Friday, 16 February 2018

Practice makes perfect - hopefully!

My youngest sister, like me, is learning to draw, so we have set up a little art group to encourage each other, together with a few close friends and family who also enjoy artistic endeavour. A couple of months ago, Laura challenged me to draw, paint or craft something, every day for a year - she's a hard taskmaster! So far I am on target, having completed something arty every single day since New Year's Day. 

This was yesterday's quick sketch ...


The idea is to improve with practice, so hopefully this time next year I will be able to share a masterpiece!

:-)

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Spring Cleaning

Was tidying my workroom cupboard earlier and came across this lovely photograph of a past collection of big bears I created several years ago. I remember the photo was taken by my sister ... she did a great job and we had loads of fun together in her studio that day!


 I'm not sure why the photo landed up in the back of my cupboard, but it made me smile today, so I have put it back out on display. I perched the pic behind my teddy bear trophies which were also gathering dust, but have today been washed so are now sparkling when the sun shines through the window. 

All this organising and cleaning can only mean one thing .... surely Spring is just around the corner?!

:-)

Monday, 12 February 2018

Twists, turns and teddy bear artistry

Time is a funny old thing isn't it ... I was hunting through some old photographs for pictures of my biggest bears and came across this one taken about twenty years ago, with my huge 32" 'Miguel the Magnificent' alpaca teddy. We were perched on the steps outside my kitchen window while my then husband, snapped a quick photo to record the creation of this huge teddy bear, before he took a flight to meet his new owner in the USA.

Me and Miguel the Magnificent circa 1998.

So much in my life changed since those days. After this happy pic was taken, I became divorced, a single mum and eventually, left my home of twenty three years, to begin a new life with my now husband and two teenage children. Then my kids grew up and made careers for themselves, left home to build their own nests ... and joy of joys, my grandson was born!


Just before my son left home my Dad passed away unexpectedly, which took a great deal of coming to terms with, as I rattled in an empty house each day. I filled the silence with waggy tails, noisy barks and golden sunshine thanks to Polly and Betty, my two beautiful golden retrievers and more recently, added a cheeky ginger kitten into this rather lively mix - one thing is absolutely certain, the house is no longer too quiet and I have no time left to rattle any more!


Thinking about things further, it wasn't until after the photograph with Miguel was taken, I finally plucked up sufficient determination to learn to drive, passing my test on the second attempt, at the grand old age of 42! I also taught myself to use a computer properly, learned among a zillion other things, to create a website to showcase my bears, write a blog and to utilise social media effectively. I also joined the Open University to develop my writing skills, then surprised myself by passing well!  And when a very boisterous Polly puppy arrived, I nervously signed up for dog obedience training classes and once again surprised myself by actually managing to teach not one, but two naughty puppies to become polite doggy citizens. I learned how to use a digital camera to photograph bears, to make cloth dollies and recently, to paint and draw. 

Me and Lonnie, February 2018

Since the early 1990's, I have witnessed the ebb and flow of teddy bear collecting and watched it reshape dramatically with the birth of the internet ... it has been a fascinating period of historic teddy bear change, both in terms of design and collecting ... and one in which I have enjoyed a privileged view! 

On a personal note, although my life has been full of ups and downs, twists and turns throughout those twenty something years, thankfully the one constant has been my teddy bears. The passion to create these gentle creatures has remained with me, during the best and the worst of times.

There must be many reasons people become teddy bear makers. Mine was simply that I always loved traditional bears, ever since I was child and I had an itch to create my own ... then once I'd started, I couldn't bear to stop!

Thank you so very much if you have been a part of my teddy bear history. I have met many lovely people from around the world during my time as a 'bear artist' and am eternally grateful for the kind homes shared with my teddy bears and the kindness shared with me. 

:-)

Saturday, 10 February 2018

A cosy corner

Last week, I treated myself to a little art desk for my birthday, after realising that if I had a tidy up and organised myself properly, I would be able to free up enough space to transform a corner of my workroom into a cosy art corner.


I am thrilled with my new work space and looking forward to playing with my art materials safely away from Rodney's mischievous reach ... that naughty cat just can't resist stealing paintbrushes!

Rodney

Now that I have my teddy bear work station on one side of the room and my art station on the other, I will be able to tuck myself away and create to my heart's content whenever the mood strikes - and best of all, can leave my work out on the desks and close the door in the knowledge it will stay safe until I am ready to return to finish it!


I am so very grateful to have such a lovely creative space to work in. It is full of my crafty bits 'n pieces, pictures of my kids, craft books and teddy bear materials. It has everything I could possibly need to hand. Until he bought his own house several years ago, this was my son's bedroom, but I claimed it back when he flew the nest, then, with the help of my husband, turned it into my creative sanctuary. It is a lovely bright sunny room, full of 'happy' creativity and the perfect space in which to create teddy bears ... and now also, to paint!

:-)

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Instagram and allbearbypaula

Just to let you know, I have opened a new Instagram account to share photos of my teddy bears. Instagram is a fun, simple way of sharing photos online quickly and I think it's the perfect way to show you what is happening in my sewing room.


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xxXxx


If you would like to follow allbearbypaula, please visit the link below:


I am looking forward to sharing 'All Bear' snippets on Instagram.
Everyone is welcome to join.
In fact, the more the merrier!

:-)


Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Mud and strawberries

Well, the number might be a little harsher these days (!) but thankfully my 55th birthday was still heaps of fun!


Not that tromping through extreme mud in the pouring rain would be everyone's idea of birthday fun (!) but when you have very excited dogs and little 'uns eager to try out wellies in puddles, anything is possible! For me, it was all about sharing birthday time with my sister and her family. These days work and family commitments pull us in all directions, so getting together like this was extra special.  I must admit to missing our sister time, so was delighted when Fo organised this fun muddy walk and invited us all back to her home, dogs included, for a lovely celebration and a warm up afterwards.
Thank you Sis, it was so good to catch up with you all and to share some proper sister time.


My actual birthday was a couple of days after the muddy walk and by some strange fluke, my kids, their partners and my mum, all had time off work, so were able to visit me on a weekday afternoon. As I thought I would be spending the day alone with Polly and Betty, I couldn't believe my luck when 'my lot' and mum told me they would be celebrating with me!  We shared a super afternoon together, chatting, laughing, eating the delicious strawberry and fresh cream cake my daughter-in-law made especially for my birthday ... and generally being entertained by my very lively grandson! Come to think of it, we were four generations of family celebrating my birthday this year, making it a very special birthday for me.

Thank you family, for sharing my birthday.
You made my day a very happy one!

Much love to you all xxx






Sunday, 4 February 2018

Available teddy bears

January is always a tough month for teddy bear adoptions as Christmas takes its toll on us all, so, I have decided to sweeten the price of my two available teddy bears this week with a little 'Winter Sale', in the hope it may help them find their way to caring new owners soon. 

16" Lonnie

21" Albert

Also, as it's my birthday tomorrow, it couldn't be a better time to be a tiny bit frivolous!

;-)

Friday, 2 February 2018

Fairy Faraway

I confess, I am not the most patient person when it comes to doing arty stuff. For example, I am a terror for not allowing layers to dry properly and can't tell you how many pictures I've messed up through sheer impatience!


Unlike teddy bears, fairies don't take kindly to being worked on for long hours at a time, indeed, they are rather fickle creatures, preferring to reveal themselves to their creator, a little at a time.


I have come to love the process of spreading my art materials around my fairy as we consider together, what might suit her best. By listening carefully I usually find a fairy knows what suits her temperament; in case you didn't know, some fairies are fiesty, some are flitty and some, like this one, are rather thoughtful. One thing is for certain though, they all enjoy revealing their fairy personalities through the magic of colour.


And then of course, there are wings ... should they be bold and bright, soft and subtle, flittery, or still? In the case of 'Fairy Faraway', she concluded her wings should be translucent and shimmery yet motionless, because she required quietude whilst pondering her future ...


So I listened to Faraway's request and in keeping with this thoroughly modern Miss, we Googled such matters and discovered the perfect paint medium to lend her wings the beautiful soft shimmer she desired.


Lastly, Fairy Faraway whispered a little poem into my ear and I noticed with a smile, she had borrowed a few of the lines from an old poem I wrote years ago. Fairies are practical creatures and as that little poem had been gathering dust whilst discarded in the back of an old folder, she decided it was time to put it to good use, so reworked it and claimed it as her own. I didn't mind at all, after all, fairies always know best.

:-)

The 'Joynal' course referred to in my pics is an online course, run by lovely Australian artist Jane Davenport. I am currently thoroughly enjoying this lovely escape from reality ... and as you can see, I'm learning heaps of fun stuff too! 

Thursday, 25 January 2018

A soft spot

Meet Albert! 

It has been so nice to make a proper big teddy bear again, my first of 2018. I always feel most in my comfort zone whilst working on a large
scale ... must be something about returning to my bear making roots! There is also a joy in creating a teddy bear I would chose for myself if I were able, a beautiful big, traditional teddy bear, the kind I have always had a soft spot for!

21" Albert is now available for adoption.

This handsome fellow is made from my favourite densely curled Schulte mohair, which, as I am sure I have said before, is pure teddy bear luxury.

I am hoping there is someone very special out there for Albert. If I could chose a home for him myself, it would have to be with someone who loves teddy bears for the comfort and friendship they offer, someone who will enjoy the company of a teddy created from the heart.

If you would like further details, please pop over to my website:


Thank you!

:-)

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