20th anniversary give away in March, I have been collecting the names of all of those who have adopted bears this year in this jar There are 43 entries which I have double checked in my record book.

I have a special anniversary bear near completion- he will be ready by Saturday, and my husband drew the lucky winner tonight! Congratulations to Doug Bost! And thank you so very much to all of my collectors! I could not enjoy this wonderful business without you all!

Sorry about the sideways video...I should know my camera doesn't automatically rotate videos like it does photos, but I think you can see it anyway!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Hunt Valley Teddy Bear Show

November has been a very busy month with two holiday bear shows one weekend after another. I had hoped to do a preview of my show pieces before the shows but the day before we left for Hunt Valley Maryland, our computer crashed fatally! We had already purchased a new one and were going to transfer data when we had the time, but it had to wait until we got back.

So, instead of a preview I have for you a review! First up, Hunt Valley Christmas Holiday Teddy Bear Show and Sale which took place on November 10. It was a great show and after having missed it last year I was glad to be back. It went very quickly and I really enjoyed seeing artist and collector friends again. I took 9 bears with me and they all found their new homes. I will post a photo of my table once I figure out how! (I'm still learning the new computer!) Here are individual photos of the bears:

First up are Haiyan and Little Song. I named my big panda Haiyan after a collector of my work, because I thought it was a beautiful name. I was a bit alarmed to find out that it was also the name of the deadly typhoon in the news the day of the show. I wanted to keep the name though, and was rewarded by meeting, at the show another Haiyan who was pleased to meet a sweet panda who shared her name, rather than a devastating storm! ( I took her picture but it's still on the camera too!) Haiyan and Little Song were adopted first thing and I am happy to say they went home together!


Little Song

Next up are three classic fellows! I really enjoy making traditional Teddy Bears. Their faces just speak to me! These are Simon, Silas and Samuel.

Simon , Silas, and Samuel

I also made three bears using lovely dense Tissavel synthetics. These are luxury fabrics- as soft as they look. The scissor sculpting on their faces takes quite a long time but they are worth it!
Meet Frasier, Nigel, and Linus.


And finally a sweet faced mohair fellow wearing a cozy wool scarf named Luke! 


And that's all for now. In the interest of keeping my blog post from growing too long and in getting me down to my studio to work on bears, I'll close now and review the online show tomorrow!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Panda-monium and November Show Previews

What is black and white and spread all over my studio? Pandas! I have been wanted to do some more black and white pandas for a long time (in fact one of these fellows has been in progress since July).  I had three different lengths of the dense alpaca fur, I made three pandas in different sizes for my upcoming shows.
Let me introduce them to you. First up is Peppermint Pandy. This festive fellow is my preview piece for the Holiday Treats online show November 15-17, 2013 at www.teddiesworldwide.com . The preview has started so please visit the site to see many other lovely holiday themed bears and vote for your favorites. Then be sure to return in two weeks to attend the show. Each artist is allowed to preview only one bear, so Peppermint Pandy is the only bear for the online show I can share with you now.

Peppermint Pandy

The next two pandas are as of yet un-named. They will both be going with me to the Holiday Treasures Teddy Bear Show  hosted by Teddy Bears on Vacation and Collins Gifts to be held Sunday November 10, 2013 from 10am-3:30pm in Hunt Valley, MD.

Large panda- approximately 18"

Wee panda- 9"

"It's friendlier with two"~ Winnie the Pooh

I didn't intend to make them a pair, but don't they look sweet together?

I have quite a few more bears, but I won't be sharing the rest until I have decided which bears I am taking to which show, since I cannot preview any of the online show bears. It won't be long though, so watch this space!

Happy Halloween!

This post is a day late I suppose, but my brother and his wife will be hosting their Halloween party tomorrow and I wanted to share the costume accessories I embellished. A hand-me-down witch hat and a pair of  emerald green bridal party shoes from the thrift store will make the perfect complement for my black dress-especially now that I have given them a make over! I had so much fun with these.

And here is a Halloween bear I created from one of my "classic bear" patterns! His name is Boo. I had just as much fun decorating his hat as I did my own!

Asleep in my studio?

I don't think I have ever neglected my blog this long. Sorry, Friends! It has been so long since I have posted anything here that you might think I have been asleep in my studio, but I have not! (The kitties do occasionally though.) I have just been very, very busy. After the July online show, I did manage to get a few of my orders finished, but there are still more to go. I took an online class for school, and school started for both my sons and myself (I teach art at an elementary school) and that takes a large chunk of my time. I have been working, though. Recently, I have been busy creating for two shows coming up fast.  Previews coming soon!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Polars, Pandas and Plans.

I tried very hard to get both my panda and polar bear finished and listed in time, but life has a way of foiling my plans! Nothing is wrong, so no worries, but I have been so busy with my family's needs that bear making time was much more scarce than I thought it would be. I was only able to get the little polar bear finished (she is on the available page now) and while I will be listing the panda soon, I am not going to give a time for his listing at this time because falling short of these commitments I make is as frustrating to me as it is to you my dear collectors! I will give a "heads up" to all of my mailing list before the panda is listed though!
Thank you so much for your patience and I hope you'll enjoy meeting Nova. See the "Available" page for more photos!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


I mentioned in my last post that I had two more bears in progress which didn't get finished in time for picnic. I had planned to list them on my website July 6th, but I need to delay that for one week for a couple of reasons. The first and most obvious is that they won't be finished! I have taken a sort of impromptu vacation this week enjoying some family time over the holiday week. Also, our computer has died and while I can check email and post a text only blog from my Kindle, it isn't much good for editing photos, or taking them for that matter.

I also wanted to let my collectors know that I now have 25 names in my jar for the 20th anniversary drawing for a one of a kind bear which I will be doing at Christmastime!  For each bear or animal adopted this year,  January 1,2013 to December 1, 2013, I will put the collector's name in the jar. 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Teddy Bear and Friends Picnic!

I have been having such a good time getting my bears ready for the online show and I have been dying to share them. I am writing this post just a few short hours before the show begins but I must wait to post it until show time. I was going to have eight bears, but have finished just six for the show and hope to have the other two ready for my website next week. I am especially excited about these "smaller" fellows I have been doing. They are such a sweet size for holding, and they have loads of detail! Three of them are made from some new Tissavel imported synthetic fur which is just delightful to work with!

Huey was introduced last week:


Joining him are two more 14 inch Tissavel fur bears, Ari and Dewey:





Sam, a 15" bear made from wonderfully dense alpaca and mohair blend fabric, joins the picnic as well!



And last but not least, are the wee ones Burgundy and Latte who are made of dense alpaca.



I hope you will visit the show!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Teddy Bear and Friends Picnic--the preview has begun!

Hello!!! This is Huey! Huey and his friends are getting ready for a special summer picnic and you are invited!

It is the Teddy Bear and Friends Picnic online show and sale and it will take place in two weeks. This show includes 75 juried Teddy Bear (and other soft sculpture) artists from all over the world! Visit www.TeddiesWorldwide.com or click on the link  to the right on my blog page to see a special preview showing one creation from each of the participating artists, and vote on your favorites in each catagory!

More photos of Huey to show you his sweet smile and handsome profile. I just love this guy!


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Philadelphia Artist Doll and Teddy Bear Convention

I can't believe it has been nearly three weeks since the Quinlan Artist Doll and Teddy Bear Convention in Philadelphia and I still have not posted a review. This is partly because I have been quite busy with school (teaching) and with my sons' school and sporting events, but mostly because it was so wonderful that I am sure mere words--and certainly not my crappy cell phone pictures---will do it justice!

I was working right up until the moment we left, as usual, and took the following photos of my six pieces just before getting them packed to travel. And then I forgot to pack my camera!!! I nearly cried when I realized it. Well, honestly, I did cry a little, but hey, it was late, I was really tired and I had a massive headache. One day I will get it together, and I will be able to attend shows (one of my favorite things about the Teddy Bear business) without winding myself into a big ball of stress beforehand. It wasn't this day though.

Here are the photos of my show bears (the doll is in the previous post) which I am pleased to report all very quickly found new homes.

Ferdinand and His Puppet

Remi and His Puppet


Jumping Jack!

As I said, the convention was amazing. It was even better than last year. The Artist's Signature Gallery was so full of incredible dolls, sculptures, and bears, and it was standing room only for the gallery visitors! It was really difficult to vote for my favorites, however the winners were no surprise as their pieces were so spectacular! Wish I had photos...

The workshops available all looked fun and I even did a presentation of my paw pad techniques. I took "Sculpting a Child's Head" taught by Diane Keeler. I wanted to share a photo here of my classwork. I went to take one today and... well, as scattered as I have been lately I suppose this is not a complete surprise... but I've completely lost my head!!! It was a fantastic workshop with a great teacher, and it was a pretty good head, too. I guess I'll show you when I find it.

I took some cell phone photos of other people's workshop creations though. Sue Van Natten taught a jewelry making class when students made these delightful charm necklaces!

Sharon Barron taught a workshop on finishing a lovely red mohair sailor bear!

I fell in love with this bear from his photo and really wanted to take this workshop as well, but it was at the same time as Diane Keeler's so Sharon very sweetly made up a kit for me and I finished it when I got home! Here is my finished bear with a little friend I purchased from Sharon as well!

Here are a couple of pictures of my table...I've GOT to bring my camera next time!

The challenge galleries were a lot of fun too--Dolls by Bear Artists, Bears by Doll Artists, and Funk and Junk--I just didn't get any good pictures of them.

If you ever have a chance to attend this show I highly recommend it!!!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Adventures in Dollmaking! (Rotkäppchen)


I have been wanting to post about this project for a while, but I had been too busy actually finishing her for the Artist Doll and Teddy Bear Convention in Philadelphia to have any time to write! I made her for a special challenge gallery which was part of the show; bear artists were challenged to create a doll, and doll artists were challenged to create a bear. She is not my first doll, though. I have been sculpting whenever time allows since 2003. Unfortunately, "whenever time allows" = "almost never", and I rarely finish anything I begin because when you wait more than a year for time to finish something, it can lose it's enchantment. I am so glad this little girl, who I started in September (click here and here to see  posts about the sculpting of her head), did not share the fate of the other disembodied heads in my studio!

I loved every minute of making her and I loved how she turned out. The most enjoyable thing about making her was that I had no idea what I was doing!!! Well, that is not entirely accurate, I suppose. I have gained some skills over the years that fit nicely with what I was trying to do. I have been blessed enough to take sculpting classes from several world reknown doll artists. I can sew, and I have been honing my pattern designing skills since I was about ten...

The portrait painting classes I took last year really helped me with the painting...

I also took a class on wig-making, and learning to tame my own frizzy hair was useful as well!~

I guess I don't mean that I had no idea what I was doing, but it felt so different from making the bears because I don't yet have a "way of doing things" with the dolls. I have chosen to concentrate my artistic efforts for the last 20 years on designing and making Teddy Bears, and by now I have certain things that I always do, and I am pretty confident each bear will come out pretty close to the picture I have in my head. Who knew how the doll might turn out--and that is what was so exciting!

It brought to mind how I worked when I made things as a child. I recall one of my first doll making adventures. I had seen a picture of a cloth baby doll in a magazine and wanted to make one. My mom supplied my brother (often my partner in creative adventures) and I with an old sheet, needles and thread and stuffing --and when she saw what we'd come up with, she even bought us some yarn for the hair! We drew our pieces right on the sheet with markers and cut them out and sewed them. We didn't worry about mistakes, because we weren't afraid to try again if it didn't work.

That was just the way it was with this doll. The first pair of legs were too thin, so I made some more. I thought the bamboo skewer I put in the leg as an armature might be too flimsy, so I looked around for something and found a large knitting needle. I hate using elastic, but found that thin ribbin works and adds a sweet detail to the sleeves and drawers! She was going to be a brunette, but I loved the pale blond with the burgundy fabric for the cape. I began with a picture in my head to guide me, but I also followed where the doll lead me. I'm glad I did! I wanted her to look like a storybook illustration in 3-D and I think I have achieved that.

I was pleased and flattered that she was "adopted" very quickly at the show gallery, but I must admit I would not have been sad in the least to have had to bring her home to my studio to stay. Sometimes people ask me how I can let the bears go when I make them. I can because I know I will always make more. She was harder to let go, but I suppose I'll just have to make more dolls!