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chris009av Real Deal Bears
Posts: 2,234

OOooopppsss... Susan I think you are refering to my comment about ribbons.
And no, it was not directed at you.
I am very sorry if you felt that it was.
I do have a gripe about people showing off their ribbon, wether red, yellow or blue as awards.
As this is very deciving for others overseas.
I know it looks lovely to have alot of ribbons on websites, but to try to decieve the public into thinking that they are awards is very wrong, and if the bears are not up to standard it discredets all of the aussie bearmakers.
I hope this clarrifies my point of view.

chrissibrinkley Posts: 1,836

Hey there Susan,
I just visited your site and your listing.  You can clearly read each ribbon and see what it is for, so I personally don't think you have a thing to be embarrased about.  It's your business and if you like it that way...leave it.  If your customers have liked it..leave it. Let others do it their own way.   Showcase your ribbons and be happy that you have a wonderful talent to share with collectors bear_flower

(I'm overseas...and I wasn't confused about a thing, no worries luv)

:hug:
~Chrissi

Tami E Tami Eveslage Original Teddy Bears
Milford Ohio
Posts: 2,367

Donna:

The American Toby award is totally based on visual appeal.  And the people who win that award do feel like they have won an award of high standing.  But in reality, the winning of that award is based on a photograph that many times has been enhanced by a computer program

Donna, the photos of TOBY and Golden Teddy Awards are not enhanced by computer, because it is not allowed. (Perhaps I am nieve, but I like to think people follow the rules.) And yes, the the contest is based on visual appeal, but the photographs will show if a bears eyes are in straight, if it's nose is symmetrical and neatly stitched, if the snout is carefully trimmed, if attention to detail is there etc. The judges/voters can see these things in the photographs, certainly not as much as if the bears were seen in person, but they can be seen.

As a person who has won both, I do indeed feel I have "won an award of high standing". Heck, A LOT of people enter these contests. I have also won a few "Best of Show" and First Place award ribbons---yes, I consider them awards--at shows I've attended, and I feel honored by these as well. When I make something I love and find that others love it too, it feeds my passion, just like having collectors adopt my bears. Also, I'm the type of person, who likes to share when something good had happened to me. Perhaps that is what folks are doing regarding their show ribbons. They just want to share. I think that is more likely the truth than that they are trying to deceive collectors.

In the end it is the collectors who are the judges, because they choose to adopt the bears or not.

Daphne Back Road Bears
Laconia, NH USA
Posts: 6,568

I think an "Award Ribbon" is one thing. A "Participation Ribbon" is something else entirely. Both should be respected for what they are and an artist should not deceipt a collector. Both seem to be given out at the Oz competitions but I truly doubt that a majority of collectors understand any of the rankings and colors. And when an artist gets home with one of these ribbons and puts it on their website or in an aution listing (I am NOT referring to anyone in particular - to be honest, I don't pay attention to listings that say "award winning artist" or mention ribbons/awards won - I'm looking at the bear itself!) how many international collectors are going to know the difference between an awarded ribbon for 1st or 2nd place and a ribbon for simply having a certain score because they submitted work, regardless of quality.

As for contests based solely on a photograph of a bear: How many of you can look back at a PICTURE of one of the first bears you made and SEE how "beginner" looking it is? With experience often comes a more polished LOOK, more detail, originality, etc. These qualities alone are what often sell a bear and thus matter most to a collector.

And isn't it our collector's opinions that matter most in the end?

chrissibrinkley Posts: 1,836

Ribbons, Awards, confused collectors....this is all going back to that recent post regarding what collectors think about awards and how much they "affect" a buy. 

I'd like to think of a collector as someone who has an eye for what they want and like... no matter the ribbon, award, society, etc...they're educated to their likes, they have access to the internet, magazines, forums and are able to "judge" for themselves what is and isn't up to their standards.  They buy major appliances, cars, homes and comparison shop via amazon, overstock, and realtor.com every single day.  I don't think any of our collectors are bumping into walls confused over our accomplishments and verbiage on our ribbons.  :doh:  :crackup:     If they like a bear they'll want to take it home, regardless.

:hug:
~Chrissi

Jellybelly Bears Jellybelly Bears
Australia
Posts: 4,066

Lots of discussion still going on about this!  Sandra, Lisa, as people who are directly involved in our shows, why don't we have a formal discussion or topic, in an aussie group, or something less public...then we can all decide as aussies how we want our shows to be run and our awards to be awarded?  can something be put together?  on the ABC Forum, Bearmakers and beyond, or even CC?

I think that it should defininitely be revised...but I would strongly suggest that we keep best of section awards...even the toby's have best of section...it would be wrong to have  just one BOS award.   Lets face it, people who make minis etc...we never get BOS's...so I think that best in each category should be awarded with an 'award'

I also think that a great idea would be to then have each best of category displayed and then the public at the show vote for the best of show...that way, we know each bear is up to standard in workmanship, and we also get the publics viewpoint on the best bear...instead of the judges voting on everything...or it being a popularity contest...best of both worlds!!

the only other thing i am concerned about is...what is three or 4 bears get a 100/100 or 99/100....isn't it right that each of them get a first ribbon and gold star or whatever?  this is where i think it is a bit unfair if only one person can be recognised..i don't know..its hard...but i think the world will learn of our system as it is doing so now...and i somehow think it will catch on as many people like our judging and see it as a real benefit to artists and collectors alike...

wazzabears Wazza Bears Australia
Bulli
Posts: 623

Hi All
I agree with what you are all saying. I know artist that have advertised saying they are award winners and they have only gotten red ribbons. I have entered a few shows and I have recieved many blue ribbons and rosettes. I also got a silver medal from the gold coast show for 2nd place in under 5" professional artist bear. Even though I am very proud of this medal I still don't consider or advertise myself as award winning. I class that as you have gotten best in show or winnng the Tobys ot Goldens. It gets me frustrated to see these artist doing this.
Thats my 2 cents

wazzabears Wazza Bears Australia
Bulli
Posts: 623

Another thing I have a frustration with is the people choice. At one show I was up to win and it was very close with another person. I saw 10 mins to the end this person and her friend go and vote for herself. This really annoyed me. I said to warren go and vote for me , he did'nt think it was right that he go and vote for me and I did'nt think it was right that I go and vote for myself. I lost that award by 1 vote, But the thing was too is the people manning the voting area were tallying the votes during the day and told people who was in the lead and who wasn't which I thought was very unfair. I put it behind me and thought well one day I will win and I will be very proud because I did'nt influence the votes. I just hope this person who won feels guilty of voting herself.
Sorry just had to get that off my chest.

bearlyart Canna Bear Paint
NY
Posts: 749
Tami E wrote:

Donna, the photos of TOBY and Golden Teddy Awards are not enhanced by computer, because it is not allowed. (Perhaps I am nieve, but I like to think people follow the rules.)

I like to think that 100% of people are 100% honest, too... but it's never really the case, is it?

Tami E wrote:

And yes, the the contest is based on visual appeal, but the photographs will show if a bears eyes are in straight, if it's nose is symmetrical and neatly stitched, if the snout is carefully trimmed, if attention to detail is there etc.

Ah, but all of the things that you mention could be changed in a digital image.  In some cases, extremely easily.  There is a very high-end, professional photography store here in town which I visit occasionally (not being a high-end, professional photographer myself).  They take things very seriously... keep in mind that this is THE store in a town that has Kodak and one of the best photography schools in the world, RIT.  I got on the subject with the employees about photograph-based competitions, all of which they had experience with themselves for professional photography.  They mentioned that cheating is a major problem, and that the acceptance of digital entries into some competitions has forced strict rules.  They said that the serious competitions that allow digital photography ALSO require that the original, unaltered raw file from the camera be submitted along with the "actual" submission.  Part of the judging process is to compare the two files and see what, if anything, was changed.  They expressed dismay at the thought of ANY competition judging ANYTHING that allowed digital photographs and did not have a check in place to ensure that no image adjustments had been performed.  They know exactly what can be manipulated in a digital image, and the truth is that everything can be.  So... yes, I do wish that the photo-based awards had something in place to verify that "what they see is what they get".  Whether this would be a round of competition where the bears were judged "in person", or whether raw files had to be submitted for comparison purposes.  Well, so goes it.

Best wishes,
Kelly

Shelli SHELLI MAKES
Chico, California
Posts: 9,939
Website

Shelli Retired Help Advisor, Banner Sponsor

One of the reasons I've brought my not-for-sale nominees to my last two annual bears shows in Nevada City is to show the artists and collectors there -- if nowhere else! -- the "real McCoys" in the flesh, so they can be assured there's no digital tampering going on when I submit my own entry photos.  Since I've become somewhat known for my digital work (amateurish as it still is) I feel especially compelled to not just have integrity, but PROVE my integrity, regarding the photo contests I enter.  It helps me to know that I won a 2nd spot for Best in Show one year because that, at least, gives me a certain comfort level that my work is also appealing to those who've only ever seen it and touched it and experienced it "live," without the benefit of a pretty photograph to shape their perception.  It also gives me comfort to know that 95% of the bears I've ever sold have sold via photograph, online, either on eBay or from my retailer's sites... and my customers are consistenty happy and leave me great feedback.  I don't think that would have been the outcome if I had been doctoring my photos in ways that misrepresent my work.

I'm sure in my gut, without knowing any specifics on this at all, that many contest photos are digitally enhanced...  But it's my hope that they're enhanced only to improve PHOTO QUALITY, and not to improve any aspect of the bear itself, or to edit out errors in construction. 

Keep in mind that, historically, professional photographers routinely retouch "real" photos developed from canisters of film, or use "soft focus" or other lighting effects in taking their pictures, which from the outset of the photo shoot is already a "photographic enhancement." So this issue of "improving photos" is not an issue specific to the digital age.

Some people, I'm sure, can't afford or don't have access to a professional photographer for their contest entries, especially paid on top of the $70+ entry fee.  So personally, I have no problem with the idea that someone might adjust things like contrast, brightness, or even color balance in their entry images, if those adjustments are made only to bring the photo closer to "true"... and not to alter the bear in any way.  Since we're talking about the evaluation of TEDDY BEARS here, it doesn't seem fair that simply having a better photograph gives someone's bear an advantage.  It's not a photography contest!  Yet in the photo contests, photo quality absolutely counts because they are the ONLY source of information the judges have about an artist's work.  So if people can adjust their digital photos to better represent their actual work, personally, I don't have a problem with that in the photo contests.

I've found this discussion interesting.  There are wonderful points being made on every side.  Although in the end, it seems to me that the side we're all on is the side that wants to see consistency and fairness of standards applied to bear judging.

I think this all boils down, at the end of things, to the question again of "What is it, exactly, that makes a bear a GOOD bear?  The BEST bear?"  I think this is a question people will have trouble answering for the rest of time... because what makes a particular bear "good" or "best" will likely -- will certainly -- differ from person to person, and from contest to contest.

One person might think the "best" bear is the one that tugs most at the heart; the one that has the biggest "awww" factor, even if it's flimsily made and poorly constructed.

Another person might believe that the "best" bear is the one that's the most original and unique and cutting edge ... even if it's not a bear you'd ever pay a cent for, because aesthetically, it just doesn't appeal.  Or is maybe even downright ugly.

Yet another person might be concerned mostly with quality of materials and construction.  He/she might be looking at a bear with almost no "awww" factor at all, but that is PERFECTLY constructed, PERFECTLY symmetrical, and made from high-end fabrics that bespeak excruciating attention to detail.  That person's "best" bear will be technically superior... but may not be attractive to most collectors in its finishing.

My personal opinion is that the "best" bear would be absolutely darling; entirely original; and technically executed to perfection.  For what it's worth.

My perspective on the larger issue of what makes the best bear / what makes a credible contest is that there's no one "right" or "wrong" way to judge bears.  Therefore, if someone wins a contest with a bear that I don't find appealing and wouldn't have chosen for that honor myself, I can nonetheless be very happy for that artist's win because I'm thinking, "That artist's bear was judged using a CERTAIN SET OF CRITERIA that just happens to not be mine. Good for them!"

I'm very happy for the winners of the photo contests because the visual appeal of their work has been validated and confirmed via photograph.

I'm very happy for the winners of the Australian-type, "checklist/points" contests because the quality and construction of their work has been validated and confirmed in person.

I'm very happy we can have this intelligent discussion and learn about one another's perspectives and contest experience so we can all learn from one another!

bear_flower

Tami E Tami Eveslage Original Teddy Bears
Milford Ohio
Posts: 2,367

ShelliI'm sure in my gut, without knowing any specifics on this at all, that many contest photos are digitally enhanced...  But it's my hope that they're enhanced only to improve PHOTO QUALITY, and not to improve any aspect of the bear itself, or to edit out errors in construction. 

I guess I wasn't thinking of this type of enhancement. To me that would be akin to having regular photographic prints made, but sending them back to the printer because the color was wrong. It doesn't begin to compare with the suggestion that photos are doctored to change flaws in the actual bear.

Shelli you really have a gift for summarizing points. Often, as I read your posts, I'm tempted to reply with, "Yeah, what she said!" bear_laugh

When I read these posts, I might be inferring something, but it sounds like folks are being discouraged to share
their accomplishments if they are not of a certain level.  And it seems like the validity of even the "higher level" contests are being questioned. I remember in the other thread regarding contests, one TT said she felt the posts had burst her bubble a little bit on her winning entry in the ACE Awards.

I guess I just wonder why it is not OK to to say "Hey, look, here's something I'm proud of!" no matter what the level of competition was, or how many other people got  a "Highly commended  90-100pts Blue Ribbon"

When my son has studied and brings home an "A" on his school report card, I do not ask him how many others got an A as well. I tell him I'm proud that he has worked hard and achieved something.

When I attended my first bear show I entered bear contests for the first time,  I was on cloud nine over the ribbons I won. When I got home there were a dozen roses waiting for me and a little card from my husband, which I still keep in a special box with my ribbons. What it says expressess my thoughts to anyone who has received an award, "highly commended" ribbon etc..

     The front of the card has a picture of a little cartoon guy, standing in a group of friendly looking lions with his hands on the back of two of them. The inside reads;"Congratulations! You have every right to feel a little pride!"

Oly Olys Zoo
Simpsonville, SC
Posts: 18

I think the  ribbons here in
the U.S. have different meaning than other countries.

Mostly ours are clearly marked and some of the contests
award through 4th Place.

In the URSA awards it is by all of those divisions as it is
in TOBY etc.

In the animal world, like 4-H, the green ribbon was the
"No No".  It was the Award of Merit (we all have merit)
It was like "Thanks for Participating".

The people who are purchasing need to ask  exactly
what award they won, what position and  back up
documentation before shelling out the big beans.  bear_rolleyes

All Bear All Bear by Paula
Kent
Posts: 5,162
Website

And the people who win that award do feel like they have won an award of high standing.  But in reality, the winning of that award is based on a photograph that many times has been enhanced by a computer program.

Pardon me?!!!!  I'm afraid I take issue with this.  I entered and last year won a Toby Industry's Choice Award, which for me is a significant endorsement of my work and one of which I am very proud.  My photographs were not 'tweaked' before submission!  They were cropped to fit the required size requirements, printed and posted to the judges.  I'm sure that is the case for most TOBY winners, as most serious bearmakers have integrity, preferring to be judged fairly, squarely and above all, professionally.  What no entrant can account for is Public Choice final judging, because that is by definition based on personal preferences and bears its own relevance to the competition system.

I would also like to point out that yes, competition nominations can be subjective particularly when judged on photographic entry, however (and yes, I do have the experience of previously having organised a UK competition) an experienced panel of judges is able to accurately assess quality of workmanship, appeal and originality to a fair degree from photographic submissions.

I haven't entered the British Bear Artist Awards for several years, but from memory, we don't have a written critique or ribbon system.  Winners and runners-up (second place winners) are given trophies and certificates by the judging panel, and there is no confusion as to who is a competition winner and who isn't.

it sounds like folks are being discouraged to share
their accomplishments if they are not of a certain level.  And it seems like the validity of even the "higher level" contests are being questioned.

Tami I agree with you.  We should not be discouraging bear makers to feel proud of their achievements and we certainly shouldn't be questioning the integrity of our major international competitions ... that can only serve to harm to the bear industry as a whole.

chris009av Real Deal Bears
Posts: 2,234

The only issue I have with this is when the ribbons are misleading in there display.
I was a bit hot under the color when this subject came up, and regretted not mentioning the encouragement that ribbons at ALL levels gives to the person receiving them.  Though when they are subject to misleading the collector, I wonder if the system here in Australia of giving out ribbons for attendance is sound.

lemmonbears Lemmon Bears
Oregon Coast
Posts: 303

I won a big blue ribbon at one of the shows...I entered the only bear in that category. bear_rolleyes ...and I won a second place at the same show ...and there were only two entries in that category bear_rolleyes .  Naw I don't advertise myself as 'award winning' but I like my ribbons. bear_grin  bear_grin  bear_grin

I think it's great to have contests and be judged and win prizes, but I wouldn't want bearmaking to be only about the awards and accolades.  I just love doing it bear_wub  and get my feedback from my customers that write or email how much they love their bear. 

Joan

chris009av Real Deal Bears
Posts: 2,234

Oh, and I just want to add that competitions such as Toby's and now the new Australian Bear Creations Award which are judged by photographs are brilliant in this modern world.  I have yet to enter the Toby's but I have the oppotunity to do so without sending off the bear or getting on a plane myself.  Let's face it most of us are selling our bears online and therefore our photographs are what many customers are buying from, so isn't it a natural progression that we should be judged this way.
You only have to look at the high standard of bears in these competitions to realise what an honour it would be to those nominated. :clap:  :clap:  :clap:  :clap:  :clap:

And as for the new Australian Bear Creations Award, I am so thrilled, over the moon, and tickled pink that my little Gaylore has been nominated.
:dance:  :dance:  :dance:  :dance:

Maybe the solution for the shows here in Australia is to have printed on the ribbons exactly what the ribbon is for.

Bubble-Up Bears Bubble Up Bears!
Murrieta, California
Posts: 1,804

Oh Boy!! So many interesting and well thought out replies. :)
As many of you know I'm a collector not a bear artist. However most of my over 300 hundred bears are artist bears, just a few antiques and a couble of Steiff.
So speaking as a collector when I find an auction with a bear I like and know nothing about the artist I research her/him. I do most of my buying on eBay and from the artist's website. I have only been to 4 bear shows. So with that said I rely on the photos, reputation of the artist and what she says about herself regarding not just her awards but the materials she uses, techniques, and how she became an artist and what inspires her. Yes I do read everything she has to say. Everything. As it has been pointed out collectors are not dummies and know how to find a good bear. Seasoned collectors can look at a picture and tell if it's a quality bear. But nothing gets my fur up more than an artist saying she is an award winning artist when she is indeed not. As said here shows/competitions have their own way of scoring and awarding but I feel it is up to the artist to not misrepresent herself. Not for me to try and figure out if she has been truly awarded. Does award winning persuade me? I would be lying if I said it did not. But that doesn't mean by any stretch that I buy only from winning artist. This is just one part of what I look for in a bear.
What really is difficult for me is the whole process of awarding. It brings back such irritating memories for me!! Back in the mid nineties when I was coaching my daughters baseball teams we had to give every child on the team a trophy. We were not allowed to keep score so no team lost. We were not allowed to give the player with the most hits a "High Five" without giving every player one. What were we teaching our kids? That you can never lose? or feel good that you did the best you could do? Or realize your mistakes and work on them? That there are no players that are better at batting or some that are better at catching? That life is always fair? That you don't have to work hard to be better at what you do or to improve yourself? bear_cry
I saw an auction a few months ago and the artist included her ribbon for the bear. And in the title of the auction the artist said "Award Winning Bear". The pictured ribbon which was the award said "Cutest smile". Huh? Don't get me wrong the bear had a cute smile but did it have to get an award? Or was it just a token award? Yes it was a ribbon and the artist called it an award. I don't think for one minute all bears have to be award winners but if it's going to be advertised in the auction or website I want to see a bear that has won "Best in Show" or best in the category in which they entered. 2nd place is fine too or runner up.
Are there such categories as "Cutest Smile", "Sweetest Nose" and Most Darling Eyes"?
Sounds too much like "No One Loses" to me.  bear_wacko

All Bear All Bear by Paula
Kent
Posts: 5,162
Website

Let's face it most of us are selling our bears online and therefore our photographs are what many customers are buying from, so isn't it a natural progression that we should be judged this way.

I think you make a really valid point here Chris! :clap:

Little Bear Guy Little Bear Guy
Waterloo, Ontario
Posts: 1,395

Paula I don't think anyone was saying that everyone who enters their photo's to a competition has enhanced them using a photo program .  Their are cases where some people have done that, whether it's to put a sparkle in the bears eye or remove the little excess fur here and there or clean up around the mouth or eyes.  It's exactly the same as bears on ebay , I have seen beautiful bears on ebay but when you see the same bear in person and it doesn't even look like the same bear and you can see flaws that were covered up by using photoshop. I don't know why people do this but they do,I don't think anyone meant to lump all artist together and assume they all do this.

big hugs

Shane

rkr4cds Creative Design Studio (RKR4CDS)
suburban Chicago
Posts: 2,044

Ribbons and Awards - oh Boy!! What a can of worms. There are RIBBONS and there are ribbons....
I won my first 'ribbon' in 1993, 3 years after beginning to design my own bears. I realized then that everyone who exhibited at the show received a ribbon. It was the same at the first Teddybär Total in Germany in 1998: all Golden George entrants received a ribbon. This is the same as our most loquacious collector (whose opinions I Value!)

We were not allowed to give the player with the most hits a "High Five" without giving every player one.
________________________________
Are there such categories as "Cutest Smile", "Sweetest Nose" and Most Darling Eyes"?
Sounds too much like "No One Loses" to me.

LOL - RIGHT!  I've never heard of such categories - they were really stretching to come up with covering everyone! It does sound like "Everyone wins at something."!

Too many in the upcoming and present younger generations (and I do hope I'm not sounding like a crotchety old "Get Off My Lawn" old hag) feel this sense of Entitlement due to just this same treatment - because we participated we are owed; because our sibling rec'd a B'day present, heaven forbid that we didn't receive one too: no one loses and winning is a shared event. 
In fact in the 80s there was a whole movement that came out with a series of group games (yes, we bought the books...) that taught No Individual Winners,/Everyone Wins/In Fact There is No Winning - we just enjoy playing for playing's sake.

Now that's a great principle, but Life still has Winners & Losers - for lack of different words I use those 2 recognized and accepted ones, because we all quickly and easily understand what they represent.

As said here shows/competitions have their own way of scoring and awarding but I feel it is up to the artist to not misrepresent herself. Not for me to try and figure out if she has been truly awarded. Does award winning persuade me? I would be lying if I said it did not. But that doesn't mean by any stretch that I buy only from winning artist. This is just one part of what I look for in a bear.

I realized a year or so later (after the first faux award) that the award committees aren't attending shows (in the mid-90s there was no web presence to see domestic and/or international work) and that one must apply for the TOBYsm/Golden Teddy™/and other awards to receive more exposure than just local bear shows.
At the first award that I won of this ilk, a TOBYsm, I said: "Food for every bird is provided, but the Lord doesn't drop it into the nests." i.e. one must search out and apply for awards.
And not every bear maker chooses to apply for awards, for whatever reason they have! That does not in any way make a measure of their talent. Many of you here on this list would scoop up every award there is if you would submit work, because of the excellence of your techniques and your ability to carry them out right down to the very last detail!

I chose to enter, and do so every few years and consider this the largest part of my annual Advertising budget. Entering into 5 or 6 competitions within a year is easily over one thousand dollars, the same as a few magazine ads. I consider myself fortunate to have won many ribbons but they were just tucked away  in cubbyholes: I have always displayed the plaques and crystal awards but just last year gathered all of the ribbons and put them up around the walls above my computer and bookcases.

I had never really counted them, never honored them as I had the engraved wood and crystals: seeing them now I am very pleased and recognize them for the true honors that they bestow. I'm not one to toot my own horn and do not announce when I've received an award, which brings up a point that I also wanted to bring into this discussion - when to use the logos and the words 'Award-Winning Artist'.

Twice in the past I've specifically written to Mindy Kinsey to have her clarify the use of the logo: within each logo for a TOBYsm is a date/year. That particular dated logo may not have the date trimmed away,: it has a size requirement in regard to how large/small it is displayed in relation to the bear it was awarded to and the MOST important fact is that it be used with ONLY that bear.

The logo actually honors the artist through THAT bear, not the general talents of the Artist! One may be a "TOBYsm Award-Winning Bear Artist" but the logo may NEVER be used in connection with one's own name, trade/company name, in an ad w/o the winning bear next to it, with another line of bears/etc. It has been awarded to only one bear in one year and that is the logo's only proper use.

OK, back on topic -

Let's face it most of us are selling our bears online and therefore our photographs are what many customers are buying from, so isn't it a natural progression that we should be judged this way.

I've purchased artist bears from shops, based on photos, indeed some from members here on TT and in 2 cases have been very disappointed. They do not live up to expectations from the images and I've asked 2 other artists if it was just me or if they found the same lack of  quality (in one case the parts are actually separating from the bear... the bear cannot be handled at all) We all found it astounding that these would even have been accepted by the shops... These are standard work, meaning not the new 'Prim' style, because that seems to accept parts & accessories that are hardly sewn on, replicating old and well-handled.

No, these 2 were just poorly constructed, though the images on the shops' sites were beautiful. If these were seen in person at a show, they would never be purchased by collectors. This definitely backs up the feelings of those who feel they would be more likely to purchase in person than from online, yet Bubble-up feels as I do, that most well-seasoned collectors can tell quality work. I agree, and specifically purchased one piece because I was curious about the hype - and it proved to be exactly that. I wonder how many return customers the shop has for that bear maker's work?

I firmly believe that the only true competitions are those in which the nominees are vetted through photos and then the bears/designs are sent in to be judged in person. This does increase the costs of competition and if this validates your work in your own eyes then you should do it.
To some success is sales, for others it's winning competitions, for others it's an inner satisfaction of figuring out the techniques and mechanics of solving an engineering situation in design.
There is no One Way. And that a Good Thing!

Off my soapbox now and off to work out. I had a weird thing happen yesterday and I think that's why I'm taking very strong stances today - Life is precious and we only have tihs one moment once so I'm just saying what's in my heart:
a day after N Richardson's death, I tripped in a grocery store parking lot yesteray. As I went down (my third fall in 4 years, during which I've had both knees replaced an an extensive laminectomy) I think "Please God, not my knees or back!" I hit both knees and smacked my head right above my left ear.
3 Good Samaritans were immediately on their phones to 911 and stayed with me the 10 mins it took for the ambulance and a police car to arrive. I was of course sore and achy (had just left an intensive T'ai Chi class) but declined transport to the hospital.

I did not know about blood clots, as we have now learned. And I was aware of every subtle feeling during the next 12 hours yesterday. But now we're also being warned about blood clots forming and up to 48 hours later having problems.
So believe me, I WILL be going the next time I have an accident and hit my head and I'll have a CT scan. That first hour means your life.

Cathy Forcino Apollo Beach, Florida
Posts: 122
Website

Hi Susan,

In my humble opinion, if you were "awarded" a ribbon for 2nd or 3rd place or whatever, it's an award.  There is nothing wrong with showing them to the collectors.  I just entered a bear in the Florida State Fair.  It was so silly and fun, a real Doc Hollywood thing to do.  I got 2nd place and a check for $7.00!  How cute is that?!  I sold the bear on my website and sent the ribbon along with the bear to the customer.  She just adored the whole thing. So, do whatever makes your collectors happy.  After all, you're working for them.

As to photos, I WISH I could take a picture that did my bear justice.  Ugh!  If I could just climb into Michele Lamb's head and see what she does. my life would be complete.  Ha ha.  She could have another career as a photographer!

Have fun, pin those ribbons on and call them what you want.  Never feel guilty for receiving well-deserved recognition, no matter what it is.   :clap:

Hugs,
Cathy

Tami E Tami Eveslage Original Teddy Bears
Milford Ohio
Posts: 2,367
Cathy Forcino wrote:

In my humble opinion, if you were "awarded" a ribbon for 2nd or 3rd place or whatever, it's an award.  As to photos, I WISH I could take a picture that did my bear justice.  Ugh!  If I could just climb into Michele Lamb's head and see what she does. my life would be complete.  Ha ha.  She could have another career as a photographer!

Have fun, pin those ribbons on and call them what you want.  Never feel guilty for receiving well-deserved recognition, no matter what it is.   :clap:

Hugs,
Cathy

I'm with you on both of these points Cathy.  It's OK to feel a bit of pride, and I too hear from collectors that my bears are far better in person than my photos. It's kind of fun to see these older threads pop up and get opinions of folks who have since joined.

Cathy Forcino Apollo Beach, Florida
Posts: 122
Website

Thanks Tami,

And I just ADORE that little guy on the suitcase.  If he needs any hugs, you can send him my way  :crackup:

Densteds Densteds
Posts: 2,056
Website

Hi Susan,

I certainly don't think you need to apologise for anything, I just looked at the ribbons & awards on your website, they are clearly displayed & easily read, so I know what you received each one for...but I probably would not have taken any notice of that because if I was going to purchase a bear from you, I look at the bear itself and I've seen many of yours for sale and they look to be not only extremely cute & appealing to the eye but also very well made, so as far as I'm concerned and as Chrissi & Cathy have said, show off your ribbons with pride and do what you want and feel is correct & honest, it's your business afterall no one elses, and buyers/collectors will make it known if a certain bearmaker's creations are not up to scratch, with a subtle little hint.....no more sales!  but judging by your feedback that's just not about to happen...  :rose:

Tami, I agree with you.

it sounds like folks are being discouraged to share
their accomplishments if they are not of a certain level.  And it seems like the validity of even the "higher level" contests are being questioned.

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