Kathryn Peck asked me to post the following invitation to artists:
We are looking for spring-themed bears for the Spring 2009 issue. Please send photos, descriptions, and contact information to Kathryn at: email@example.com by December 10. Note that we are especially looking for great photography; we're selecting photos for both a short overview article and a new "pretty picture" page similar to the "Photo Finish" page at the end of Doll Reader.
Also, the supply of Bruins 'n Buddies photos appears to have tapered off. If you have a new (non holiday) bear or friend that you're particularly proud of, please send a photo, description, artist bio, and contact information to Kathryn. She'll need about a dozen per issue and wants to have plenty to choose from.
Finally, if anyone has been giving speeches about bears, teaching classes, donating bears, or sharing bears with the larger community in any way, please drop a note to Kathryn about it. We're looking to shine the "limelight" on people who are spreading the word about teddy bears.
I had an artist write to me today, asking if she should refrain from entering the TOBY Awards contest because her ill health prohibits travel, even to important functions like the awards event.
I'd like to apologize to anyone who felt discouraged from entering by my note regarding the awards event. I did not mean to offend anyone. Of course you are welcome to enter the contest. The most important factor in the contest is getting great entries from a broad range of artists and manufacturers.
I would, however, like to explain the reason for the statement. I was disappointed at the attendance at this year’s awards event. We announced it late, and we take responsibility for that. We did try to publicize it widely once it was announced, but apparently not well enough: only 3 nominees out of close to 70 attended.
This was a contrast to the Teddy Baer Total awards banquet, where nearly all of the nominees and winners were present. Knowing that the Golden George organizers encourage people to attend, I decided to make the request, too. Perhaps I put it a bit strongly, and for that I apologize. I do believe that it is a duty of nominees, when possible, to attend the awards ceremony being held in their honor – but I would never ask someone to risk their health to do so. We’d rather have you healthy at home making great bears!
So please, enter the contest. Everyone is welcome, and we want as many artists to enter as possible. If you are nominated, we would appreciate your making a reasonable effort to attend the awards ceremony at TBAI in Binghamton NY in August. Cindy always invites all of the TOBY artists to exhibit if they choose, and we've moved the event from Thursday night to Saturday morning to make it even more convenient and affordable to attend. I'll make the same request for the Golden Teddy Awards, which will be held at the Hunt Valley MD show in November 2009. These events are celebrations of the nominees and their work, and the collectors and their enthusiasm. Celebrations are just more fun and successful when you do them in person. :)
I just stumbled across this. Thank you for all of your good wishes. I have, as Kelly said, been promoted to editor-in-chief of Doll Reader. Kathryn Peck, the managing editor of Doll Reader, is taking over Teddy Bear and Friends. You're really going to like Kathryn. She's a great editor and journalist, and full of good ideas. She will bring a fresh perspective to the magazine and the teddy bear community.
Kathryn and I are both excited (and a little nervous) about the changes. We'll be helping each other plan issues and navigate our new communities, so you'll still see my name on the TBF masthead. You'll also see me at shows — I was just at Steiff on the Mountain and I'll be attending Hunt Valley on Nov. 2, for example. Kathryn will have all of my resources and I'll be available to her to answer questions and give advice as she settles in to the bear world. I hope all of you will help her as well.
Now for the maudlin bit: I've been with Teddy Bear and Friends for more than 14 years. I won't say I have loved every minute of it, because there have definitely been some challenges and rough spots ( ), but I have loved almost every minute. I have met hundreds of wonderful people and seen thousands of fabulous teddy bears (and friends!). I have been given some incredible opportunities, including traveling to Germany, England, Canada, and all over the U.S.; interviewing hundreds of amazing artists and entrepreneurs (and a few famous people) — and being interviewed myself by newspapers and magazines, and even appearing on TV; helping to start two publications; working behind the scenes on many shows; and celebrating the centennial of the teddy bear.
More than that, I have saved and posted in my office hundreds of your cards, notes, and e-mails over the years. You have told me that Teddy Bear and Friends has made a difference to you, and I cherish that. Those notes have meant the world to me, representing as they do all of the fantastic people I've had the privilege to work with in the bear world. So, thank you, friends. And see you soon!
This might be totally inappropriate, but... Try the bear-oriented auction sites. Try the magazines' web sites. (The TBF e-news goes to 12,000+ collectors.) Run a banner ad and try the featured listings here on TT. Try Valerie's online magazine. Buy Google ad words. Participate in online shows. Set up an etsy store. In other words, stop using eBay to sell online and do something different. You have the power to vote with your business. If you don't like what eBay is doing, stop doing business with them.
I apologize if I've offended anyone. That isn't my intent. I just hate to see anyone accept this situation as though there aren't any other choices. There are lots of great choices. They might be more difficult because they're new, but then again, it sounds like eBay is being plenty difficult. Take charge and take your business away! There are plenty of friendly, interested people eager to help you sell teddy bears online.
(Kelly, I have a couple of issues for you in an envelope in my car. They actually went to Galax and back last weekend -- and I still haven't made it to the post office! Today, I promise! But why don't you subscribe, you silly bear artist? It's a business expense and as such a tax deduction -- you have no excuse!)
While it's the quality of the work that counts, not the quantity of awards, I realized today that some companies and individuals have very impressive quantities!
Top TOBY Winners of All Time (through 2008)
Bearington, 14 awards
Boyds, 12 awards
Karin DeLorenzo, 10 awards
Mary Holstad, 10 awards
Steiff, 9 awards*
Donna Hodges, 9 awards
Gund, 8 awards
Becky Wheeler, 8 awards
Deb Canham Artist Designs, 7 awards
Hermann Spielwaren, 6 awards
Michelle Lamb, 5 awards
Samantha Potter, 5 awards
*Most wins in one year with 4 in 2008.
(Bearington, Boyds, Karin D., Donna H., and Samantha P. all tie for second, with three wins in one year.)
I should add that the Crafts Report, published by Jones, is also a great resource. In the issue I picked up today, there are articles about:
What does attitude have to do with sales?
Guard your professional reputation
Networking: The glue that connects artists to success
In the mood: making the atmosphere in your booth a sensory experience
And much more. Both Crafts Report and Craftrends are incredible resources for anyone in the business of crafts ... which is everyone who sells bears. (Note that they don't mean popsicle stick birdhouses when they say "crafts" -- these are the serious, juried, high-end artist type crafts, like the works you folks make.)
Buy. Read. Learn. Apply. Repeat regularly.
Just a reminder that there are editorial opportunities available for artists who want an early summer challenge.
I have the following Christmas carols still available:
I heard the bells on Christmas day
This is that time of the year
It came upon a midnight clear
I'll be home with bells on
The most wonderful time of the year
angels we have heard on high
do you hear what i hear?
christmas song/chestnuts roasting
o christmas tree
carol of the bells
over river/through woods
deck the halls
holly jolly christmas
(Just to name the traditional ones whose words I happen to have in a list. There are plenty of Web sites that list Christmas carol lyrics if you're looking for inspiration beyond angels, santa, and bells.)
The following rock stars are spoken for: Elton John, Keith Richards.
Are you telling me no one wants to do Kiss? Or Bono, with his ever-present sunglasses? Elvis? Prince? Mick Jagger? The Beach Boys? The Beatles? Michael Jackson?
For craft industry business news and tips, Craftrends is fabulous. I just got their e-newsletter and it reminded me to share the link with you. They've gotten a little obsessive about scrapbooking in the past couple of years, but lots of their tips can be imported to the bear world.
For up-to-date news, visit Craftrend's Web site at www.craftrends.com/industry-news. To receive e-mail News Updates, e-mail your name, e-mail address, and company name to firstname.lastname@example.org.
More on the Olympic Challenge:
I've been in contact with Kathy and have offered to publish the challenge in TBF. I'll be contacting all of the participating artists individually, but wanted to get the word out here as well. Look for it in the Sept/Oct issue, with voting for favorites on the TBF Web site and via postcard.
Please e-mail me with specific questions (email@example.com).
Let the Games ... continue!
I know I talk to myself -- or maybe to the computer -- while writing and editing. I also tend to kick my shoes off -- by the end of the week there's a pile of them under my desk. And since I was a kid I've played with my hair. So there I am: barefoot, with hair sticking up and snarled, muttering. And swilling coffee, because I've always got a cup in my hand. And here I was lecturing everyone on "professional" attire last week! :doh:
Kelly, I'm going to bask in the warmth of your compliments for at least a week.
Bobbie, I'd love to have a few seeds if you have extras. Shall I send you an SASE?
Everyone else, your studios are fabulous. Chris Pike may be contacting you for photos for me. Hope you're willing to share with the wider collecting world. We promise not to print addresses and to discourage casual visitors.
And, sign up to make Christmas carol and Rock Star bears. C'mon, it's a challenge, it'll be fun. You know you want to.
Oh good grief, I've got to work. Rumor has it we can leave early if our work is done. (Makes me feel like my son asking every night at dinner: "Did I eat enough to have a treat?")
Happy (holiday for some) weekend!
I've been to Kelly's shop, and it is just as amazing and lovely in person as it is in the photos. Although, I haven't seen it in the summer -- perhaps another visit is in order!
(My first job was over the river and through the woods from Kelly's corner of the backwoods ... cue "Small World" ... but I didn't meet Kelly until he started making bears, of course. And I think I've known him longest of anyone in the bear world, so I get first dibs on living in wonderland!)
And here I had a perfectly good quip about the appropriateness of using angora cats all ready to go ... although I'm not sure my "pawmina"/pashmina thing was going to work. Good thing you cut through the silliness, there, Kelly. I will henceforth refrain from wearing real cats and garb myself strictly in artificial felines of Karen's design. Given that I only own one, however, it may be a somewhat skimpy outfit appropriate only for shows held in the southern climes. I suppose I could round it out with lippy and flats. And the tiara? It's not real in the sense of diamonds, but it is genuine vintage prom princess headgear.
This is exactly why I was asking about sleeping pills in the milk! Not that I don't trust Kelly's mother's catnip-and-kibble method, but when a day stretches past a certain number of hours, even the most amiable abyssinian or relaxed ragdoll is bound to become restless! And while coordinating with the tiara isn't an issue -- with a bit of the afore-mentioned panache one can wear one's tiara in any situation -- it is difficult to remove blood from fur.
During my second year of college, my roommate and I both used the 'spray and dash' method of perfume application. Unfortunately, neither of us liked the other's choice of perfume -- and the combination was noxious. We had to keep the window open for much of the year.
While I agree that a stem of lavendar tucked into one's cleavage is quite nice, I think it's less likely to pacify a wiggly cat -- which is what Kelly and I were initially debating. Thus the kibble comment. (I'm still working on a come-back regarding raccoons. I was laughing so hard I just couldn't think!)
I certainly hope all of this proved useful to Karen when she was packing her bags for Florida -- I can't wait to see the photos from that show!
I don't have anything specific planned for "related items" (cards, jewelry, etc), but you're always welcome to submit anything to Bruins 'n Buddies. Or, write up what you're doing and send it with a bunch of pictures for the Reader Forum. Or, give me some details and convince me I need to create an article or overview.
You can certainly make mixed media bears for the overviews I've already planned. In fact, "Jingle Bells" really demands some metal or porcelain. A bear head on a bell body? If I can think of that, you can do better!
The message here is, Don't limit yourself by what you think I'll accept. I've got fairly eclectic taste and I like to stretch readers' boundaries -- I'm usually limited by what artists send, not the other way around. I do draw some lines (thinking of Denis Shaw's famous teddy Jesus...) but at the very least you can send me a sketch or an idea and I can give you my opinion -- and, mind, that opinion would be on whether I'd publish it, not its worth as art.
Go for it. Surprise me.
In the case of the Christmas and Rock projects, I want to photograph everything myself so you'll have to send the bears. In the other cases, you can send photos via e-mail.
Please be sure they're high resolution (300 dpi). If you have a high megapixel camera, that'll mean the files are 2+ MB. If your file is less than about 250KB, it's not high res and I can't print it.
I've posted some new editorial opportunities at the TBF web site. My themes these days include traditional vs. tricked out teddies; Christmas carols; holiday decorations; and rock 'n' roll! Take a look at...
I have to admit, I was thinking of Barbara Ann (and Georgene Palka) when I wrote that last bit. They both have unusual styles, but worn with panache.
Hmm... Perhaps we need to have Goth Day at a show and invite all the local middle schoolers to attend. We'd all wear black leather and chains, and instead of painting bear faces on children we'd do faux tattoos. Surely you can all make punk teddies with mohawks? I'll have to talk to Cindy Malchoff about the theme for TBAI 2009...