Jan 16, 2014

The good ol' days

So we spent the weekend purging, filling 2 recycle bins with papers and magazines and setting aside about 2 boxes worth of books that will be brought to the Humane Society's annual garage sale.  It felt really great to create some wiggle-room!  I highly recommend it, if you're also the sort of person who has magazines from 2003.  Oops.

  This purging also brought me to go through a 4 inch stack of letters exchanged between 1998 and 2003 between myself and a Teddy Bear artist with whom I was sharing
Rita's traditional bears
an incredibly rich friendship.  I combed through these letters, reducing the pile to 1 inch, keeping only those of depth and that spoke of the Teddy Bear artists' world.  Imagine:  in 1998, my friend did 18 Teddy Bear shows, only one requiring plane travel, all the rest in the eastern United States, mostly New England.  18 Teddy shows, not combined doll shows or craft shows, but dedicated Teddy shows.  And she sold, making a fair living creating and selling her art!!!
Sadly, the world has radically changed (many of these shows no longer exist) and, even for my highly productive and well-known friend, it became impossible to survive only on the 
and her more adventurous creations

bears.  In 2002, she had to take a part time job, my friend noting that more and more crafters were coming on the scene trying to "make a quick buck" and that she was selling fewer and fewer animals, needing to diversify more and more.  How sad.  I wish I had been in a position to enjoy the 1990s boon, but I was only getting started and certainly not in a position to fly down into the States to do all these shows.

  I recently heard that the last long-running Canadian Teddy show, Mark McKay's Teddy Bears on Vacation, is closing its doors for a year to rethink its goals, with the impression that more and more of the attending people, seniors now, are looking to sell their collections, not add to them.  Bear artist Michele Seraphim also talks about this in her blog.  In my area, there are a few annual doll shows or joint doll/Teddy shows but no Teddy shows at all.

We, as a group, we Teddy and doll artists, very much need to rejuvenate our art and take it to a new generation, but how do you get teens and tweens to look up from their iPads and cellphones?  I don't know.  One thing that Michele talks about is the growth of online shows which makes the participating artists' work accessible to many more collectors (although losing the touch-and-feel aspect and the face-to-face contact).  I've been active in that area, of course, with my Online Hallowe'en Artists' Studio Trick or Treat with this being our 6th year!  Yes, I am looking for new participants so email me if you're interested or want to know more!  Let's keep our dreams alive and kicking!   

Thank you, Rita, you still have the power to inspire!
"To have a good friend is one of the highest delights of life; to be a good friend is one of the noblest and most difficult undertakings." --Anonymous

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for mentioning my blog on your blog! I am also writing to say that I am interested in more information on your Halloween show so please send me an email to m.seraphim@cogeco.ca and let me know if there might be a space for me! Thanks! Have a wonderful day! :)