Monday, September 29, 2008

Designing Your Own World

I have said many times that artists create because they want to enhance the world in some way. But sometimes the well of inspiration runs dry. Other times we just don't know which direction to go in. In the back of our brains live ideas that never quite seem to make it to the forefront. We push them aside in favor of other ideas for various reasons, but they seem to live on...lurking in the murky depths of our minds.

I have had a million ideas lately and can't quite seem to bring a lot of them to fruition. I wasn't sure why until I had one of those wayward moments that brings clarity. Those moments always arrive in the most unexpected ways.

This particular moment arrived because I was watching TV. An ad came on for some show. (Don't ask me what it was, I don't remember.) But the ad wasn't what caught my attention, it was the song playing in the ad. I had to find out what it was so I googled the main phrase and found it. I went to Youtube and watched a live version of it. The song was both intriguing and disturbing with a touch of whimsy. But what really fascinated me were the two lovely young girls who sang it. They had quite a developed sense of style. One was reminiscent of a gypsy/hippy from the
60's and the other was almost flapperish. I sat watching in rapt fascination as they belted out the tune. These girls have fashioned themselves a world they want to live in. They didn't conform to the world around them. In no way were they Britney clones as so many young female singers are these days.

So I started thinking...if I were to fashion my own world, what would it be? I realized that if I can answer that question, I will also be answering the question of which direction I want to take my work in. If you have the luxury of creating your own world, you should be able to include all the things you love in it whether they make sense or not. You just have to have faith that it will all work together, and if there is one thing I am blessed's a lot of faith in my own vision. I think I just needed to define it.

Last night I dozed off mentally building my world. The most important thing about my world is that it would be personal. While technology is a great thing it seems to be making our world rather impersonal. I would rather see people out in public tipping their hats and smiling and looking strangers in the eye rather than hooked into iPods and texting and chatting with someone far away on their cell phones completely oblivious to their surroundings and the people in it.

A personal world would also involve things that are crafted with beauty and function by people who are truly proud of what they create instead of mass produced on an assembly line by people who are just living for the paycheck and waiting for the weekend so they can escape their jobs.

I also like a world where people can express their style without labels or constraints of a modern time period, so the fashions would be a mix of anywhere from Elizabethan to Edwardian to the Roaring 20's to the 40's to ballet tu tu's to wearing beat up cowboy boot with a dainty nigtgown, with a touch of 80's and Venetian Mardi Gras thrown in. People would have grace naturally and apply it their everyday lives, but they wouldn't be perfect. That would be boring. Every once in a while a wild or just slightly wicked streak would take hold and get it's way.

I also like fancy things with flourishes. So everyday objects would be fanciful even in their practicality. Those extra little touches that make things just a bit...more. Just for fun I tossed in tall ships for travel dirigibles as a common mode of transportation because I have always had a secret desire to have one.

There would be gothic architecture, victorian manor's and thatched roof cottages. There would be paned window atriums and stained glass windows. I would have chandeliers in the bathroom, and angel wings attached to the clock face of Big Ben.

My world would be solid and grounded...but with an other worldly feel but never in a serious way. So there you have it! It may not make sense to you, but to me it tells me exactly where I need to go with my work. What would your world be like?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

~*~ Time Flies ~*~

A lot of people have asked me to do banners and graphics for their blogs or websites lately, so I decided to start making some banners for etsy and offering them for 5.00 each in my shop there. I am going to add some Halloween ones next.

You can see it here: Time Flies Banner

Friday, September 26, 2008

Things That Go Wrong

My horoscope for today said I was a little low on energy. Now I don't put much stock in horoscopes, but I must say that is pretty accurate today. If my energy was any lower I would fall off the grid.

I thought I had stomach flu for a couple weeks and as it turns out something has gone wrong internally. It sort of looks like it's my gallbladder. Now I know that's pretty common and not a HUGE thing. But I don't want to have another surgery. I had a bone spur a few years ago that had to be removed, hand surgery and something rather major I don't want to go into.

While I like things that are vintage and worn looking, I don't really want to be one of those things! I have been a little slow getting things done as a result of all this. It's also why I haven't been posting much. Every time I eat I get sick and have to deal with a lot of pain. So I have been trying not eat. Either alternative isn't that great. I really am low on energy.

I had the ultra sound yesterday, so wish me luck guys! Maybe I will find out it's no big thing. *Crosses her fingers* Until then...I am going to try to keep working. Hopefully I will have something to show you before tomorrow night.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Etsy Showcase

My spot in the main showcase on esty just went live for the next 24 hours!

Etsy Main Showcase

Creation And Clean Up

Creation is messy. Any time anyone creates anything, there is always left over mess to be cleaned up. My husband did a major renovation in my bathroom. It looks amazing, but the mess left over is horrifying! I swear the man rolled in grout and then brushed against every surface between there and the garage at least 3 times. So today while he is at work creating a mess for someone else to clean up, I am here cleaning up my bathroom...and landing...and foyer...and stairs...and doors...and the banister...and...*groans*

Once I am done with that, I get to create a new bear to put on etsy. I have a spot in Tuesday's Main Showcase so I want to make sure I have ten items available for that. When I am done I will have to clean up my own mess left over from creation.

I have to wonder...are the stars and planets just left over mess from the creation of the universe? Maybe someone is coming our way with a giant bottle of windex!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Wide Awake Early

So here I sit in a hotel room, wide awake on a Saturday morning. I am only five miles from home and I wish I could go back home. But right this minute I can't. (No I didn't leave R!) He is remodeling my bathroom. It's noisy and raises the dust and mold level and I have asthma. Just one of the many little things I picked up from so many years of making bears.

I don't know why I always wake up at the crack of dawn when I stay in hotel. To be honest with you, I am kind of bored. I don't want to turn on the TV this early because I think someone is in the next room and I don't want to wake them up. I can't go swimming yet because the pool isn't open. I am half tempted to go jog some laps around the building.

Normally when I stay in a hotel it's for a bear show or we are traveling to some lovely destination. But what do you do when you're stuck in a hotel at home? I guess I will go read the book I brought. I would rather be home working on one of the bears I cut our or one of the masks I want to make. Sadly even if I was home I can't get to the bear parts because most of my stuff from the bathroom is in boxes sitting on the studio floor. I had a lot of stuff in there!

I guess I will go read...sigh~

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

~*~ Crowella De Ville ~*~

I just finished this little Halloween bird. She will be on my website in a bit and Etsy tonight as well.

Toys vs. Art

Every so often the question of what we do as teddy bear artists comes into play. It's a debate that has been raging on for the nearly three decades I have been making bears. We are considered artists and we should be. There is a lot that goes into the making of a modern day collectible teddy bear. Aside from pattern design, there can be painting, sculpting, needle felting and a whole variety of other previously accepted forms of art incorporated into our soft sculptures. We also don't make things that are child friendly as a rule. They are intended for adults to collect the same way they would any other type of items to be displayed and enjoyed. We have fought long and hard to be accepted as artists as opposed to crafters or hobbyists.

On the other hand, if it weren't for the fact that teddy bears were initially playthings we wouldn't do what we do. You cannot deny your heritage and claim that the teddy bear is not first and foremost a toy. Those early bears designed for children also wouldn't be considered child safe under current US laws.

I personally make a "vintage reproduction" style of bear. While I am not outright trying to copy any particular thing and always design my own patterns, it's my goal to evoke memories of a childhood past or a childhood wished for. I like the magic of a time forgotten, when things were created by hand with greater care. I would be lying if I said I didn't have romantic notions of being in the same class as Herr Drosselmeyer, Geppetto, or even one of Santa's elves. Bottom line...I like making toys for collectors.

I belong to a team on etsy that is dedicated to artist created bears and other animals. One of the goals is to get a category specific for Artist Bears and we are being urged to do this by not listing our items in the "Toys" category. Instead we are to list them under "Everything Else." As of this morning Etsy has over 100,000 vendors. Only 397 listings were for Artist Bears. I think it's slightly folly at this time to believe that etsy is going to give us our own category based on those figures. In the interim while I am not that thrilled with listing in the toy category aimed at children's items, I am also not comfortable with the idea of listing under the everything else category. Ebay has set a precedent years ago with this category as it being oddball stuff like ghosts in a jar and selling your chest for ad space. That is not the image I want to convey or be part of. While I am sure that's not what's in the etsy category, ebay has had an influence on that type of site and how certain things are perceived. Also when I would just look at etsy I would automatically go to the toy category to search for bears if I went by category at all. It's the logical conclusion based on what they have.

I propose what we should be pressing for is a "Collectibles" category instead. I believe esty would be more ammenable to that idea. That would narrow the range, but yet include a lot of people who are left wondering exactly where to list their items. If you are one of these people, a friendly little letter to etsy suggesting this might further the cause. If you choose to do that, I would like to thank you in advance for you time! I am going to go write my own letter suggesting this very thing right now! Have a lovely day!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Just A Little Slice Out Of Life On A Rainy Night

It's been raining buckets in my little corner of Colorado today. We get that every time there is a hurricane in Texas. I feel bad for the people who get hit with these storms down there. But today I want to tell you about a person here.

Every September we have a big craft show here at Rock Ledge Ranch. I like to go to it, it's usually a nice afternoon out and a way to kind of cap off summer. So last night I wanted to run to the drive through at the bank and get some cash so I could get in. It was raining so hard that I put it off until almost 2 am. When I finally decides to go, I noticed something across the drive from the bank at the bagel place. Under the light I saw a wagon and a pile of torn blue tarp that I could only surmise housed a human being. I couldn't see them though.

I went through the drive through and looked at this huddle for a moment. I can't imagine what it would be like to have to sleep under a tarp on the cold cement on a night like that. So I went to the Conoco and got the biggest cup of hot coffee I could find along with a sandwich, muffin and a banana.

I went back and walked up to them. I know some of you will be thinking right about now that was a foolish and dangerous thing to do. But I figured that people simply up to no good and/or scammers wouldn't be out sleeping in this kind of rain. When he pulled back the tarp he reminded me vaguely of a younger version of Santa Claus.

He might have been 35 or 55, I don't know it was hard to tell. I do know he didn't look like a drug addict or a drunk. He just looked like a very tired man down on his luck. He was really appreciative of the coffee and food and he thanked me.

When I drove home I felt really bad for him. I packed up a quilt, my favorite hoodie because it's big and comfy and thick, a fleece pullover, a couple books and some extra garbage bags to keep his stuff dry. He seemed surprised I came back, and I asked him if there was anyone I could call for him. He said he was traveling to Pueblo. It's only 35 miles away but being all alone, I was afraid to ask him to get into my car, or else I would have given him a ride. Even though I think he was harmless I couldn't be sure.

I have been laying in bed thinking about this man and trying not to cry. I wished I could have really done something to properly help him out. I hope he is alright. I hope he makes it to Pueblo safely. I am not the sort of person who asks for prayers from people online too much even though I believe in God and pray for people myself. But today I am going to ask.

I don't know what brought him to his current circumstances, but I do know that any of us could end up the same way with a simple twist of fate in the wrong direction. So I ask you, pray for this man...pray for everyone in the same circumstances. Maybe include a little prayer for all the people in the path of hurricane Ike. Thank God that you're warm and safe and dry and not sleeping on the pavement in the rain. I just hope he is ok...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Strange Degrees Of Separation

Artists are vain. We don't always mean to be, it's just part of our nature. Even the most humble of artists have a streak of vanity whether they show it or not. By no means is it a bad thing. If we didn't have it, we wouldn't want to leave our mark on the world and we might not create.

Every once in a while I decide to google myself for the heck of it. Oh come on now, you know you've done it too! Being the sort of person who is infinitely curious about pretty much everything, sometimes I like to google people I know too just for the heck of it. I am not checking up on anyone, I am just curious what will pop up.

This morning I decided to google myself and as an afterthought I googled R. Low and behold a site came up on the list that was the exact name of R, so naturally I had to go check it out. It turned out to be a little strange. The guy was from the same city as R's sister, and he was an artist like I am. While they bear no striking resemblance, they did have similarities. Both are tall and slender from what I could gather from the other man's picture. I doubt there is any familial relation, but it was interesting none the less.

When you run across something like that, it strikes you how small the world is and how circular life can be. On some level we are all just a few degrees of separation away from something else that relates to us and yet doesn't.

Some years ago I ran across the same type of thing between myself and Margaret Steiff. We share the same birth date among other little coincidences. I was telling a friend about it right after that, who suggested perhaps I am her reincarnation. I don't really believe in reincarnation, but I do believe that we are all connected, past...present...future...and in other ways we cannot even fathom. I also think that we have an influence on the lives of people we have never met and have no concept of. Perhaps in some way our energies are intertwined and it creates these coincidences. Even if I am wrong, isn't it fascinating when we discover these crossing of paths that never meet!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Etsy Treasury

Lisa at Arca Designs put together an Etsy Treasury and included Ester, one of my bears. There are lots of nice bears in the treasury, so if you would like to visit it please click the link below:


Also don't forget to visit Lisa's fabulous creations by clicking the link at the top of the treasury page!

If you're not familiar with what an Etsy Treasury is, they are an assemblage of items with a common theme put together by one person. It's a really fun aspect of the site, and a nice idea because they aren't for self promotion.

I am going to try to do a Halloween for some of the other bear artists a little later this month.

Friday, September 5, 2008


I have spent a large part of this week re-doing my website. I am really pleased with how it turned out. It reflects my personality to a tee. It's sort of like shabby chic meets steampunk with girly pink mixed in! I hope you enjoy the changes! If you would like to visit the site, just click the link to the right.

Next...Halloween goodies to put on the site! *Grins*

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Above It All 2008

Every year in Colorado Springs we have the Balloon Classic, and I went again this year and took some pics. I wanted to share a few of those, because they are so pretty. This year they didn't have as many shaped balloons, but they did have "Arky" which was new. It was really cute. After they take off, they touch down on Memorial Lake before taking off again. There was practically no wind so the water was very still and the reflection was beautiful. I hope you enjoy the pics!
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Current copyright laws allow for all work to be automatically protected when it is created. All original artwork, photos, text, logo, descriptions, and derivative works from Blondheart are not to be copied, imitated or distributed in any way. All rights reserved solely by the artist, Kelly Dauterman.

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