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KJ Lyons KJ Lyons Design
Seattle, WA
Posts: 1,413

There will always be a market for some type of soft sculpture art. It is it's own art form as much as glass blowing, pottery, or any other art craft. I believe the reason we are losing teddy bear collectors is because the current generation has not grown up with teddy bears. BUt just because they don't have the same attachment to teddy bears does not mean that they will not appreciate the art of soft sculpture. I think one of the problems is that some old-timers insist that we stick to teddy bears and not expand beyond this art form. There will always be a market and collectors of teddy bears. IT is the history and foundation of our art. But I fear that if we are fixed in this point in our history we will fade. Look at the doll artists. They have a very wide view of what is considered a 'doll' and they allow artists to expand their art with a wide brushstroke of imagination and techniques.

rkr4cds Creative Design Studio (RKR4CDS)
suburban Chicago
Posts: 2,044

Point well-taken, Karen! Very well said—and yours as well, Becky!

thumperantiques Newcastle, Ontario
Posts: 5,643

     I agree with a lot of what you and Bobbie said.  Collectors are diminishing and that's due to age and the economy.  It's tough to pay all the bills and sustain a family today.  I am not a full timer - I've was lucky enough to have stayed home with our
kids while they grew up, which I know was a luxury for all of us.  I have also been involved in some kind of art form for over 30 years.  Although I have never had an exact amount I had to earn, my job was to make enough for the extras - Christmas presents, holidays and things that weren't necessarily covered in the family paycheck.  I fell into bear making, because I stumbled across a Teddy Bear and Friends magazine, which was the miniature edition.  I was in awe but no way I could afford to buy them, so I decided to make one.  That single bear was the beginning of 17 years of bearmaking and I love it as much as I did the day I started, even if my hands don't work as well, or my eyes see as well.  I've had to make bigger bears due to arthritis, but I don't know what I would do if I had to quit entirely.  I am still as thrilled with each little bear I make, as I was my first one.  I think that's what sustains some of us through the dips in sales etc.  I simply love making bears  bear_wub

rkr4cds Creative Design Studio (RKR4CDS)
suburban Chicago
Posts: 2,044

Just this morning I saw this on a small yahoo group I belong to: there are perhaps 3 dozen members and almost all are collectors. Half a dozen members expressed the similar opinions. This is very apropos as it's an unsolicited opinion on the very subject that we're addressing...

Long, long ago, I purchased the Muffy Snowflake and Gingerbear Christmas
bears "for investment". That was a dumb idea then, and it sure hasn't
played out to be a good investment. Now I'm at the point where I must
downsize, and I'm starting to get rid of some of my bears. Anyway....I
have these two Muffys, mint in box. There is no secondary market for bears
these days, and they aren't selling on eBay. Before I put them in the box
that will go to Toys for Tots and make some kid's Christmas, I wanted to
ask whether anyone here on the board might be interested in them. I don't
even know what to charge, but if you want them, they could be yours for not
much more than shipping. Whatever you'd be willing to pay.

It really pains me to give up some of my bears, but when you have over 400 of them, and you know
you're going to sell the house sometime in the future, it is time to start
paring down the collection. I have a lot of artist bears and Steiff. I
will probably keep most of the Steiff. I also have about a bazillion
Bearstones, mostly LE, and I don't have a clue what I'm going to do with
all of those. The collectibles market sure stinks these days!

desertmountainbear desertmountainbear
Bloomsburg, PA
Posts: 5,399

I believe that there will always be the appreciation of quality handmade items.  I have for many years collected traditional crafts at higher end craft shows.  When I began selling teddy bears at shows many years ago I never thought to even sell at a bear show.  I sold at juried craft shows beside the potters, weavers and wood carvers.  I always did well.  Because the people coming to those shows were collectors looking for finely crafted items. Some of these shows brought 10s of thousands of people through in just a couple of days.  I still feel that in order to succeed you have to look beyond teddy bear collectors to find your audience.  There are just not enough of them around, and there are too many teddy bear makers vying for their attention.

peterbear Boechout, Antwerp
Posts: 4,755
rkr4cds wrote:

Long, long ago, I purchased the Muffy Snowflake and Gingerbear Christmas
bears "for investment". That was a dumb idea then, and it sure hasn't
played out to be a good investment.

Bobbie, with all due respect for the collector who wrote this comment: teddy bears are not a good investment, unless you were born over a hundred years ago.  :D
And in my opinion they will never be a good "financial" investment*.

Personally I object to people who buy teddy bears in the hope of selling them with a profit within five or ten years (or sometimes even within a few weeks  :mad:).

I still believe that you buy (or 'adopt' as I prefer to call it) a teddy bear (or other soft sculpture) because you love to see it, feel it, hug it; because it gives you pleasure and enjoyment; because it cheers you up when you are down; ...  and that you intend to keep it with you for a very very long time (no matter what it's "market value" may be).
I understand that at some point in your life it may be necessary to downsize your hug, but don't complain if you can't it into hard cash!

* I do believe they are a very solid "emotional" investment.  bear_tongue

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