Monday, 7 June 2010

Work, rest and play!

Here I am, a weary ol' bearmaker after my weekend showing off in Stratford.  It seems incredible that after all the preparation and worry about being ready, now I'm back home and it's all over and done with!  I confess, the weekend didn't exactly get off to a racing start when we packed up my little Saxo and drove to the end of our road before almost expiring in the heat!  Stuart and I took one look at each other, nodded, turned the car round and drove the few yards back to our own driveway.  Heaven only knows what the neighbours thought as they watched their daft neighbours take one step across the drive, only to load up Stuart's car instead - had they been strapped into my ten year old car in temperatures of 28 degrees celsius minus aircon, they may have more easily understood our antics!

Oh dear, too late for Shakespeare's Birthplace ... again!

Eventually we arrived in Stratford just in time to miss the opening times for Shakespeare's Birthplace for the second year, so my cultural education remains unimproved .. ah well, maybe I'll try harder next year!  We spent a beautiful balmy evening in Stratford nevertheless, mooching along the riverbank and then back to one of the riverside pubs.  We plonked ourselves by the river Avon with beer in hand, watching the world sailing by, before ambling back to the 'Garrick Inn' for a delicious meal and yes, a little more beer!

Stuart watches the world sail by on the River Avon ...

One of the benefits of staying overnight in Stratford, was that on Sunday morning we were able to virtually fall out of bed and in through the show door ... well, perhaps not quite, but as the Civic Hall was just a little way down the road, it meant we could enjoy a traditional full English breakfast in our hotel restaurant before getting into show mode.  Stuart heartily approved of that arrangment I can tell you!

Enjoying our evening by the river.

The show itself was lovely, so well organised, beautifully presented and very sociable.  I thoroughly enjoyed my day and as usual, spent almost every second of it chatting to visitors, friends and basically anyone prepared to listen.  I was absolutely delighted by the kindness of the visitors to my stand and utterly thrilled when the doors first opened and one lovely collector flew to my stand to grab 'Gustav' as quickly as possible.  This gentleman had travelled and queued early to ensure no-one else adopted the special bear he had set his heart on and let me tell you, that passion is what makes a bear maker's world turn!

My stand.

One thing I love about this show, is the opportunity to catch up with bear artist friends ... for us shows are like coming out of a long hibernation and it's so good to be able to actually natter in person with one another!  This year I had the pleasure of my table being positioned between Sue Quinn of 'Bears by Sue Quinn'  a lovely lady I have known about for many years (Sue has been a bear maker for thirty years!) but never met in person before and Shelly Allison the Rabbitmaker, who I have known since before her first show and who makes the most wonderful sculptural rabbits.

The show before opening.

The journey home was heavy with stop-start traffic, so we pulled off at an Oxford service station to refuel with Kentucky Fried Chicken ... (what with that, the beer, the fried breakfast, the homemade chocolate cake and the beautiful duck dinner with dauphinoise potatoes, this has not been a good weekend for my waistline!) eventually arriving home just after 8pm in the evening.  You might think show day would end with the emptying of the car boot and a nice glass of wine, but oh no, several of the bears remained unsold, so hopeful emails had to be answered and their adoptions finalised ...  by the time I eventually fell into bed it was somewhere around 11pm by which time I had lost the ability to think straight!

17" Petal

20" Sweet Dreams

My 'Petal' and 'Sweet Dreams' bears are waiting to hear if they will travel to new homes later this week, so I'm hoping everything goes well for them, please keep your fingers crossed!

8th June update: I am very happy to tell you all the show bears (and doll!) have now found new homes!


  1. Hi Paula!

    I am glad you had a great time at your show in Stratford Upon Avon.
    We went once in that place, also staying overnight and enjoyed that charming village a lot.

    Petal is my favourite of your show bears, hehehehehe.
    I am sure Sweet Dreams and Petal will be adopted very soon as they are gorgeous bears.

    Thanks a lot for sharing the photos with us!

    Big bear hugs,

  2. Lovely to hear from you Sophie! I'm glad you enjoyed the Stratford post and thank you for your kind comments about Petal and Sweet Dreams ... they have both now been adopted!

  3. Sounds like a fun day. We got dragged to Stratford and Shakespeare's birthplace numerous times when I was at school, I don't ever recall feeling 'improved' afterward lol


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