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TBReditor Teddy Bear Review
Iola, WI
Posts: 30

Hi everyone!

There's been some discussion (found here: http://www.teddy-talk.com/viewtopic.php?id=34511) about a need for changes to future Golden Teddy Award competitions. Most of the suggestions are about adding new categories and changing the existing ones.

This is a spot to put all of your ideas and suggestions. I will keep them all in a Word document and go over them with the magazine's publisher once it looks like the discussion has died down a bit.

So go ahead, tell me what you think!

Jessica bear_grin

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

Hi Jessica,  I'm copying this across from the other thread, so you have everything in one place.

I think it would be great if competition categories relating to artist bears in general, could be reviewed in light of the breadth of styles we are now seeing.

Since running the Guild of Master Bearcrafters for the past year, I have seen the majority of bear artists' work falling quite neatly into 'genre' categories.  We currently have over three thousand photographs of artist bears created by almost three hundred bear makers represented on the Guild and they are represented in Guild albums as follows:

Classic
Contemporary
Realistic
Vintage style
Elephants
Rabbits
Other Creatures

I think it would also be appropriate to retain a miniatures and vignette category in any competition.

From the work I have seen created on the Guild, the largest category is contemporary bears - this covers all work in a contemporary style, ie., from sculpted toes, to needlefelted faces, to applied eyelids, open/shut eyes, modern forms of design including bent knee bears, armatured bears etc.  As far as I can see, there are many more contemporary bears being created these days and this could mean that classic styled bears, vintage style or 'careworn' bears and realistic bears for example, all skilled areas of bear crafting, become swamped in the bigger picture. 

On a personal level, I am particularly concerned about creating competition opportunities to encourage bear artists to create quality classic bears.  To create a beautiful classic teddy bear takes a great deal of skill and after all, this style of bear is where teddy bear design is rooted, so it is my belief classic bears especially should be entitled to a 'stand alone' category.  This topic was discussed in detail by Guild members recently and the classic bear's status in the current bear world was firmly supported. 

Generally it was felt by Guild members that bear crafting has evolved considerably over the past couple of decades and that some competitions may benefit from a review in light of these changes as the old 'bears undressed over' and 'bears dressed under' type of categories are perhaps no longer representative of the breadth of creativity taking place and as such, may limit entries.

I also think the idea of a Masters category for past winners is a good one by the way!  It's quite expensive to enter the competitions each year and many newer artists are daunted by competing against very regular winners, so either a Masters category, or perhaps a Novice category, may help overcome a shy reluctance to participate!

sandra p skye rose bears
kent
Posts: 229
Website

from the viewpoint of a newbie,ive only been designing and making bears for just over a year,i dont know how long it will be before i feel confidant enough to put my bears in a competition where it feels everyone else has years more experience than me,as well as feeling it would be a waste of time and very probably dis heartening,i would also feel i was being a bit big headed if i believed my bears stood a chance after such a short apprenticeship
if there was a category just for new bearmakers i would happily enter
thats my two pennies worth ,hope it makes sense!
sandra

Melisa Nichols Melisa's Bears
Hazelton, BC
Posts: 5,811
Website

Hi Jessica... Thank you for letting us express our thoughts.  I noticed that there was just one category for animals that weren't bears.  As it takes different skills to create animals of different sizes, I thought it would be nice if there were size categories for other animals as well.  I also like the idea above of having a Master's category... it is daunting to think about going up against regular winners.

SillySu Susie's Bears
California
Posts: 153
Website

You guys are on to something here.  Different categories.  More of them.  How do you pick between an elephant and a cat?  or a puppy?  Some of you talented people do so many really cool 'critters' that aren't bears that it's amazing!!    :clap:  :dance:

I know a lot of artists who have given up competing.  Mainly because they feel the same people seem to win all the time.  As was said above, it gets expensive after a while and they get discouraged.  I've never even tried to compete so I'm not just bringing up sour grapes here.  I'm merely passing on what I know some other people have said to me.  After several wins, these artists should be put into another category, and I like the Master idea....  Ok...now don't anyone shoot the messenger. :redface:

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

I really like the classifications which Paula has suggested, particularly the Classic, Contemporary, and Realistic destinctions. I would be tempted to put the "Vintage" bears in the Classic catagory. I also think that Dressed bears should be its own catagory, as it  now, and the Classic, Contemporary, and Realistic distinctions should be for the undressed bears. I think the Vignette or Tableau catagory should remain the same.

As for the suggestion of a Masters catagory, I think a Masters division would be better. In much the same manner that you now divide the artist and manufacturers' bears into separate divisions with the same catagories within them, there could be separate Masters division which still has  Classic, Contemporary, Realistic, and Dressed catagories within it.

It might break down something like this:

Artist Division:
* Miniature Bears (under 4" tall)
* Dressed Bears
* Classic Bears
* Realistic Bears
* Contemporary Bears
* Other Animals

Master Artists Division: (artists who have previously won a major industry award such as Golden Teddy or Toby must choose this division)
* Miniature Bears (under 4" tall)
* Dressed Bears
* Classic Bears
* Realistic Bears
* Contemporary Bears
* Other Animals

Manufacturers Division:
* Miniature Bears (under 4" tall)
* Dressed Bears
* Classic Bears
* Realistic Bears
* Contemporary Bears
* Other Animals

All divisions
*Tableau: groupings of more than one bear, or a bear with animal friends or a scene. .

Gantaeno Je Suis Lugly!
Posts: 1,065
Website

I think maybe you could seperate the animal catagories more than just rabbits, elephants, others? Just because there's so many amazing dog sculptors out there... I do think there needs to be more animal categories...

jenny Three O'clock Bears
warwickshire uk
Posts: 4,413
Website

I like the idea of a 'master' category as it will open up the competition and a newcomers competion would also encourage new entrants.
On the subject of other categories I do think it's difficult to measure a simple traditional bear against one with complex techniques because it's a bit like having a race where one athlete jumps over hurdles and another runs in a straight line. While  I do think in an ideal world like should be judged against like , so if you are to have a 'traditional bear only category then I think 'techniques' would need to be ruled out. So no ageing or  'distressing' of fabric, no shading, no hand painted eyes, no needle sculpting. It would be impossible because as Melanie says so many artists make what on the surface are traditional bears but when you l look at it they do use various techniques to achieve simplicity.

I think therefore that an additional 'Mixed Media' category could be good for those creations where techniques which are different from those regularly used are allowed. Such as needle felting, apoxy sculpt detailing,  airbrushing, wings, open/close eyes, teeth...that type of thing.
Enabling  simple teddy to be judged against  simple teddy.
So rather than singling 'traditional teddies' out perhaps it might be better to separate those bears that have become more complex through the application of new techniques.

As far as other animals go I do think though it is difficult to judge a dog against a cat you would have to judge on creativity and quality of workmanship. I just think perhaps a large and small size category would help.

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

I echo a lot of what Paula says. As a member of the Guild I followed this discussion with interest and also agreed about the categories, however after considerable thought I wonder if widening them may also result in some type of confusion, for example a classic teddy bear may also encompass some contemporary elements and there are a lot of bear makers out there who could be deemed as classic in style but do use the sculpted toes etc so where would they then fit. I think this could become a very grey area and possibly problematic especially if it is based on techniques used, rather I believe it would be more fitting for a category to encompass the traditional/classic bear based solely on the design only regardless of the techniques used. But I do think that they need to be widened

Melanie, I do agree that those distinctions can have some gray areas and that parameters for each one would have to be clearly defined. When I read the first three catagories Paula suggested, I wondered which my bears would fit into. Most of them would have to go under contemporary, although I like to think my bears are classical, and they have some realism too which comes in the form of the contemporary techniques I employ bear_wacko .  As Paula stated the largest catagory would likely be contemporary bears, but putting the realistic bears, and truly classic ones (classic in both design and execution) in their own catagories is much better than the simple, dressed vs undressed.

susiray Bear-Hands
Algarve, Portugal
Posts: 482

i agree with Paula, i have been making bears for over 2 years now and have tried to pluck up the courage to enter competitions which i know are important to push your name, but with so many amazing artists it is scary, also the price is off putting especially as the economy is bad i am reluntant to spend money on competitions when i can be using it to buy more material or advertise in other places.

more categories would be great and i love to always go and vote and once again it is difficult to choose when so many bears or other animals are put together.

hugs Susan x

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

Tip toeing in quietly and raising hand......I would love to see a category for mixed media.  Mixed media as in mixed materials, not just those of needle sculpting.  Paper, fiber, wood, paperclay and recycled materials.  I would love a category for "out of the box designs".

Thank you for the opportunity to put an idea out there.

Warmest bear hugs,  :hug:
Aleta

Tami E Tami Eveslage Original Teddy Bears
Milford Ohio
Posts: 2,367
Aleta - The Silly Bear wrote:

Tip toeing in quietly and raising hand......I would love to see a category for mixed media.  Mixed media as in mixed materials, not just those of needle sculpting.  Paper, fiber, wood, paperclay and recycled materials.  I would love a category for "out of the box designs".

Thank you for the opportunity to put an idea out there.

Warmest bear hugs,  :hug:
Aleta

Aleta, your idea is more on par with the term "Mixed Media" in my opinion. Creating trapunto paws , needle felting, needle sculpting etc. on a teddy bear is an application of additional fiber arts techniques and I do not  think it fits under the mixed media term. Whereas incooperating paper, wood, paperclay recycled materials, etc. is more mixed media. It would be a very cool catagory  to have indeed, especially since mixed media collage is such a popular art form right now.

I suppose all of the bears could be called mixed media since many have polyfil and plastic pellets or glass or steel shot inside them and they have glass eyes, but I think mixed media generally implies what Aleta said.

pma2003 Seamore Collectibles
CT
Posts: 451

I personally love all the ideas.
Paula I think you petty much covered all of the categories.  I love the idea of a miniature vignette.
Well done,

tuppies teddies Tuppies Teddies
Lindenow, Central Gippsland
Posts: 1,969

Sounds like everyone is on the right track...I especially agree with winners of previous competitions enter in the Masters the next time....I too have thought, picked a bear and then hesitated at the last minute because I have felt I would not have a chance...................cost reduction would be a plus too.....now not sure about the artist having been making bears for less than a year.....I have been making bears for 10 years.......would I be a novice because I haven't entered any comps or not a novice as I have been creating bears longer than 12 months...will follow this thread with great interest..

edie Bears by Edie
Southern Alberta
Posts: 2,068

I do like the idea of revamping the categories and a lot of good suggestions here - but I'd just like to give a word of caution!  bear_grin
Not sure about some of the divisions of bear categories being mentioned - I think you would have to be careful to make sure people know which category their bear would fit into - classic, contemporary, realistic, vintage - sounds like it would be very confusing to me and a lot of possibilites of overlap- which would just become frustrating. Even in the categories now it is sometimes hard to distinguish between the dressed/accessorized and the undressed - size of course is VERY easy! For instance in the 2009 GT's a bear with a ruffle collar and a bell won in "undressed" and a bear with a necklace and flowers on her head won in dressed/accessorized! (both gorgeous bears! - but were they in the "right" categories????)

I do think we need more categories for animals - but doubt if it would be feasible to have a separate category for elephants, cats, dogs, monkeys, rabbits, et., etc.  I have never entered the animal categories as I do not make realistic animals - more of an anime style and I just don't think they can be judged against a realistic animal - whichever animal it is! Also how can a miniature animal be judged against a 20" one any more than a miniature bear against a big bear? Size makes such a difference in the detail you can acheive and when they are being judged from photos I feel the miniatures would be at a disadvantage against the larger critters. Right now there is really no category for any type of anime - whether it is an animal or a bear, so that is something I would like to see.  Or perhaps to divide the animals into "realistic" and "non-realistic" along with size breakdowns.

As far as a "Masters Division" - it would have to be very clear. Would someone who had never entered an animal or a large teddy but won in the miniature classification be considered a "Master" for all categories or would they be allowed to enter the regular division in categories they had never won - and would winning include nominations? or just the final winning in Publics Choice? What if they hadn't won in over 5 years? or over 10 years? (a long time with the way things have been changing in bear artistry!)

Doesn't sound like your job is going to be an easy one, Jessica! but everyone is certainly giving you lots to think about!

EvaJ EJ's Crafts
Fort Mohave, Arizona
Posts: 829

I am very lightly treading in here because I make child safe bears and with these come plastic eyes and plastic joints and I think there are more of these type of bears being made by others.  I would love to enter competitions but my bears fall more in the manufactured category and I don't belong there or any where else that I can see. 

I do think there should be more categories and additional animals categories because, like what was said before, how can you judge a cat from a dog and size really matters here too.  The Master catagory like Paula said I think would help more people trying to enter the competitions.  It also would be nice to see lower entry fees.

edie Bears by Edie
Southern Alberta
Posts: 2,068

Another thought re the tableau. Right now the tableau entries can be quite elaborate - like a whole scene with many props, accessories and mulitple bears/critters, or simply a pair of bears - that must be hard to judge, or the pair don't stand a chance!  What about keeping the tableau, but also adding a "pairs" category - that could be two bears or a bear and another animal with either accessories, dressed,  or undressed but without the elaborate props that might be in a tableau.

Regarding cost of entry fees - I would doubt that the magazine can reduce the fees, but I wonder if they could possibly print photos of some of the other entries rather than just the nominees - even if they were thumbnail pics - that might make people feel like they were at least getting a bit of exposure and appreciation for their entry, and I think the public would really enjoy seeing the other entrants as I am SURE there are a LOT of fabulous entries that just miss out in the judging and someone has put a lot of time and effort into creating them -might help with people feeling disheartened at not winning!

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

Edie, the pairs catagory is a good idea too. I strongly feel pairs should not be in individual bear catgories! I do think however that elaborate scenes are at a disadvantage to a scene with fewer bears simply because of the size of the photos in the magazines.  The more there is in the photo the smaller everything is. I have often squinted at a tiny elaborate scene in a tableau entry thinking, "this looks like it might be really neat, too bad I can't see it properly" and I vote for the one I can see!

jenny Three O'clock Bears
warwickshire uk
Posts: 4,413
Website

The reason I suggested 'Mixed media' as a category ( probably for want of a better phrase) was that the discussion started because traditional bear makers felt that their skills are often undervalued in competitions when pitted against bears with 'enhancements'. However, many traditional bears are enhanced with contemporary techniques and so if you were a purist you could argue that only those bears with no enhancements at all should be entered into a traditional category. There would not be many bears at all in that category.
So I suggested that those bears with enhancements which are fashioned from items other than mohair, felt etc or utilise techniques borrowed from other crafts should have a separate category. So those bears with needle-felted faces, noses, open close mouths/eyes, wings, dolls eyes, sculpted, painted, cloth faces for example would be in their own category. I know this list is not exhaustive and there are many more mediums and techniques and these would be included in such a category.
On a side note I agree about the dressed category v bare bear...sometimes it's hard to say why a bear is in a dressed category. Last year a bear was in a dressed category ( not sure if was the Golden Teddy Awards) with a scarf around it's neck. That is not a dressed bear..and those artists who dress their bears would be right in feeling disgruntled. I am probably going to upset someone here but I do think clothes should at least be designed by the artist themselves.

I just wanted to add, though, that while I agree that it hard to judge a contemporary bear against a traditional one, I think if you are judging purely on appearance , which, in a photographic competition is what happens, then I do think you have to go on eye appeal mainly and in that regard I think it's fairly obvious which bears stand out and which do not. So I don't think you have to get too bogged down in so many categories. Otherwise you just end up with a category for every bear ..when push comes to shove I think modern design, traditional design, realistic, friends, In big and small and then miniature and 'mixed materials' is what I'd go for...along with  the tableaux of course.

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

. I am probably going to upset someone here but I do think clothes should at least be designed by the artist themselves.

.

I so agree with this!!!! (I guess I might upset someone too.) If you enter a bear into a contest as your work--all of it should be your work.

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

Just to clarify the classic/vintagte/contemporary/realistic thing.  I have noticed on the Guild there are very clear differences in techniques, styling and finish, in virtually all cases:

Classic: No embellishments.  A true representation/interpretation of the generally held concept of the original teddy bear form.

Contemporary: Embellished and styled utilising modern techniques to achieve a contemporary look.

Vintage: Distressed to achieve a careworn, aged, appearance.

Realistic: An interpretation/representation of real bears in the wild.

ScaliWagGrrs ScaliWagGrrs
Denver, Colorado
Posts: 1,157
Website

I totally agree with having a Masters category. Plus I really really really would love to see more categories for animals other than bears. I make lots of dogs and I see quite a few others that do as well. how about a category for dogs and cats. And another for rabbits and elephants and then one for all other critters. I know this is adding a lot of new categories but I feel it unfair to lump all other animals that aren't bears into one category.
I also agree that a dressed bear's clothing should be made by the artist.
Another thing that I have wondered about is are the entries judged at all anonymously. Meaning the judges don't know who the aritst is when first judging the entries. I don't know if this happens at all in the bear world but I have seen it in other type contests I have entered or seen--sometimes it isn't what the artist has made it is the artists name that gets them an award.
I know many aritsts work is very recognizable so even being judged anonymously most people would probably recognize their work.  but I just wondered if this has ever crossed anyone else's mind. I don't get the feeling that this is an issue in the bear world. I probably have just been jaded by seeing it elsewhere.
In any case I did enter a piece again this year.
Cost wise it would obviously be nice to be less expensive. I would have entered more than my one piece but just couldn't afford it. I agree that it would be wonderful if you could put thumbnail pictures of all the entries in the magazine. If not all then at least maybe some runners up? 
Thanks for letting us voice some opinions on this subject!
Beth

mebears M. E. Bears {Since 1994}
Queensland
Posts: 318

I have been reading and now I will add my thoughts  - please don't send any hate mail!  bear_sad    Anyway I don't agree with Novice or Masters categories because I believe (and have seen for myself) that judges often go easy on Novices and and Way Too hard on Professional entries.  bear_cry   Should you not be judged on your ideas and what you have spent weeks and months creating  - and  be encouraged to improve the designs and quality of workmanship.  Maybe after you have won the award twice then you can no longer enter a bear - try an animal (and remember this is just a thought  :redface:). And there are plenty of competitions world wide to enter!!!

Also I have seen beautiful bears loose to a rabbit or dog. How can you judge animals and bears - like a show judge choosinging between a fruit cake and a pumpkin.  Yes you need categories for animals separate and at least three sizes - under 4 inch, up to 8 or 10 inch, and then over 10 inch - maybe even 4 size categories because the larger the bear/animal the more techniques can be applied.  But then again ask a artist who makes large bears to make a 1 inch bear and see what amazing skill and patience it takes.

Finally I applaud  :clap:  judges and their hard and often thankless job.

Hugs  :hug:
Wendy

Linda Benson Bears
Tasmania
Posts: 562

I think it's going to get too unwieldy to have different categories for all the different animals and after all it is called the "Golden Teddies". I agree that there needs to be a revamp of the categories in bear comps to reflect the diversity of what's being created out there. I also think that a master's is a good idea. (Denise, in most comps you would be classed as proffessional because you sell your bears, a novice doesn't sell their bears.) I don't know, it's probably a case of---- "you can please some of the people some of the time, but you can't please all of the people all of the time" But definitely some expansion would see more entries, also I tend to shy away because the fees are a bit steep, if you don't even get past the first selection you are still out of pocket by a considerable amount. I like Tami's suggestions.

edie Bears by Edie
Southern Alberta
Posts: 2,068

Way back when (in the old days when I began teddy making  bear_grin ) the Golden Teddy's did have a section for hobbyists - can't remember when they discontinued it and if there was a reason??? But I think most of the people here aren't talking about hobbyists but rather artists that have not entered competitions before or who have not been making bears for a lot of years yet.
Since so many categories would be needed for each animal separately, perhaps just adding in a couple more size groups for animals would help as far as making more places for people who make other animals to enter.
I agree,Wendy, that it should be all about encouraging NEW design ideas and techniques.  I was very disappointed one year, (in a different competition) when I called to clarify the rules to figure out which category I should enter a very unique design in, to be told, gee they weren't sure, perhaps I could just enter something else!

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