Friday at the
Doll and Teddy
Bear Artist and Collector Convention
Creating Interest Among Today's Generation
Friday morning we were up early for a day filled with activities and things to see! The buffet breakfast proved to be as pleasant as the dinner: again sitting with new people, conversations started and it was nice! I was once again surprised and secretly very grateful!
The morning was highlighted by the Signed One-of-a-Kind Artist Signature Piece Doll and Teddy Bear Sale and Judging for the Beverly Port (bear) and Helen Bullard (doll) Awards for Excellence. The bears were in one conference room with the dolls across the way, set up on long tables, as you can see in the pictures. Well, it was pretty awe-inspiring to see the caliber of work presented by all the artists! I was very pleased also to see the large crowds wondering about in solemn or happy appreciation.
So much variety, from the traditional to the truly artistic, the "Teddy Bear" never looked so good!
Karen O'Brien's offering
(above) was one of my favorites for its originality...
...but Martha Burch's wizard (below) was a clear favorite. (There's a frog in his sleeve!)
Beverly White outdid herself with her Beetle-Bears!
Lori Simon's real fur young miss with her own Teddy was beautifully detailed, nostalgic and endearing.
Along with Martha Burch, two other artists taking part in my Online Hallowe'en Artists' Studio Trick or Treat entered pieces that showed off their talents: Pam Pontious and the unmistakable Amy Thornton!
Sadly, however, the works all had to be bears, no other creatures were accepted, so there wasn't anyone that I particularly wanted to bring home (although Cathy Knapp's stow-away mouse was very sweet!).
After all the bears, we went to see the dolls! Wow! While we certainly are not doll experts, we were impressed by the diversity and quality of the offerings!
My two favorites: Sarah Maldonado's "Elizabeth" and Colleen Devlin Bang's "Cleared for Takeoff".
However, bear artists couldn't vote for dolls and doll artists couldn't vote for bears.
All this before 10:15! Off we went to get good seats for Mikki Kavich's presentation "Remembering my Grandmother, A Tribute to Doll Artist Helen Bullard". We were really fortunate to have met Mikki in the elevator the very first day, striking up a conversation and finding out what a genuine person she is, her affection for mice and hear stories about her relationship with her famous grandmother. She was really nervous about her presentation after John Paul's "technical difficulties"! Happily, her talk went as smooth as silk, was very well put together and beautifully delivered!
Before the talk, everyone was welcome to see one of her grandmother's original dolls, which now belongs to the Susan Quinlan Doll & Teddy Bear Museum & Library, and her books.
She got a chance to share some wonderful memories and images, like her favorite photo of Helen, above...
...and others that showed what an unconventional, fun-loving character her grandmother must have been!
Mikki finished her presentation by sharing a beautiful story about finding, entirely by chance, a box of her grandmother's hand-made tops at a garage sale. Wow! What luck! Of course she bought the whole box and relating the tale nearly brought joyful tears to her eyes. One lucky person in the audience got to take one of these tops home.
We took a small break then (before attending our choice of over 20 different panels, demonstrations and presentations) and by chance met Mikki and her partner, again in the elevator! Now that she could relax, she came and saw our critters (pictured below and you can see them by clicking here), and we chatted and congratulated her on an excellent presentation! Her grandmother would have been pleased, I'm sure!
The buffet lunch was quite tasty and I'm happy to report that vegetables were always available with all the meals and nicely prepared. In fact, all the food was always prepared to our liking, and everyone seemed to be content.
1:00 and we were seated to enjoy "Teddy Bear Artists: A Journey into Their Work and Creativity!" by Cindy Malchoff and Donna Nielson. While the talk was advertised as a "journey into the techniques of over 20 artists", the presentation consisted only of pictures being shown and the techniques being listed without any descriptions or explanations. It also ran very short, so to fill the time a game of "Who's the artist?" was played with the following image on the left.
Some people really know their bears! One collector identified 38 of the 40 faces!
We then saw Felicia Hymer's "Collaboration, Promotion and Marketing of Dolls and Teddy Bears" and Felicia (who is "the Bear Scout") shared some very good tips and sales advice with her audience. The handouts were helpful, and the wisdom that most stuck in my mind was that every week you should spend at least 30 minutes on marketing your creations.
Thank you, Felicia!
The best for last? Martha Burch was true to form as she presented "Trials of Being an Artist" pointing out in a serious yet entertaining way how an artist has to wear so many hats to succeed. She shared some fun stories from her past, like how she once at a show put paper bags over the heads of all her bears! She stressed how we have to be creative, always looking for inspiration everywhere, not take rejection personally (a very hard thing to do) and love what you do because it shows. Martha included my Online Hallowe'en Artists' Trick or Treat as a great way to increase sales and exposure and that internet shows are growing bigger and better. Thank you, Martha, I really appreciate your support! It means a lot!
Okay, mom and I had just enough juice left to walk around the "Artist Marketplace" where anyone could sell supplies or odds and ends. Unfortunately, all the things of interest we saw earlier before 3:15 were already gone, although I did purchase two oh-so-lovely pieces of synthetic from the Mohair Maniac herself, Donna Mettling. I see a silver mitt ferret or an ermine in the near future...
Mom and I went up to our room for a rest before dinner, and again got to show my critters to a fellow artist, Monica Reo, and her husband. Sadly her dolls were not unpacked so we didn't get to see her work... and then it was time for the buffet dinner and the Announcement of the Winners of the Best of Show Awards!
It just so happened that Lori Simon sat next to me for dinner so we got to chat about fur bears and art, and my Hallowe'en Trick or Treat. The appetizers were delicious, dinner was quite nice, but the thrill of the evening was when Lori won one of the four Beverly Port Best of Show Awards! Wow! (Her real fur bear is pictured above.)
There she is, going up to accept her award!
What a great end to the day!
(Unfortunately I didn't get a good shot of the Helen Bullard Best of Show winners, sorry.)
Continue by clicking here.
Photos by me, Karen Waschinski, unless otherwise noted, with the Convention header from http://www.quinlanmuseum.com/convention/