Millie, that's a great question.
My simple answer is: I haven't put my entered pieces up for sale before the nominees were announced, ever.
Instead, I hang on to my entries for the big year-end contests. Or at least, historically, that's what I've done, for the TOBY and GT contests. I don't enter the international ones.
One exception to that "hang on to them" rule occured this last spring, when I entered three alrady-sold pieces into the URSA contest. Frankly, I simply wanted to participate, and just didn't have anything ready, that was still on hand! But I did have nice photographs of work I thought stood a chance of getting noticed. So I figured, "Why not break with tradition and enter them?"
For the big contests I tend to "gear up" and think ahead to create something as spectacular as I can manage, which I plan, from the outset, NOT to sell, mostly because I work so hard on it and want to keep those particular pieces for myself, which is a rare thing.
As it's been explained to me by other artists, the thinking with hanging on to entered pieces while you await news on them is that, if they garner nominations or wins, they are more "valuable" and will therefore fetch you, the artist, a higher price for their honors if/when you decide to sell.
I, personally, haven't even wanted to sell anything I've made, that's received awards of any kind. I do get asked, though, because those pieces attract a lot of attention! I fielded a note just this week from someone interested in my pig piece from 2006. Kinda awkward to say, "Thank you so much for your interest, but... SHE'S MINE!!!"
I suppose the capitalist in me isn't as strong as it could or should be! But I admit, I like looking at these furry little critters I've made and thinking to myself, "I can't believe I did that, all by myself!", all giddy and stupid-like. It's very validating, and I'm really very honored by my honors and want to keep that good feeling around to enjoy, and for my kids and husband to enjoy. They know I worked really, really hard for those achievements, and that I'm very proud of myself, in a still-kinda-shocked-by-it-all kind of way.
I know many, many artists, however, who regularly enter pieces into the contests they have already sold. Just FYI. Either they're not the sentamentalists I am, or they're just far better business persons!!!
I don't think there's a "right" or "wrong" way to do it, Millie.
Thanks for bringing this up!
Shelli, I have always sold the pieces that I have entered in the Tobys and Golden Teddies. Nothing to do with business or lack of sentimentality, as over the years I have certainly wished I could keep some of the really special ones - but are you aware that the rules state "each piece entered MUST be available for sale, or sold, during the year 2006 - 2007 to be eligible" and also in the affirmation statement that you sign on entry it states "I further attest .... that the teddy bear or friend entered is/will be produced and available for sale nationally and/or internationally in the calendar years 2006 and/or 2007". I copied this from this year's Toby rules but I know that that was the rules in past years as well and I am sure it is also for the Golden Teddies although I don't have that info right in front of me at the moment.
Also as far as the price being higher if it wins, it also states in the rules - "#13 Any substantial changes in design, costume, materials, or RETAIL PRICE from the original entry are grounds for disqualification of the entry." This I think would have to refer to a listed price - if you sold the item on ebay, as long as you didn't start it higher or put a reserve higher than what you stated on the entry form as the retail price, then you should be fine even if it goes higher than that.
Something for some of the other makers to think about who are considering entering the contests this year - are you willing to part with your entry! Of course if your entry is a limited edition I don't think the rules mean you couldn't keep one then as you would still be offering others like it for sale.
Millie, I really don't think it matters whether you sell the bear first or after - main reason to save it for after would be to be able to say it is a nominee or winner - and that perhaps if you were selling it on ebay it would go higher from the extra publicity - but as far as rules it can be either.
Hope this helps! And Mindy, if I've gotten any of this wrong or misunderstood the rules, please clarify!
You make some really great points, Edie; thank you! Let me clarify my statements a little bit and address what you wrote, because you've said some important things.
First, remember that I'm speaking in generalities about all contests. They do have different rules. For example... I don't have the rules in front of me either, but my recollection is that only the GT requires -- or, in the past, required -- a price be set by the submitting artist. Or maybe it was the other way around. ???
I haven't read the rules for either contest for this year.
I do know that oftentimes, in the past, I watched as nominated or winning pieces by other bearmakers ended up on eBay. At that point, as you pointed out, the price set by the submitting artist for use by the contest sponsors became completely meaningless, because -- in the real world -- bids for that item quickly surpassed it.
Second, I come from just that background -- one of selling primarily on eBay. I'm absolutely not promoting retail price hikes resulting from nominations or wins. That reeks of greed and totally lacks integrity, and is absolutely not my way of doing business. Eek!
Rather, I was restating something that was suggested to me by several, much more established bearmakers who, like me, also use eBay as their primary sales venue. And that is that, if one sells bears primarily on eBay, it's natural to conclude that a nominated or winning piece for a particular artist would likely fetch a higher price than a not-nominated-or-winning piece by that same artist. Thus, this argues for a strategy of selling contest entries AFTER the fact.
In truth, I've usually entered about four pieces per contest over the last two years; historically I've entered the same pieces in each contest. Each year, I sold two or three of those four entry pieces simply because I had to. This is my job and I can't afford to keep much of what I make. I kept three pieces over the last two years -- out of ALL the bears I made for those years! Those ended up being a nominee, a winner, and one of my favorite bears ever, PIROUETTE, which ended up empty handed across every contest into which she was entered!
Fourth... I've only entered these contests twice, so I'm pretty much a newcomer to them myself. I usually go all-out, really go the "extra mile," for my entry pieces and have generally kept the ones I fought hardest to create -- nominee, winner or otherwise -- because I NEVER keep my work otherwise. I must have missed the fine print you mention, above, about making pieces available for sale as a REQUIREMENT for entry. To be honest with you, amid all the scurrying to keep the photo sizing just right and make sure I signed everything and get the checks written and submit all the correct forms, completely filled out!, that doesn't surprise me!
Having said that, I'm no cheater. It's soooo not my character. The thought that I might have mucked something up here, inadvertently, bugs the living daylights out of me. I'm squirming in my seat and feeling a little defensive, both. Edie, I'm absolutely glad you pointed this out. I'm gonna try to console myself with the knowledge that, even if I made a misstep here, it wasn't coming from a bad place. In fact, it was coming from a GOOD one. I'm NOT taking financial advantage of my honored pieces just because, in theory, I could. Rather, I'm just enjoying these pieces I worked so hard to create, for myself, with my family. I can derive some comfort from that. It's not been about "getting something out of it" ... even though, for other people, that's the very strategy I advocate, and that was recommended to me!! Ironic, eh?
Still, it occurs to me that I can't possibly be the only artist, over time, who has kept her nominated or winning pieces. In fact, I know that to be true for a fact.
Besides... What's to prevent someone from offering an item "for national or international sale" by posting that item to his/her website.... but immediately and only notifying, say, one's MOTHER, that it's there???
Being one of those "knowledge is power" people, I'm glad to know, on an informational level, that this requirement exists, and for sure I'll be reading the rules more closely next time I enter.
But I also feel a little "called out" on this point, I admit... and I'm certain, in my gut, I'm not the only person who's ever kept an honored piece.
Fact is, my heart really is in the right place on this and I didn't mean to break any rules. I'm just trying to keep around one or two of my pieces per year so that this period in my life, which has been so richly rewarding and incredibly fun, won't pass through my life without leaving a trace of any kind.
Somebody give me a hug.
Anyway... Thanks again, Edie, for the clarification. You're appreciated!
I will give you a hug :hug: :hug: I too keep my honoured pieces. They are pretty much the only pieces I have of all of my work. I have really never thought of ever selling those pieces. I have had people request the piece and I have always said..."I will make one just like it for you" The customer seems to be happy with that...and while it isn't an original with a ribbon, it is again another original...!!I do photograph every piece I make, just so that in years to come, I can proudly say, I made this!!
Hope this helps a little.
Like I said in another post I just printed out all of the rules/policies and whatnot this weekend and went over them in my typical analytical way
I actually thought that same thing...who's to say an artist couldn't just list a bear on a site and let a sister or mom or brother buy it to keep it in the family. Frankly until the rules state otherwise it's still a sale a long as monies are passed between 2 parties for goods.
What made me blink and re-read was the artist making 50% and at least the head...what is that about??? I think for competition an artist should be creating the piece from head to toe...but that's just me. Maybe I'm missing something, but it seems weird to me. But then again I'm too much of a details freak to let someone else's hands create what's essentially(litterally actually) my name.
Hoping this will be a fun and exciting experience!! I wasn't planning on entering anything this year..they were next year's goals.. no time like the present, right
Oh My Goodness! I'm a little confused about this now too! Having never actually entered either of the contests, I've read through the rules but never REALLY paid attention to the fine print. I was under the impression, just as Shelli was, that one COULD keep their nominated or winning entries if one wished.... Hmm... maybe we shold contact Mindy and ask? Just to clarify the situation. I know artists who have kept their nominated/winning entries as well... quite innocently and without fear of breaking a rule... though from what Edie pointed out, that does seem to be contrary to that particular requirement.
When I read over that rule, granted without much real thought, I think that I always assumed that the rule in question was more about WHEN the entry was made, so avoid artists entering work that was completed, and sold, MANY years ago..... and that possibly it applied more to manufacturers... who might have a prototype availabel that they might or might not actually CREATE (in a manufactured sense) for several years.... I thought it was more like they want the work to be a current reflection of the artist's capabilities and/or a current example of a manufactuers product.
Shell, if you did inadvertently break that particular rule... I do know that you are "in good company." :hug: In fact, I know that this topic has come up several times here in the past couple of years, and ALWAYS you've been forthright and very upfront about the fact that you intend to KEEP some of those pieces that have taken simply forever to create (from sketch pad/notebook through final photography) that's not something that you'd do if you honestly thought you were somehow doing something trhat was somehow wrong. I think it's a simple misunderstanding.... don't feel bad!!!!! :hug: :hug: :hug:
Wild Thyme Originals
I'm running through here very quickly, but wanted to add something to the conversation. (Hopefully it hasn't been said before, I just scanned the replies above!).
I think we all need to remember that the TOBY and Golden Teddy award rules are meant for artists AND manufacturers. Sometimes, as an artist, we will run across a rule that doesn't make much sense. I usually presume that when that happens, it was intended more for manufacturers.
I don't have the rules in front of me, but I remember them stating that the piece must be created during a certain time period. Yes, that applies to artists. But when it says that the bear MUST BE SOLD during a certain time period, I have always presumed this is intended for manufacturers, who run on a completely different schedule to create a product than an artist would. It is my understanding that they want ARTIST bears made in the previous year, and they want MANUFACTURED bears SOLD for that year (as opposed to, for example, a bear that was on the market three years ago). Perhaps I am interpreting it differently than others are?
Shelli, I was certainly not meaning to sound like I was calling you out or attacking you! I just thought I should bring up that rule for the people thinking of entering the contests this year as I thought you must have missed it - didn't think you would be breaking rules on purpose and then be broadcasting the fact here!
Maybe I have been too literal in my interpretation of the rule and just assumed everyone else read it the same way I did and was also selling their entries. Kelly and Kim make some interesting points! Do I ever feel like an idiot having sold quite a number of pieces I would really like to have kept but thought I couldn't in all conscience do! Oh well, I'll just have to console myself with the fact that I likely made someone else happy and I at least have the photos!
No worries, Edie. I don't remotely feel attacked. That would require intent on your part and I felt none of that coming from you.
I do feel "called out" but not because of something you've done wrong. Rather, because it sounds like I possibly did something worth calling me out for!!!
Whatever the case, I'm not one to shoot the messenger... and meant what I said; I'm glad to have this information and even happier for the conversation your input has sparked.
I was just fretting that people would think I was some kind of reckless rule-breaker, advocating that EVERYONE break the rules, "just like me!" Eek! And also, that I might have to return my award(s). Which would make me very heartbroken indeed...
:hug: :hug: :hug:
Thanks, Edie, for letting me know about this thread. I've been buried neck-deep in the Nov/Dec issue and haven't done any teddy talking lately.
The idea behind the rule about pieces being available for sale is that the TOBY contest is for professional bearmakers; i.e., people who sell their bears. The contest is a promotional tool for the entrants and magazine.
Basically, as long as a piece is made by a professional artist whose overall intent is to sell their work, we're satisfied. We can't regulate which pieces are actually sold.
But rather than saying, "That one's MINE MINE MINE," you might indicate that a piece is part of a private collection and offer to send photos of your current work. :)
Oh, gee, just noticed more questions.
50% including the head:
Some very well-known, and very artistic, artists have seamstresses who sew body and limb parts for them. The artist designs the pattern, specs the fabric, joints and stuffs the bear, and finishes the face, but someone else does a bit of the sewing. These people are allowed to enter the contest with these bears. I'm not saying whether this is right or wrong, or whether there are degrees of artistry involved in the sewing. Just that it's allowed.
Our rules were originally based on Doll Reader's contest, and they divide their categories by price. Therefore, changing the price could change the competition category of a doll. We don't divide ours that way, so it's less important. We know that winning an award -- anybody's award, not just ours -- can increase the value of a piece.
That said, a piece cannot change substantially between entry and production. That's mostly an issue for manufacturers, but it has come up. If I find out that a prototype and a production piece aren't remarkably similar, I have to disqualify the entry.
When a piece was made:
Remember, the contest is supposed to promote your work. The point is to enter something that's available, or typical of your style, so if it is nominated, collectors might be interested. It's not fair to collectors to enter the same piece year after year, or a design that was sold years ago. We want to promote new work. Artists and manufacturers both designed their work in the same period, it's just that artists sell it as they go, while manufacturers are working ahead for the next year because they have to factor in production time. You're both promoting "current" work.
Hope this helps. Any other questions, let me know. I'll subscribe to the topic, too.
..also keep in mind that if you have a piece that has been nominated for TOBY or Golden Teddy, you might want to think about entering the same peice or pieces into the international competitions. The Golden Goerge and TITA (Tokyo International Teddy Awards) require the peice(pieces) to be sent to thier country. I have three in Tokyo right now..and I almost sold one before I knew she was nominated. I'm glad I did not sell the bear.
I agree with what has already been said that a nominated and/or winning piece is worth a little more in the long run. The money will soon be gone...but a bear is forever.
Thanks for helping clarify those things Mindy.
Edie I feel so disappointed for you that thought you had to let your special award pieces go, thinking you had no choice. :hug: I guess we will all ask questions when in the tiniest doubt in future thanks to your experience and I'm sure you are not the only one in this situation. :hug: :hug: Maybe you can use this knowledge to put you all into creating the most spectacular entry for this year...knowing it's all yours forever!! :hug: \
Shelli...I'm sure no-one thought you you cheating...and if I was in your shoes I would have kept my entries too. Even if I understood the entries HAD to be offered for sale..I would have sold them to family members and bought them back. Dishonest? Maybe a little...but I know the connection you would feel with those pieces and they are a legacy of your work in the years to come and something your family will always treasure. To tell you the truth...if I thought there was no way around the "you HAVE to sell it" rule..I don't think I could enter...purely because when creating a comp piece of the quality required to secure a TOBY or GT, I would have put so much of myself into it, I couldn't consider parting with it...for any $$$.
As for the 50% including the head bit...I would imagine this is okay for everyday bears that an artist sells if that's the way it has to be....but for a comp such as the TOBY's or GT...if won....I'd want to know it was all my own work, every stitch
My sole support is my art and I sell as fast as I create. Thank you, all my Collectors! I love my work and I believe in entering competitions, donating for charity auctions, and other causes that support the teddy bear world But I do not hold back creations, I just can't. I am careful to photograph everything I create and their photographs are my entries into competitions. When one of my entries wins, I send the Award Certificate to the person who purchased the creation. One of my TOBY awards went to a collector who had paid me in $60.00 monthly installments and, of course, she had no idea she was purchasing a TOBY winner.
KJ Lyons Design