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bearhug07 Strange Bears
Posts: 444

In Australia the bear shows judge the bears and then choose the the top three bears in the section and then judge the bear "Best in Show" these bears are given trophy's, rossettes or medallions. Now I consider these artists to be award winning artists. The rest of the bears in the competition are  noted by being given ribbons. The colour of the ribbon being tied to the points the bear gained in judging. Often blue being the highest etc.

I find it annoying that these artists then tend to write themselves up as "Award winning" or having won a "Ribbon Award".

I feel this is very misleading to collectors who may not know of the method of basically every bear in the competition "winning" a ribbon. Or that the colour of the ribbon denotes essentially technical proficiency.

Do other artists find this misleading information annoying? Should shows and judges stop "awarding ribbons" to stop this misleading information by artists.

Is misleading or am I just being a bit of a stickler for technicalities here!

I organise both shows and competitions in Australia and am interested in all comments.....especially form those who have won both medallions and trophys (in other words real awards!!) and ribbons.....which do you really consider to be an award.

Who really has the right to call themselves an "Award Winning Artist"

chris009av Real Deal Bears
Posts: 2,234

I agree whole heartedly with this.
I have even seen one artist showing a red ribbon as an award.
All these ribbons look good to those that don't know the scoring system here in Oz.
At some shows everyone is given a ribbon of some colour, so how can they then put these up as winning an award is beyond me.

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

Oh dear.

Well, as a show promoter who conducts an artist teddy bear contest here are my thoughts:

First, my contest is based on votes by collectors and peers, not by one person or a small jury.
I only give out prizes for 1st, 2nd & 3rd place. The 'prize' is indeed a very lovely rosette/ribbon. The first place winner also gets a gift certificate or money. The Best in Show winner (again, based on votes) gets the largest rosette and monetary prize of all.

Do any or all of those artists then have the right to say they are an award winner or have won a ribbon? YES!

The other contest entries receive nothing at my show. Why should they? I'm not scoring them on various areas of craftsmenship like the OZ contests do.

My thoughts in the situation of OZ shows are these.... if you need to give the other entries something, give them a printed certificate with their score..... perhaps something like "TABA Contest Participant...... Score XXX Rank XXX in _______ Category" This isn't an "AWARD" or a ribbon, nor does it say congratulations on it. It's just a certificate to look at in the future to remind them of their participation and their score and perhaps be something to be proud of even if it isn't an award or perhaps something to encourage them to try harder.

Not only would this eliminate the whole "Ribbon/Winner" thing but paper certificates are likely cheaper than ribbons for the promoter!

Just my two cents!  bear_original

chris009av Real Deal Bears
Posts: 2,234

What a great idea Daphne, it sure would make sence not to give eveyone the ribbons.
It would make the rossettes all the more special.

bearhug07 Strange Bears
Posts: 444

I agree Daphne
I thnik Australia has to reconsider the way we "award" entrants in competitions with only the top three in each section receiving something and the "Best in Show" receiving a trophy or similar and other entrants receiving nothing or just a certifcate as you suggest. The misconception being engendered by those artists noting themselves as being "awarded"  is not going to add credibility to the industry here at all.

It is a hang over from the doll shows I think and there is no need for the bears to continue to follow up.

sarahjane Brisbane
Posts: 2,951

I agree with this 100%...the certificate idea is a good one I think  bear_original

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

Before I did my first contest with awards I posted a question here on TT about WHAT to give as awards.
I thought you might find the responses interesting or helpful. Here's the link:

Aleta - The Silly Bear The Silly Bear
Portland, Oregon
Posts: 3,119

The competitions I've entered give rosette ribbons for first and second in each category and then an overall best of show ribbon.  I enjoy these competitions because collectors and other artists can look at, and really see, the quality and creativity in each piece first hand. 

I take the voting very seriously at these competitions and really scrutinize each piece.  I realize not everyone does this....preferring instead to vote on their favorite artists.  (Hey, this happens even in the magazine competitions.)  However, in the end the Best of Show award is given appropriately.   

Do I consider myself an award winning artist?  After winning a best of show title and several first place rosettes, yes.  Especially since I am new to the show venue.  People are not familiar with my work or know who I am so they don't have a bias.  Do I advertise that I'm award winning?  No.  I do post pictures of my award winning pieces for a week after a win because my collectors like to see them but that's it.  It's enough for me to know I've won awards......I have my own little ribbon shrine.   :crackup:  :crackup:

That's my two cents worth....for what it's worth....two cents.   bear_happy  bear_grin

Warmest bear hugs,  :hug:

samanthapotter Mary Myrtle Miniatures
Cheltenham, UK
Posts: 800

There is certainly a difference between competitions where everyone who enters gets through to the final round for  judging for a first place, and those where the entries are shortlisted to be eligible for first place. 
I feel that if someone has entered an award where no short-listing takes place, then it is worthless declaring that you have one of these 'ribbons', as it is only a symbol of your participation in a competition, whereas an award such as the TOBY or Golden Teddy, where you may not win, but were shortlisted (or 'nominated'), this is worth declaring, as although you didn't win, it is still a symbol of achievement. 
Hope that makes sense! bear_wacko

edie Bears by Edie
Southern Alberta
Posts: 2,068

I have never heard of contests where all the participants get ribbons!!! If the ribbons are meant to show they have achieved a certain level of proficiency then I totally agree with Daphne that a certificate or written assessment of the bear to show them how they have done would make a LOT more sense! Now here in Canada a RED ribbon means you have come first and a blue second - the opposite of the States and I don't know about other places. I think winning a ribbon can mean just as much as winning a trophy or medallion - it all depends on WHAT it was presented for! It should not be the physical prize you receive, but the honour of the award you have won that matters. In the Miniature Bear of the Year Contest through Teddy Bear Club International, you didn't even get notified (other than the first year they did it) that you had won, never mind a ribbon or certificate, you just had your winning bear pictured in the magazine along with the other winners - I don't think that makes it any less of an honour to have won! (although getting something tangible like a ribbon or certificate is of course always nicer!)

TamiL Dolls N Dreams
Aurora, Colorado
Posts: 6,454

ribbons01.jpgbmaa07.jpgI don't see anything wrong with it.
I have not won any awards with my bear designing, have only been making bears for about 7 months. Wish I could win something someday, and I don't know that much about Bear Contest but I have won numerous awards with my dolls.  1st place is a crystal award and 2 and 3rd place was always a ribbon.  I'm just as proud of my ribbons as my crystal awards.

These are my brag pics (lol) and I consider myself a award winning doll artist, ribbons and all! hahahahaha

djbbears Queensland
Posts: 356

I have entered some of the shows up here and yes have got ribbons for encouragement as well as a written assessment, but the only thing that annoys me a little is that some of the comments confuse me a little as for example,"nose is not stuffed hard enough" but when you enter again and the nose is stuffed hard you get a comment that its to hard so my thing is why bother sometimes. Dammed if I do and Dammed if I don't so my theory is do the best you can and yep I sell my bears through word of mouth and a little shop has a few of my kiddies that don't last long so people are happy with what I do so at the end of the day if my kids make someone happy well thats great..ok gets of my box and hides........ will try and get some piccies up.............

Take Care
Be Safe


chris009av Real Deal Bears
Posts: 2,234

I do think our system of judging here in Oz is basically a very good one.
The bears are judged on manly the Technique and design, giving a score out of 100.
Therefore you can say that the bears that have the blue ribbon were scored abouve 92% (roughly).
These bears are very sound in technique and design.
The winner of the section will be the highest scored bear.
Where I think it lets itself down is that the bears that score below this will get a ribbon representing there score, so a badly designed and poorly made bear will get a ribbon of another colour.
The critique sheets that the judges fill out are excellent for seeing where you can improve, and what you have done well.
Maybe the giving of ribbons is to emcourage the beginner, which is nice, but then maybe they should be in another section.

Jellybelly Bears Jellybelly Bears
Posts: 4,066

I like our system...its used in more than the teddy bear and doll industry too.  my sister is a professional photographer and they have the same system...points and a first second or third ribbon according to the points they receive.  i suppose its a bit like a school report...either and a b or c grade....and some lucky person gets an A+ bear_original  I think that this gives collectors a better idea of your workmanship..if you've received a blue ribbon they know your work is good, of course it depends on the judge, but roughly speaking.

I think that the teddy industry should be fun and should make people happy and not taken too strictly seriously...were loosing sense of what the teddy bear is about when we analyse every little detail...i think the ribbon awards give us a good sense of where we stand, how good our work is...and if we are happy with a red ribbon and we are proud, its bascially what your conscience tells you...i'd rather buy a bear who has been seen by professionals and given a score so i know what i'm spending my money on than someone who i have no idea of the quality....  and after all is said and reality, anyone can say whatever they choose!  i can say I'm a toby winner, post some photo taht I've doctored in photo shop, and there you go!

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

Are there perhaps some artists out there who submit their work into these judging contests just to get critiqued on their work so they know what's good and what needs improvement?

Again, I can see giving the two or three who place at the top of each catagory a ribbon or rosette but why the rest? Do all collectors know what the colors mean? Do even all of the artists know? What good is it? If I "got" a ribbon just to signify where I ranked in my category, knowing I didn't rank in the top 2 or 3 then my ribbon is like giving a game show contestant a parting gift of a year's supply of tunafish! Especially if it's color represents the bottom of list. I'd bury that thing in the bottom of my closet!

OK, I've been sitting here strugging with my graphics program for over 3 hours and I'm rather cranky. I don't mean to insult the methods used at the Oz shows. Just sharing a point of view... of which there are lots... none are necessarily right or wrong.

I do think a change is in order and I hope it's an easy and agreeable one for all!

Are their US shows who conduct 'contests' like this? I haven't heard of any, that's why I ask.

Delartful Bears Delartful Bears
Posts: 3,518

This has been really interesting.  I don't think winning a ribbon partically means you win an award, unless it's a blue one.  I can see how it would make artists strive to do better and have better levels of workmanship though, working their way up to hopefully get a blue.

Daphne - you mentioned that your competition was judge by a panel, and you specify by collectors.  Do you think collectors really know how to spot a well made bear?  I mean, I am sure they know the basis, but I reckon fellow artists have an eye, and see if a face isn't quite symettrical etc.  How do you know that your panel won't just favor the bears that appeal to them, with style etc?  Also, do you think big names would sway them towards picking a bear over someone who is more known to them?

I can see pluses and minuses in both sides.  No easy answer!

Jodi Falk Bears by Jodi
Gahanna , Ohio USA
Posts: 3,463


Well I have won ribbons before at shows where there was a competition with 1 st 2 nd and 3 rd place ribbons with a best of show ribbon. But not every one got one. So I guess you could say if you won one that way 1 st 2 nd 3 rd or best of show , you are a ribbon winner. But it is not really an award if you just got one for showing up.

sarahjane Brisbane
Posts: 2,951

Are there perhaps some artists out there who submit their work into these judging contests just to get critiqued on their work so they know what's good and what needs improvement

Yes there are...I am one of them!!!  bear_original

bearhug07 Strange Bears
Posts: 444

Many of the bears entered in competitions in Australia are entered to gain experience and comments from the judges and it is a great way to learn. especially if it is not a large competition and the judges have lots of time to write comments.

The confusion arises from the enrants when they seem to think they "win" or are "awarded" the ribbons that are given to every entrant, as I said before these ribbons are coloured and each colour is matched to the points given to the bear. Rosettes, medallions or trophys are given to "best in show" 1st, 2nd and 3rd.

I gather from previous comments that some shows o/seas only award ribbons ....I'm sorry if my topic  heading offended anyone as I didn't mean to imply this was not worth calling an award winning artists..............

To me you are an "Award Winner" if you have won "best in Show" 1st, 2nd or a show........but you are not if you have won a ribbon for participating in a show..............which in Australia so bear artists/makers are claiming.

We also have prizes at some shows for "Peoples Choice" and from experience I don't think the public choice the big names.......generally the bears are not displayed to show who made the bear and therefore it is blind voting........about 6 years ago a particular artist in Australia won every "Peoples Choice" show but never won the judges choice......due to ill health she was often not trading at the show and was not known to the public very much at that to me showed the public did vote on visual appeal only.

Donna Donna's Duin Bruins
Burbank, CA
Posts: 900

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. 
Then also, I have entered competitions at some shows where there are only two ribbons awards but there have been only one or two entries in a catagory, so saying that you won a ribbon does not really mean anything.  I like to enter these contests to challange myself to make new and different creations.  It may not be the same type of contest as in Oz but I am still growing and trying to improve.

Just last weekend at Lincoln City there was a competition.  It has a rule that you can enter a bear from your collection.  In that competition you could be going up against a Stieff or any other manufactured bear or a well known artist that the collector has purchased one of their bears.  I have a problem with that aspect of the contest but this is a show that is fun and hosted by a bear club so their view is different than that of many promoters.

I don't think there is an easy answer for this debate.  I also think that the people who are claiming that they have won a ribbon just for participating will continue to make that claim even if you try to change the way the competitions are run or the ribbons are handed out.  I think we just need to hope that the collectors are clever enough to figure things out on their own.

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

I have to agree that most collectors who vote, vote based on appearance and that "awww" factor. I'm often at the contest tables when folks are voting and thus able to over hear conversations or chat with them about the various entries.

The contests I conduct are NOT for educational purposes.... it's meant to be a fun challenge to artists to create something irresistable, that will be a favorite amongst collectors and fellow artists. It builds artist recognition and commradarie and is a 'feel good' experience for everyone. It also gets show attendees really paying attention to details of bears, SEEING just all the hard work we put into our bears.

And don't the majority of artists want to make bears that will be loved and SOLD? What better way to know what collectors want than to see what they vote for?

If I'm correct some of the BIG contests are based on PHOTOGRAPHS........ judges don't get to poke noses, test joints, etc. with a picture either. And for some contests, once the entries are narrowed down it's up to collectors to vote for their favorites by looking at a single picture of each entry in a magazine.

If sounds like the OZ contests are very involved and more of an educational experience than anything else.

I've had artists ask if someone will be availble at my shows to evaluate their work, give them pointers, etc. It sounds like that's what folks who enter the Oz contests are really looking for. Perhaps that should be a separate thing from an actual contest where awards are given out???

I dunno.

Like Danni said "No easy answer."

Donna - we were posting at the same time! bear_original

Just Us Bears Just Us Bears
Posts: 940

I can see both sides of the coin where Oz comps are concerned. On one hand I think only awarding ribbons to 1st, 2nd and 3rd along with Bear of Show would give the ribbons more meaning...but it's like someone above the collectors really know what the ribbons mean anyway? A lot depends on individual artists as to whether they use their ribbons to try to sell bears...and I personally have seen Aussie artists promoting their red ribbon wins as something great. And it sounds like this can be misleading as well seeing as though Edie says in Canada, a red ribbon is for first and a blue second!

In Australia, the competitions are becoming less supported all the time. I know the majority enter for the critique and feedback, but I still think the ribbons are a nice touch and at least everyone gets something for entering. Maybe there should be ribbons for first second and third and then everyone else gets a yellow? It's true, there is no easy answer...but maybe in Australia there needs to be something put on the entry form further explaining the ribbon systems.....and that winning a blue ribbon means you have excellent workmanship, but unless you have won Best in Section/Category or Bear of Show, you are not classed as an 'Award Winner'. It seems the clarity is missing in the purpose of the actual ribbons...being that they are for an indication of points received and not an actual 'award'. I was rather surprised when attending my first bear show to learn that there were any number of blue ribbons awarded in each section. It was the first time I had ever seen this system as the only other shows I had been to were country agricultural shows where they had craft comps, and they were alway red blue of each, that's it. So it is possible that someone who hasn't actually been to a bear show could mistakenly think there is only one ribbon of each colour awarded in each section....and therefore a red ribbon means they came second!

Society nowadays seems to be letting go of true 1st, 2nd and 3rd...especially at the primary schools where the kids all come home from sports day with a participation ribbon. They don't give 1st, 2nd, 3rd ribbons very often anymore...cos it makes the children who lost feel sad. Sheesh....then one day they grow up and find out there are winners and losers! bear_wacko
I think the comp system needs to be evaluated, yes, but we also need to keep some sort of incentive there for people to enter...or we will HAVE no comps. Tough one for sure. bear_ermm Good topic though Sandra.

rufnut Rufnut Teddy's
Victoria Australia
Posts: 2,725

I would consider an  award winning artist, winning a trophy or medallion  for best in show, or winning a prestige bear award.  I agree also I would like to see 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winnings in categories too.

Megelles Megelles
Posts: 273

HI Everyone,
I have just briefly read the above.  The ribbons displayed at a show also allow the general public to know how any of the bears in the competition "rated" against each other. 

FYI:  The Awards from The Australian Bear Awards(TABA) are as follows:

Trophy awarded to “best” bear.

BLUE Rosettes to be awarded for best in each Section highest points and 90pts minimum
Medallions awarded to 2nd and third.
WHITE Rosettes (an encouragement award) to one entrant in each Class as chosen by the judges.

Ribbons to be awarded for each entrant
Highly commended (Blue) 90-100pts
Commended (Red) 80-89pts
Credit (Yellow) 70-79pts
Certificate of Encouragement less than 70 pts

And the ribbons mean that the bear has acheived a certain standard of workmanship as judged on that day.

With any award it should be explained in the correct terms.

ie I have won a 2005 TOBY Industry Award.
or I was awarded a medalion for Best Bear in show at the Toowoomba Bear Fair.

Cheers Lisa
and Hayley I don't know how to quote you but it is very true about our kids!!

Mitch2052 Blue Valley Bears
Posts: 770

As the red ribbon person in question, I must apologize to for my faux pas of calling my red  ribbon an award. I did not intend to  any make misleading claims with my wrongful wording. Unfortunately I am unable to remove the offending material from my current listing but have removed it from my future listings. I have learnt a valuable lesson from the posts and will do my best to ensure I do not make another mistake. I am highly embarrassed by calling my ribbon an award, for receiving it no. I value the judges comments and will use them to improve my future entries.
Cheers Susan bear_flower 

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