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Eileen Baird'sBears
Toronto
Posts: 3,873

bear_sad OK, TTers, spill the Bearmaking Beans! Pleeeeeze? :pray:

How do you make the transition from Slow Fiddly Beginner to productive Bear Machine?

I work so slowly that my progress is virtually undetectable by the naked eye.

Over the past year, I've developed half a dozen patterns of my own that I really like. About half of these prototypes are stashed away unfinished-- for want of a second ear, or a lower left eyelid, or some little detail that I didn't finish because I was so eager to get on to the next new idea.

So I know I need to cultivate the one-thing-at-a time mentality, and the finish-one-bear-before-starting-another habit, and I'm not looking at mass production here, and I know that you all keep learning and trying out new things, but . . .

I would love to know how all of you proceeded from the first steps to producing at a rate that got your business going.

Any experiences/insights would be most welcome and greatly appreciated! bear_wub

Eileen

WildThyme Wild Thyme Originals
Hudson, Ohio
Posts: 3,115
Eileen wrote:

bear_sad OK, TTers, spill the Bearmaking Beans! Pleeeeeze? :pray:

How do you make the transition from Slow Fiddly Beginner to productive Bear Machine?

About half of these prototypes are stashed away unfinished-- for want of a second ear, or a lower left eyelid, or some little detail that I didn't finish because I was so eager to get on to the next new idea.

Eileen

Oh... Eileen... that is my same problem wrapped up in a nutshell!  About half way through a bear.... I get incredibly anxious to start the next one.  Now, there are a great many bear artsist who can work on more than one at the same time... I am SO ENVIOUS of those who can DO that!!!!   bear_innocent  bear_wub   Really I am.  If tried that, I would NEVER, EVER complete a bear!  Everyone has different working styles to be sure, and you have to do it the way that gets bears completed for YOU.... For me that means, I have to discipline myself to not start a new bear until the one I am working on has been photographed.  I almost always complete the head in it's entirety before moving on to do anything else.  Once that head is looking back at me with loving eyes, I am VERY motivate to finish up the REST of him. 

Now, truth be told.... there are times when  I complete a head and she's just not saying much to me, or there is a mistake that in my mind renders her unsellable.... from time to time, I do just hide those away... but MOST of the time i finish them anyway.  I often find that by the time they are complete I like them a whole lot more than I thought I would.  If they still aren't doing much for me..... then my kids get to play with them!  But the overwhelming majority of times I just force myself to finish, and at the very least, I've learned something in the process.... or I use the "iffy" bear to play around with and experiment on as I finish....

Not really to insightful an answer for you Eileen... because it sounds like we have the same natural tendency!   :doh:  :hug:  bear_wub  For me it's just a matter of forcing myself, and more often than not, I end up being glad I did! 

Kim Basta
Wild Thyme Originals

Eileen Baird'sBears
Toronto
Posts: 3,873

bear_original Thanks, Kim  :hug:

It sounds as if the condition is probably chronic, but not terminal!

It also sounds as if I need a bit of SELF DISCIPLINE--never my long suit.

Right now I'm lucky enough to be doing two (count 'em TWO) things that I love so much, they don't really feel like work--tutoring English and designing/making bears. I'm not used to having so much fun. I think I need to establish a few serious efficiencies in both occupations.

Right now I'm producing more 'finished' students than bears. At least all my students have two ears!

OK, how does this sound for a 12-step program?

:redface: 1. Finish Easter-Challenge Bunny.

bear_angry 2. Give notice on Findatutor: no new students until further notice, and refer desperate violators to someone else.

bear_whistle 3. Once bunny is finished at last, put some tunes on CD player and finish those hairy Procrastinatees, including photos--I haven't seen any of them for so long, they'll probably feel almost new.

:twisted: 4. Tell family and friends to watch me, so I won't get away with cheating.

bear_noexpression 5. If tempted by pesky visions of new bear, make notes ONLY, and on ONLY one page of designated notepad.

:dance: 6. Celebrate completion of procrastinees by enjoying clear conscience and starting new bear.

:hug:  bear_wub 7. Wallow in new bear until itch to begin another bear begins.

bear_angry 8. Resist--see # 4 above.

bear_original 9. Allow self some strictly limited slack: whilst working on current bear, allow self ONLY to sketch New-new bear, paw through mohair stash, rummage through accessories stash, assemble stuff, etc., and ONLY for a maximum 30 min/day, and without putting scissors to pattern or fur until current bear is finished and photographed.

bear_rolleyes 10. Repeat until inventory is sufficient for (finally) establishing website.

:dance: 11. Establish website.

bear_original 12. Repeat steps 7-9 until I can be trusted to work without supervision, at which point I can work on TWO bears at a time!

Eileen

Winney Winneybears and Friends
White City, Oregon
Posts: 1,103

Oh my...this seem to be a real delimma for many of us bear maker...this is my worse problem !

I finally figured out ...first I need bears ....then photos..... then a web site or a way to show my bears...simple.
I  usually can't sell a bear without these 3  items ... so that is my order of priority to get things going.

I had to make a  rule for me when it comes to designing...as my light bulb goes off up in my head all the time...on a regular basis I get so many ideas...So...I have a sketch book with plain paper and a note book lined tablet and colored folders...
When I get a good idea I do a sketch and a drawing and gather up other info. such as magazine pictures , examples of a technique that maybe has inspired me ...and I just keep stuffing that folder...this can take a week or a month or perhaps years... This allows me to BUILD upon an idea until all the elements or most of them have been solved...Sometimes it will give me a whole series of bears...taking my time on this really helps to fill out my bear design so it developes better then if I just make the bear in haste...

Another thing I had to do was to be working on no more then 2 new bear designs at a time ...as I keep taking notes on specifications . or changes  I will make on the next bear. My mind stays more focused this way for 2 bears instead of more and actually saves time as I don't for get so easily where I want to go with my design.

I found keeping every thing for one bear in those plastic under the bead boxs keeps it all neat and " everything is in one place " so I don't go picking thru my stash or something else and get side tracked... In the box I put the fur. colored folder, and anything else larger...then I have a small plastic box with lid ( dollar store ) for the threads, joints eyes all ready to build my bear with...so if I get a half hr. here and there or want to watch TV and sew by hand  I can use my time wisely .

It helps to know what your weaknesses are then find some way to organize and manage them ...Winney

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

I work on as many as 10 bears at a time...I am usually working creatively on 2 or 3 ...but productively ie the boring bit (sewing and stuffing) on lots  which means they all come together in one big finalle!
Design wise I usually have a bunch of stuff churning in my head..and I put those on paper which I stash in a very messy file for future use...but I will have often 3 different things on the go at once...

I can't do one at a time....I haven't much patience.

WildThyme Wild Thyme Originals
Hudson, Ohio
Posts: 3,115

See, Jenny... that is the way that I think I would most LOVE to work..... And the method that I am ever so envious of!!!!!!!   bear_wub  Maybe when I get caught up some day, I'll give that method another go, and see if I can get more than one completed at a time!  I know that our dear Judi works that way too.... with various bears in various stages of completion.... that way you can work on eyes if you are in an "eye mood,"  there is always somebeary around in need of a nose if a "nose mood" hits, etc... It sounds wonderful!   bear_tongue  bear_wub 

Kim Basta
Wild Thyme Originals

SueAnn Past Time Bears
Double Oak, Texas
Posts: 20,992

SueAnn Help Advisor, Banner Sponsor

Oh yes . . . there is NO way I can work on several at a time.  It's one at a time from start to finish and that's a v--e--r--y  s--l--o--w  method for me.  No wonder I'm not ready for the shows coming up . . . EEEEEEEEEEKK!

Wisdom Bears Wisdom Bears
Ayrshire, Scotland.
Posts: 951

Hi Everyone,
                    I have worked on 4 at one time, but mainly 2 is my limit now ,I find it works better, but I do sometimes cut out 6 and put them in clear bags with all the eyes,joints etc ,ready just to sew when the others are finished. I really like to complete a bear before starting on another. But what works for one does not neccessarily work for others.  Hugs Rita xxx

Judi Luxembears
Luxemburg, Wisconsin
Posts: 7,379

I envy those of YOU who can stay on task and follow through with one bear at a time.  I have bears that are cut out in bage for YEARS.  WHen the mood strikes....I work on them.  I usually have at least four bears going at any given time...I wish I could stay on task better but , like so many of you, that light bulb goes on and I'm off in anaother direction.
I just did this two nights ago ....while working on a bear's paw, I HAD to draw up this anime bear I had in my head.  I drew the pattern and then had him finished completely in two evenings....now I am back to my bear paw.

So, Eileen, I wish I had better advice for you.  I think if you can push yourself to finish a bear you will feel very accomplished. :dance:   I know I always feel good when I finish one.

Eileen Baird'sBears
Toronto
Posts: 3,873

bear_original  :dance:  :hug:  :hug:  :hug:  :hug:  :hug:  :hug:  :hug:  :hug:  :hug:  :hug:  :hug:  :hug:  :hug:  :dance:  bear_original

bear_flower No apologies, anyone!!

:clap: This is all terrific advice and feedback!

In my own pathetically unpromising case, I think I need to work on my 'inventory' of unfinished critters, which is actually a bit larger than I'd remembered (I sneaked in for a look while my all-day student finally took a lunch break). I'd completely forgotten the 'seasonal' critters that missed their seasons.

The poor babies were so happy to see a little daylight. One even had his right ear pinned to his paw, so I wouldn't miss it!  bear_cry

Anyway, thank you all, and don't hesitate to add afterthoughts.

I feel 100% better, even after a full day of beating Sheakespearean/Petrarchan sonnets into the head of my sweet little high-shool-dropout techie--he''s taking a "bridging" course in English Lit that should get him into the U of Toronto next fall, and he practically lives here. An exhausting child.


Eileen

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

I'm like Judi......multiple bears going all at once.  I have fifteen bunnies and eight bears in various stages of completion.  I also have notes and sketches on my notepad to the right of my desk so as I think of some grand idea I always have paper and pen handy.  My studio is the messiest room in the house.  It always amazes my hubby that every other room in the house can be "Polly Perfect" but the studio always looks a bit unkempt.  I think that the rest of the house has to be perfect because my "studio/brain" is always chaotic.  The rest of the house must be calm and peaceful.....a place of refuge from the creativity.  Frued would have a heydey in my head.

Warmest hugs,  :hug:
Aleta

Eileen Baird'sBears
Toronto
Posts: 3,873

bear_laugh Aleta,

I'm amazed that you can work on multiple projects, finish bears and keep the rest of the house clean!

Still, it's a good idea--now that my middle daughter & son-in-law have moved into their own apt, there might be hope for me too. Before they moved, I couldn't even find the floors. We had piles on our piles of piles.

It's clear to me now that all of you very talented people tame the Creativity Beast in different ways. You've learned when to rein it in and when to give it its head, and how to balance the two, at least well enough to get something finished.

I'm relieved to know that there's no single solution, because it probably wouldn't work for me.

After all those years of Mommying, my style is probably more Fighter Pilot than Librarian! Still, I probably need a strong dose of self-discipline before hitting my own lurching stride.

Whilst reading through your responses, I suddenly remembered the Nightmare Scenario that probably sits in my head like a disapproving schoolmarm.

I once dated a Rhode Island School of Design student whose roommate had been working on the same painting for two solid years. It had started as a simple class exercise in still life. He was supposed to paint a single lemon on a red plate against a dark background, but couldn't seem to get it right!

Needless to say, the original lemon was long gone, and he could spend days searching for the right replacement lemon after the latest replacement rotted away. Meanwhile, because his own painterly view was changing as he learned and matured, he never seemed to catch up--either to his own vision or to his lemons--long enough to finish the painting. And until he finished the lemon, he couldn't really settle into anything else. So far as I know, he's still at it somewhere!

Eileen

Wisdom Bears Wisdom Bears
Ayrshire, Scotland.
Posts: 951

I can appreciate what Aleta said about her Studio being a clutter. Mine is also in a clutter ,but every now and then ,I have to start afresh. I know exactly where everything is too. I try to keep the rest of the house clean and tidy, but most people that come to visit just love to come into my Workroom, they say its so homely. No accounting for taste really.  Hugs Rita xxx

millie PottersHouse Bears
Ohio
Posts: 2,173

I always completely finish the head of the bear first.  That way I have this little face looking at me begging for a body to go with the head.  I must admit though that it is a little harder to get my bears done this time of year.  In springtime I just want to be outside.

psichick78 Flying Fur Studios
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 3,073

I wish I was faster as well!

I can't work on more than 1 bear at a time. Even if I wanted to. I feel that each one of my bears gets better and better so I like to finish one, before I start another. That way I really feel as if I'm growing.

NOw, I believe I have started to develop a style, so maybe I'll be quicker now.

Also, finishing one bear, before starting anything else, helps me finishe each bear, so I have to unfinished bears anywhere! PHEW!

But with felting..........another story. There is this dragon I've been working on for a year now. Just can't finish it!

Winney Winneybears and Friends
White City, Oregon
Posts: 1,103

What I did not tell you is until I figured out how to organize and chage my unproductive ?  bear making habits is that
I have scores of cut out or almost done  bears in their own boxes awaiting to be sewen up...agh!

The shirt like boxs are stacked up against 2 walls...one stack for real fur bears and one stack for mohair  bears... Then there is the closet...a lot of synthetic prototypes in there..Yikes ! I must get those made up as I go and figure out where I want to sell them ...the synthetic ones probably at Christmas , locally here. I need the space.

Avtually...how I really work is just like some of the rest of you..I get an idea and I can't help but grab a pen and paper to sketch it down then I'm off to find materials ...I am just trying to get more focused with my new plan.....it seems to be working  about half way better for me...so maybe I can sort of ride the line halfway...he, he...Winney

Eileen Baird'sBears
Toronto
Posts: 3,873

bear_flower Golden words all--thank you, everybody! :hug:

Millie and Heather, your words set off a regular clanging of bells in my head.

I've just redesigned my bunny body because by the time the head was finished, the dratted beastie had gone and changed on me. She'd become male, younger, more realistic, posed differently, or differently posable. I was able to unstuff, unseam and alter the assembled body, but what a honkin' pain it was!

As for developing ones' own style, I think I've got miles to go. I can't see it yet. Maybe after the next few critters--I mean, of course, maybe after the critters-in-waiting are finished.

bear_laugh Winney, thanks for sharing your pile of shirt boxes!! There are probably priceless treasures in there. This reminds me of my old piano teacher's teaching/learning methods. He'd let me struggle through a piece until I'd learned what he wanted me to learn from it, and then assign another before I'd mastered the first. I never knew whether I ought to go back to my imperfectly-mastered repertoire, or give it up as a lost cause. I can see finishing all the shirt box bears, and I can also see recycling their fur and other bits. On bad days, I might also consider heaving the whole pile outdoors and setting fire to it!

Rita, the last person who asked to see my workroom wanted to have a wallow in my mohair stash. We made a bigger mess, but it was fun. The family rarely comes past the stairs before retreating in shock! bear_sad

Eileen

matilda Matilda Huggington-beare
WA
Posts: 5,551

Eileen!!!!!!!!!!! You could have finished a bear by now!!!!!!!!!!! bear_grin  bear_grin  bear_grin  bear_grin  bear_grin
The number one rule to bear making is not to feel guilty about procastinating .
Not to feel guilty for having 10 projects on the go at any one time.
Not to feel guilty because you are so scatty that the mind cant focus.
And I'm sure there are more things not to feel guilty for. bear_grin  bear_grin
But thankyou for posting Eileen. I now dont feel quite so silly. Knowing there is someone out there nutter than myself.!! bear_grin  bear_grin  bear_grin  bear_grin
Matilda bear_wacko

Eileen Baird'sBears
Toronto
Posts: 3,873

bear_laugh Sheesh, Matilda!

I'm too busy to procrastinate these days. Boy, do I ever miss procrastinating! bear_wub

I freely admit to the nutty, however, and possibly even the scatty, though that one's debatable.  bear_ermm

I guess I'm just efficient-scatty, as opposed to scatty-scatty. For example, these days when I open the refrigerator door and realize that I've forgotten what I was looking for, instead of just standing there I clean out a shelf or two until I remember! Or not.  bear_original

Eileen

matilda Matilda Huggington-beare
WA
Posts: 5,551

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHLOLOLOLOLOL
I know the feeling!!! scary!!!!hahahahahhahahhhhhhAHAHAHAHAHhhhhaaahhheheheh
I have put the milk in the pantry cupboard............... bear_whistle

Eileen Baird'sBears
Toronto
Posts: 3,873

bear_laugh You too?  bear_laugh

When I'm really on a roll, I've been known to pour orange juice into my coffee, and put the remote into the refrigerator.

Both in one day!

This what comes of drawing patterns in your head when you should be thinking of the what-goes-where.

Or trying to remember all the references to 'nothing' in King Lear before your 9:00 student arrives.

I should ban bears and Shakespeare from my kitchen before someone gets hurt, or poisoned, or suffers severe remote-control-withdrawal.  bear_thumb

Eileen

Esmerldas Esmerldas
Colorado Springs, CO
Posts: 108
Eileen wrote:

bear_laugh Aleta,

I'm amazed that you can work on multiple projects, finish bears and keep the rest of the house clean!

Eileen

Well, she certainly has my awe and respect if she does all that!  A  really clean house has never been within MY reach.....at some point when my daughter was really little, I was working full time and trying to save my sanity by having some creative outlet, I gave up on the really clean house.....so we have dog hair and bear hair and dust bunnies under the beds!

As for working on projects, I too work on multiple things at a time.  I keep a sketch book (sketch may be a misnomer, I really can not draw!), with ideas and what pass for drawings and if my estimate of time is right, I will have to live to 150 to get them all done....but at least I'll not be bored!

Ok, now its off to get back to work on the latest art form, working on my first artist card!


"Trust your instincts, close your eyes and LEAP!"

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