Thursday 29 November 2007
Wednesday 28 November 2007
Two of the calls I received yesterday were from UK magazine advertising departments asking me if I would like to advertise with them ... I wonder if the new year is a tough time for raking in advertising revenue by any chance?! However, I did give the possibility of advertising some serious thought and decided it wouldn't hurt to have my bases covered over the next couple of months, so promptly accepted the opportunity to book my usual small ad in Teddy Bear Scene magazine and the offer of a full page 'Pawtrait' in Teddy Bear Club International's gallery pages. I'm quite excited about the full page pin-up as you can imagine!
'Pawtrait Gallery' Teddy Bear Club International Gallery January 2008 issue
'Pawprints' ad Teddy Bear Scene magazine February 2008 issue
Anyhow, battling aside, I'm relieved to tell you I have finished the graphic work and this morning emailed the relevant files through to the magazines' advertising departments. All I have to do now is sit back and wait for publication! How exciting!
If you would like to purchase either of these specialist magazines, my full page ad will be published in the January issue of Teddy Bear Club International (on sale December 17th) and my little 'pawprints' ad will be found in the February issue of Teddy Bear Scene magazine, which will be on sale in January 2008. Both magazines can usually be found in WH Smiths, or alternatively can be purchased online by visiting the publishers' websites ... www.teddybearscene.co.uk and www.teddybeartimes.com
Thursday 22 November 2007
And the moral of the story is? Well, the moral of this story is: 'don't let your kitten press buttons on the keyboard while you are trying to work'! Puddle is such a helpful soul and by lazily reaching out a black furry paw to press the 'control' button while I was trying to scroll, she successfully reduced my text sizing to almost invisible! Kitties eh?!
Tuesday 20 November 2007
After the success of my bronze, blue and silvery eyes, I've been dying to paint some green eyes. Finding the perfect shade hasn't been easy, but eventually I came across what I needed, did a little colour blending and hey presto, this is the result. Pretty eh? I can't wait to put them to use!
The Christmas beadwork book I bought last week has been calling to me ever since. The pictures in it are pure eye candy and I've been absolutely itching to make something beaded and pretty, so yesterday started to work on some snowflakes. I may use them to decorate my Christmas tree, or even as an accessory for a Santa's Sack bear, but as is always the case, I need a few more beads to really get going with this project. Needless to say, one thing has led to another and now I'm waiting for the delivery of those 'few more beads'. I have a feeling this bead compulsion could take hold!
I remember taking a class in Indian beadwork when I was at school (many, many moons ago) and I think that must have been what gave me a taste to relearn a few beading skills. I love the idea of using beadwork for embroidered embellishments and accessories for example, so who knows, maybe I'll even treat myself to a little beading loom to play with soon!
Before I fill my favourite mug with steaming hot coffee and take it up to my workroom, I must just show you the beautiful swirly, Schulte mohair I was telling you about. This picture really doesn't do the dense, silky soft pile sufficient justice, but it does at least give a taste of what's to come! Since taking this picture, I've marked out my pattern, cut it out, trimmed each of the individual pieces and started sewing ... I'm planning a 23" ish bear from this fabric and today, I'm going to begin work on his head ... I'll be back with photos to show you as soon he is completed and the rain has stopped!
Saturday 17 November 2007
I didn't want to over clutter this bear because the mohair really needs to speak for itself, so I have kept his overall design traditional, utilising plain black glass eyes and a neatly hand embroidered black nose. Do you recognise the ribbon? Yes, it's in the picture I posted yesterday, one of my festive findings from my local haberdashery! It's a beautiful shade of burnt orange and it is embossed with glittery holly leaves ... just perfect for my Brandysnap bear!
Next week I'm going to start work on the fabulous piece of Schulte mohair I told you about, it's definitely time I made another big bear! I have a panda cub to make for a collector too, so all in all, I think I can look forward to a most enjoyable week's bear creating!
Friday 16 November 2007
Naturally, with all things festive filling my head this week, I couldn't resist popping to my favourite haberdashery after I'd visited the Post Office. I spent a very pleasant half hour browsing and came home with an assortment of pretty bits 'n pieces for my planned Santa's Sack bears. It's times like this when I wouldn't swap my job for all the tea in China!
Thank heaven's Susan at Bear Basics in the UK is now stocking a fabulous range of luxurious Schulte mohair; I'll be like a kid in a candy store selecting my special fabrics for this project. Which reminds me, I've just received the most lush piece of mohair from them, and I am simply dying to start work on it ... watch this space!
Before I forget, I must tell you, I have another new bear for Santa's Sack tomorrow. I can't show you pics just yet though, because I've only just sewn his ears on and it's too dark to take pics now, but I promise I'll share him with you tomorrow. His name? Oh go on then! He's called 'Brandysnap' ... I hope you have time to pop back tomorrow to take a peek!
Wednesday 14 November 2007
When I first set out to create Snowdrop, I wasn't sure which direction to take, so I simply let the bear evolve. Sometimes that's they way it is with bear design. Snowdrop's face was pretty without the tiny eyelids, but a little voice in the back of my head told me to try them and hey presto, she burst into life! Fundamentally, Snowdrop is a classically styled teddy bear, but with a smidgeon of contemporary wizardry, she has become a totally modern Miss!
I will be working on more bears for Santa's Sack over the coming weeks and I'll be back to share them with you, as they come to life!
Friday 9 November 2007
I didn't really have time to tell you much about him yesterday before he was whisked away did I? So now for a mini history lesson! Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin ... (don't worry, I promise I'll be very brief!)
Needless to say, centre-seam bears are not a new concept in the art of teddy bear making. They have been around for as long as teddy bears have been being created. In fact, the original centre seam Steiff bears were created with economy in mind, using a split gusset pattern to maximise use of the fabric, so only one in seven bears on the production line was created with a centre-seam head. Those fabulous vintage centre-seam Steiff bears are now extremely sought after and usually sell for thousands of pounds.
Now wouldn't it be wonderful if that were the case with dear Stanley in a hundred year's time?!
Thursday 8 November 2007
'Serious Stanley' 23"
One thing's for sure, the bears still keep begging to be created!
Tuesday 6 November 2007
Many local Post Offices are facing closure in the UK and it makes my blood boil. The Post Offices work hard to support local communities, offering us an invaluable service; to lose them would be wrong, plain and simple, so I try to do my bit to support my local Post Office, even if it isn't necessarily the most convenient option for me. After all, this Post Office has supported me and my work for many years and for that I am grateful.
Saturday 3 November 2007
Hocus Pocus 18" ... destination USA!
Benny's new owner was frantically trying to contact me from Australia through the night, but unfortunately this weary bearmaker had nodded off at 2am GMT and was in a deep sleep far away in the Land of Nod, on the other side of the world, when the flurry of 'Benny' emails dropped into her inbox! Luckily all was put to rights at breakfast time this morning, which was also the time Toddy's new owner claimed her special Winter Warmer bear! So, before I had even found time to eat my bowl of fruit 'n fibre, all six show bears had been snapped up by eager collectors.
Duffy 17" ... destination United Kingdom!
My day has been spent organising admin for each of the sales, updating my website and drinking copious cups of coffee in an effort to stay awake. I think I'm due an early night tonight; this ol' lady doesn't cope well with late nights these days and her head is all a-blur!
Benny 20" ... destination Australia!
Barney 20" ... destination United Kingdom!
I need a rest right now, but be assured, I will be eager to prepare for our next BAO online show as soon as it is announced in 2008, because I really enjoy this way of exhibiting my work to collectors. It's friendly, fun and very exciting!
Friday 2 November 2007
On Sunday I drove the bears all the way to Hampshire so they could have official photographs taken, courtesy of our official 'All Bear' photographer, none other than my lovely sister Tina! (Incidentally, please excuse little 'Farthing's' presence in the centre of this official 'Winter Warmers' photograph ... he was caught up in the pre-show excitement and couldn't resist making up the numbers for the photographer! The official photographs will be used for promotional purposes throughout the coming months and as usual, Tina has excelled herself on our behalf! I'll share more of them with you at a later date.)
Now all that's left for me to do is make sure I'm still awake when the show goes live at http://www.bear-artists-online.com/wwintro.html at midnight tonight (GMT)!
I'm hopeless at staying up late, so don't doubt it will be a struggle. I think my best bet will be to set my computer volume high, so that when email lands I'm audibly 'nudged' by the AOL 'you've got mail' lady!
Right, that's my lot for now! I'm going to pamper myself at the hairdresser's this afternoon; a treat well earned!
Incidentally, if you would like to see more of my clever sister's photography, please take a moment to visit http://www.tinaallinghamphotography.co.uk/
I do hope you enjoy sharing our Winter Warmer Show tomorrow and most of all, I hope the show brings you the bear of your dreams x
Thursday 1 November 2007
Each year I receive the Teddy Bear Guide, it makes me realise just how many of my own years have been spent creating teddy bears. It's somewhere in the region of thirteen so far, so as you can guess, I've seen many comings and goings over that time.
This year I am saddened to flick through the current list of bear artists only to find that some of our most esteemed UK makers are no longer advertising their work, presumably because they have moved on to pastures new after so many long years creating their beautiful bears, as in the case of Janet Clark whose unique work I was talking about with you, in an earlier post.
In particular this year, I noticed Frank Webster, Sandra Wickenden and Sue Schoen have quietly withdrawn from the Guide. So, I'd like to take this opportunity to say thank you for the inspiration and generous support, including freely given hugs, shared with me throughout my own years as a bear maker.
One thing's for sure, it's always worth purchasing a copy of the 'UK Teddy Bear Guide' to keep bang up to-date with the latest goings on in the bear world! Thanks for another great Guide Hugglets!
I hope you enjoy sharing my blog and politely request that you do not copy either text or photographs without my permission.