After 5 years of serious stress before a fair (and I mean serious, last year, before September Hugglets, I ended up in hospital with chest pains through anxiety..ridiculous) I have really cut back on how many bears I take to fairs. I used to take 20 plus but I tend to take about 15 now but even that puts pressure on me. Not endowed with the best of organisational skills I should really get started a month beforehand and get bears ready prior to a month before.
It's the weirdest thing, so excited am I about new bears when I have finished them I can never wait to show them on my website so the thought of secretly amassing bears months before a show has little appeal, so on we go with the usual mammoth month of mayhem in my house while I prepare. This starts tomorrow.
They are all mainly cut out and kind of planned, I will machine all of them this week in a sewing marathon and then spend the 3 weeks stuffing, stitching. snipping and painting and then finally titivating..and I might get a preview done in time.
I wish I could be more laid back and less panicky...
Do you all manage the build up to a fair without tears and palpitations?
Haven't done a fair yet!
Secretly I persume everyone gets to the panic stage, even if you are ahead or behind on the bears for that fair.
It wouldn't matter if you took half of you allocated bears to the fair, as long as you health is ok.
Look forward to see you in the flesh soon.
Other than the online shows Jenny, I also haven't done a fair. YET. I have of late become quite good at amassing secret Puddles. Yes there are Puddles out there that I haven't posted on TT or my website. It's been hard not to post But since they are for publication I thought it would be nice if the puddles were new 'so to speak'.
So for me the secret hoarding is the way I will go.
HeeHee , I sort of feel as though I have that problem - but coming from the other direction ; The June TBAE will be my first ever live show
and I've been squirreling bears since January (I'm afraid I'm pathetically slow ) every one I finish has to stay "under wraps"
as I worry I won't have enough pieces .... so I think collectors might assume I'm not making anything - I have nothing new to show ; where did I go etc ??
A shorter "run up" would leave me pieces to reveal each month . I wondered if I was "doing it wrong" !!
Ooooooooooh I can't wait !! I'm soo excited !
I also save up bears for months before a show. I have been particularly strict with myself about this for the show in June, as I am organising it!!! I currently have bear number 20 just being finished ready for the show. However, I'm not usually quite this prepared, but I know it could get manic in the next few weeks and I may not get any bears done at all!!
hmmmm.....must get off the internet now and go and do more work!!!! I have a list of things to get done for the show before the end of the day!!!
Jenny - you're not alone in your stress!
Sydney Teddy Bear Fair 2008 was my first show, and even though there was a limit on how many bears I could take (New Artist Table), I was madly stitching last minute things in place on one piece at 8am on Saturday morning before I left home at 8.30am!
Working full time didn't help either, as I had soooooooooo much to plan & get made - table cover, business cards, flyers, certificates of authenticity for each piece etc. - stuff I didn't yet have.
I now am getting ready for the Central Coast Doll & Bear Show in 2 weeks and have 3 bears on the go at once (I have NEVER done this before, so it's a real challenge!) but at least I don't have to worry about the table set-up stuff this time.
I'm finding it a bit of a buzz though - perhaps I'm just an adrenelin junkie!
What I find hard is actually parting with the bears after I've made them - does anyone else have this problem?
PS: Thanks to the everyone who posted to the TT library - I found your lists of show checklists invaluable!
I hand sew most of our bears and I am always sewing when watching TV, I have to be doing something. So I wind up with with lots of sewn bears. I will stuff the arms and legs and then I put them in a container (Steve does the faces on all the bears). So when it's time to get ready for a show a lot of the prep work is done and it's just a matter of doing the faces and stuffing bodies and sewing up openings. We were able to complete 12 bears in about a weeks time for our last show, plus I was able to finish seowing up ten kits for a workshop we were doing. It does take some planning, we have a shelf that we put all the completed bears on for the show.
Some restraint is required to want to sell them right away but you have to just remember that you need them for a show or else you will have a bare table .
june 8th is my 1st show but beacuse baby is due 2 days later, i thought it best not to stress at the last min, iv been making them since january and i hand sew too, me and machines unfortunatly have a huuuge dislike of each other and if i get anywhere near a sewing machine the air turns blue my language gets that bad!
so iv been sewing my conkers off for the past 5 months, my fingers have started to resemble stumppy little sausages.
i keep looking at the ones made months ago and thinking that they need tweaking.. i swear ill drive myself mad.
roll on june, im even dreaming about bears at the moment!
well, my first show will be in august, and i am already on the go as i work very sllllloooowwwwly but i can imagine being in a huge tizz and having panic attacks and not sleeping the night before no matter how prepared i think i am! I don't think you'd ever get away from that would you...unless your miss cool :0)
SHOWS! I only enter about 4 shows a year but they are major productions! My body is wrecked, I've just finished packing 4 large boxes for the Disney Show May 16 - 18th. THe hard part about a lot of the larger shows is that you have to, more or less, tell them what you are bringing almost 6 months in advance and you have to send photos at that time for their publicity and catalog. Disney, also, requires all kinds of paperwork and special labeling. I try each week to be working on various show pieces and I'm thinking ahead at least 6 months. I enjoy creating for eBay because it's my chance to show completely new designs, quickly. I wish I could say it gets easier, I am less nervous, though It's SO much work getting ready for a show; when I get there it's my relax time!
KJ Lyons Design
P.S. Bear Guys, you're too humble! I know how hard you work by the great presentation you have at a show :clap:
Hmmmmm, I've never done a show but, all this talk of panic, stress, chest pain, anxiety etc.. some how makes really want to do one! I know that sounds weird but it also sounds like a great time with fellow teddybear artists! I'm going to have to work up my nerve.. I still think it sounds like fun to me.
You are so right! It's wonderful to be, together, with fellow teddy bear artists, and the collectors are very interesting people to get to know! I guess that's what will always keep me doing shows At least for me, it seems that teddy bear shows are not like the "outside" competitive world. Every show I've been to fellow artists try to help eachother and the shows feel friendly and fun. Yes, there will always be nervousness and anxiety but it's worth it all.
Awww Karen you are such a sweetie, we find the travel and the setting up to be the most stressful part of doing a show. If anyone has been near us when we are setting up our table it's never a pretty sight, lots of grumbling and tossing of things (ok that's usually me). We use to get stressed out over getting the bears done but then we just decided we take what we get done. Now last yr we shipped a 28" bear to the Schaumburg show and I hadn't stuffed it completely yet . The head was done and the arms and legs were stuffed but I still had to stuff the body, I only did this because I was able to squish this bear into the box, if the body had been stuffed it would have cost us a fortune to ship. So I did do a bit of rushing around to find stuffing and completed the bear sometime before I went to bed and trust me a bear that big fights back when you stuff them :crackup: :crackup: .
We do have a very close friend who is a bear artist as well, now this woman rarely sleeps the night before a show as she is trying to get bears finished for the show. We usually get together with her and do a little stuffing and sew open the seams for her. Karen I'm sure you know who this is, but I won't mention any names, she is stressed out big time before each show and never has time to relax. We have done that a couple of times at shows and then we realized that it wasn't worth it, and we wanted to have fun at shows.
So folks do your best to not stress out, plan out how many bears you are going to take to the show and work towards that, if you don't get them all done don't sweat it. Go to the show have a good time and relax with good friends when it's all over.
It's good to hear that I am not the only one!!! I think why I get stressed is that as well as doing the bears I also work, so if my usual 2 bears a week suddenly goes up to 5, I am really struggling to find the hours to do everything..so for the month prior to a fair I sleep very little...which is why I ended up ill last year.
This time I am organised so far...I am ahead of my plan..I will get on today and lets hope it stays on course with no hiccups!!
I also find the stockpiling really strains my bank account ...not being able to sell a bear for a month really hurts!!
I do enjoy the day of the fair, and I do chat to people but I tend to find there isn't much time to mingle really. Last time at Hugglets we sold out early and then there was time to wander round but even then I chatted to customers nearly all day...didn't see much of fellow artists...they were all busy too!!
I guess we have a different way of running shows over the ocean Our larger shows go for two days with artist introductions, i.e. appetizers or a dinner the day before the show weekend. I'll be at Disney from May 15th through 19th. That gives us more off-time to visit with collectors and other artists. IT's a real break from studio work But I know it's really hard if you have a young family or work to get back to!
That seems more like the hairdressing fairs we sometimes go to, with lots of events organised and challenges, seminars and hands on workshops, usually a whole weekend, with things in the evening too. I guess the UK being small, people tend to drive there the morning of the show and bear fairs are just for selling bears on one day, which is a shame. You get there, set up your stand, sell bears and chat to customers and artists if they pass by or if you get 5 minutes to fly round the stands, pack up and drive home. That's what happens to me anyway...
I agree Jenny it is difficult wen you work a full time job as well. Both Steve and I still work full time day jobs and it does make for some really late nights when you only have the evenings to work on bears. Most shows we go to are one day shows but we always try and get together with some other artist the night before the show. Since we don't rely on our bears for our livelihood we are able to stash away a bear here and there and I guess that's why we still work full time. Like Karen said some of the show can be spread out over a couple of days so you do get a chance to meet up with other artist, we also will try and go out to dinner after the show as long as people aren't rushing to get home or have flights to catch, there are usually a few of us kicking around after.
It's an interesting juggling act, but once it starts to become to stressful then it's no longer fun .
For me, as an artist, getting enough bears ready for a show is not so much of a problem . Basically, what I have done is what I have done. I usually drive to most shows, and if the bulk of the work is already done, I can do a lot on the bears along the way. By the time I get there, I usually have several more completed.
As a promoter however, I am about ready to be committed by the time a show comes around. I don't sleep well for about a week before the show. I worry constantly about all the details. Did my ads show up in the papers? How many will come through the door? (Dear God, let them come through the door!) Will everyone sell something? Will all of the artists show up? Will the hotel have everything in place? What do you do with the extra tables when an artist doesn't show? There are so many things to take care of, on top of dealing with so many different personalities.
I've been blessed with having some of the best artists to work with. Even the year that we showed up at the hotel on show day only to find that construction workers were in there changing out the carpet - it all went well. All of the artists kicked in and we worked it out.
We have a show in Albuquerque next week, and I find myself beginning to run in circles, even though I have a check list. I keep writing myself notes, checking items off as they get done, and working on bears all the while.
Jenny I'm squirrelling away little bears for the show....but like Ruth said I too felt I'd disappeared from selling online so decided to make one to sell online for every two I squirrelled away!....that was the plan anyway!...but I'm now wishing I made huge bears insead of 4" and under as I'd fill a 6' table with fewer bears!
As it's my first show I'm not sure I've thought of all the other things needed like cards, packaging etc not to mention display stuff!....any tips anyone for things a newbie may need?
Every year I make a well constructed plan before my shows and every year I fail to stick to one single point on that plan...and get super stressy about 3 days out from the show so this year I'm abandoning plans all together.
Bear show season for me starts in about six weeks and I have two shows within 3 weeks of each other, which isn't too bad, but there's only so much sewing I can do after work each day. It's heading to winter here and a super busy time for me at work so often times the last thing I feel like doing when I come home at night is work on bears. so I'm trying to make it easier on myself by loosely sticking to a a plan to sew Monday to Thursdays, stuff on Fridays and do faces and finishing on the weekends but this weekend I was struck by the mother of all migraines and got not one iota of bear making done. Best laid plans eh!
I wish I could make that balance between bears for the show and for my site better - after all, my internet customers are my main customers and most live on the other side of the world so aren't able to come to any shows I may do. I do so like shows and it gives me an opportunity to make some of the more fragile pieces that are difficult to mail. i have been trying to do what Lynne does and make one for the website for every two that I make for the show but it's not quite working out.
I'm now wishing I made huge bears insead of 4" and under as I'd fill a 6' table with fewer bears!
I hear you on that one Lynne!!! I had 21 bears on a table last year and it looked completely empty!!
My show preparations usually take place in a mad dash right before the show. I try to schedule a clear four weeks prior to the show to get everything done, but it's never enough time.
I'm just about to start work on my TBAE bears due for 8th June ... I have a couple set aside so far, but that's all. The biggest frustration I face is not being able to earn any money throughout the month I'm making show bears. I think it's probably pretty annoying for my website customers too as they have to take quite an enforced 'All Bear' break while I work towards the show ... and then of course, many of them can't actually get to the show to purchase the bears.
It sure is hard to be all things to all people sometimes!
I'm sure as time goes on I will change but I will hit that problem when I come to it !!
Really looking forward to the show though !