Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Workshops in Boronia

Last week I taught two workshops at Bear Essence in Boronia. They went very smoothly and we had some very happy bearmakers with some lovely creations. The majority were making Jiao Jiao the panda, but I also had some bears being made from older workshops which kept me on my toes.

On Sunday we had the Sydney Teddy Bear Fair, which, though quiet sales wise gave me some new contacts for more workshops. Of course, one has to have bears to sell, and things have been going so well from my website (http://www.bensonbears.com/) I didn't have all that many bears with me! This weekend we have our little Doll and Bear show here in Launceston, so again I will have a busy week preparing for that. I wonder sometimes, if it's worth still doing shows. Their success can be so sporadic, but I do know there are collectors out there who will never buy a bear online. These are people who like to feel the quality of what they're buying and you just don't get that from a photos, no matter how good they are. Having said that, I'll be participating in my first online show in June and I'm very eager to see how well that goes. You can find information about it at, http://www.teddybearsandcritters.com/. It 's called The Black and White Ball, and I guess there are going to be lots of pandas and other black and white critters on show. It should be interesting to say the least. Of course I'll be flat chat getting everything ready on time so all of next month I'm going to be really busy!
I have a new large bear finished, and if the weather clears a bit today I should be able to get some photos taken of him. Bart was picked up at Sydney on the weekend, a surprise birthday present, and very surprised Lyn was too! I have also had an email from Matilda's new Mum, she travelled very well and her ears popped out of the box in perfect order. I was a little concerned that the bilby's delicate ears would be squashed in transit, but all was well thanks to the wonders of bubble wrap!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

And the winner is...

Good news! My Bilby has been voted unanimously by three judges, as the best critter in the TBACA Easter challenge. I also have a nomination in the Australian Bear Creations Awards, with Kumo. It's quite a number of years since I've entered any kind of competition, so this is all a little exhilarating! The ABC awards are a public's choice award and can be voted on via the magazine or the Woodlands Publishing website in May, so check out the entries and cast your votes.

The next challenge for TBACA is "Spring has Sprung", I have a few months to think about this one. It will be interesting to see what interpretations there are for this challenge.

I've just had an interesting two days teaching three different bears in a workshop at Bear Essence, in Melbourne. Tomorrow and Tuesday will be similar days, quite exhausting for all concered. It's good to kick back with a glass of wine at the end of the day! All the ladies this weekend were very happy with their creations, which is always such a thrill for me.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A New Home

Matilda has found a new home and will be fiying off to Cairns later in the week! It's wonderful when a new design is well received. You never really know how things are going until you get them out in public and get some reactions. I've had some lovely compliments on Matilda, and now I'm inspired to try some other Australian native animals. So keep your eyes peeled for some new and unusual critters!

Sunday, March 8, 2009


The trouble with Blogging is that it marks the passage of time. I can't believe that over a week has passed since my last entry. I've been busy though, this time with a creature other than a bear. This was my contibution to the TBACA (http://www.teddybearsandcritters.com/) Easter challenge. I decided Australia's answer to the Easter Bunny, the Bilby, was appropriate, as well as being quite a challenge. Matilda is the result, and I'm very pleased with how she turned out. I think I have managed to capture Matilda's "Bilbyness" quite well. She is made in alpaca fur fabric, with stiffened and painted cloth ears (thanks to my sister, Susie McMahon, and her cloth doll expertise for the ears http://www.susiemcmahondolls.blogspot.com/). Matilda's little hands and feet are ultra suede, and her fur has been extensively hand tinted to recreate true Bilby colouring.

Now, it's back to making bears for the Sydney Teddy Bear Fair, in two weeks!(http://www.sydneyteddybearfair.com/)