Monday, May 31, 2010

On Seeing Clearly

My eyes and I get along just fine most of the time. I can proofread all day on the computer, fix dinner, go for a walk, read a story in a magazine, and so on without much trouble. But come time to do something that's truly close up, something I really like to do, like drawing or making teddy bears, and my eyes and I don't get along so well.

I first noticed that I had a big problem in 2001 when I was making Ha Lee (the Christmas panda pictured in the sidebar). My eyes had a lot of trouble staying focused on the close-up work I was doing on her. I had to look up a lot and got quite frustrated because I was working against a deadline for sending a picture of her to Teddy Bear and Friends magazine for their Christmas bears feature. (Happily, I was able to finish Ha Lee, and she was chosen to travel to the TB&F offices for a photo session. That was the first time one of my bears appeared in a full-color teddy bear magazine--what a thrill!)

A few times since then, I have put my bear making on hold because of my eyes and other life events, such as adopting our girls from Ukraine. But a few months ago, I was bitten by the bear bug--hard, suddenly, and out of the blue--and found I had to make my bears again. I missed being creative! I missed all the fur and fluff! I missed the sweet little faces looking up at me! And I missed the friends I had made, both artists and collectors, in real life and on the internet.

Now that I am a few years older, my eye problems haven't disappeared, but a few weeks ago, I got new glasses. (There I am, at left, in my new glasses. Like them? And with me is my little bear friend, the first bear I've completed in nearly four years. I'm out of hibernation now!) To my delight, my new glasses have helped a lot in my close-up work. And another great tool I've discovered is the sun: when I can sit in a sunny window or outside and sew a seam closed or shade a bear's face or perform some other close-up work, I find I can see it ever so much better in the sunlight than under all the indoor light I can shine on the subject.

This weekend, I have been creative, worked on my bears, played in the fur and fluff, enjoyed the little faces looking up at me, and made some new friends. These new friends are teddy bear artists who live right here in Colorado. Thank you to Michelle Lamb of One and Only Bears and Stephanie Sarsfield of Sassy Bears and Fabrics for putting on an event called a BearBee (reminds me of a quilting bee).

It was such a treat to meet teddy bear artists Michelle Lamb, Tami Lahey, Beth HutchisonKelly Dauterman, and Stephanie Sarsfield. (There was another lady there for a short time whose name I didn't catch--shame on me!*) I didn't get a picture until the very end, so not everyone is pictured, but here we are: Beth, Debora, Michelle, Stephanie.

We had a great time talking, eating, shopping, working on our bears, and sharing our creations with each other. Because there are no bear shows in this area, and the last one I exhibited at was in 2002, I haven't seen another artist's work in person in about eight years. I was delighted to hold these special bears, some so tiny, some so large, some very teddy, some very realistic complete with claws, and some award nominees/winners.

Thank you, Stephanie and Michelle, for the BearBee.

Thank you, dear eye doctor, for helping me see more clearly.

And a huge thank you to those who have sacrificed so our country remains free. God bless America this Memorial Day and every day.

*Update: Her name is Kim Klintz! Thank you, Kim, for leaving a comment so I know your name. It was lovely meeting you--I want to see your bears next time!


  1. That is so great you have taken up the bearmaking again Debora. Sounds like you had a great time at the fair. How fun it must have been meeting those sweet ladies.
    Wishing you a wonderful day
    ~ Tina

  2. Your bears are so sweet; I love Ha Lee! Glad your new glasses are a success.

  3. Debora,

    You are a beautiful person, inside and out. We have only known each other a short time but I look forward to a very long, strong friendship. Those glasses are lovely.

    It sounds like you had a very special weekend and to meet other teddy bear artists is quite an honor.

    Blessings, sweet friend, blessings.


  4. Congrats on getting the first bear done after your sabatical, and on seeing clearly again - try daylight lamps indoors, it's as good as sunlight in the dark winter days :o)

  5. Hi Debora:
    My name is Kim Klintz...(There was another lady there for a short time whose name I didn't catch--shame on me!) ..don't feel bad I'm terrible with names too. What a HUGE treat to meet you and all the artist there AND to see your fabulous bears. How do you do it? I only wish I could have stayed longer. What a big weekend it was full of all kinds of stresses and business. Next time I hope to bring my giants (I make large bears compared to you guys)and hopefully we'll all be able to gab for hours and hours.

    Thank you that you came and it was a pleasure and a thrill to meet you.
    Kim Klintz

  6. Congratulations on your new glasses and your new found ability to get "close" to your beautiful bears again! Your glasses look nice too, they suit you! And ... how fun must that Bear Bee have been!!! WOW!

  7. I love your glasses and your new bear is just adorable. I'm so happy you are out of hibernation! I would have really enjoyed talking bear with other artists, lucky lucky!


  8. Love the glasses and the bear Debora! I also have a group of "bear friends" that I get togther with. Not often enough due to our schedules..but there is nothing like sharing your art and your friends! Looking forward to seeing more bears!

  9. The bears are miraculous.
    Nice that again which can originate!
    Lots of love Conni

  10. Oh, ladies, you have all touched my heart with your sweet and generous comments. Thank you so much! I often wish all us online bear lovers lived closer together so there could be more bear bees happening more often!

    Kim, thanks so much for your comment so I know your name. How do I make my bears? How do you make your big guys? I am in awe of those who do larger ones than me because I want to do that someday, too.

    Thank you again for stopping by and for your comments!

  11. What fun that must have been, Debora! I know my eyes are a lot older than yours and I enjoy working in the sun whenever possible. Your glasses look grand and that little bear is tops! Wish I were closer to Colorado!!
    Mini hugs,

  12. Thank you so much, Donna! Can't wait to get a proper picture of the bear...and when's your next trip to Colorado? :-) I know, I would so love to be closer to you and the other lovely bear people I've had the pleasure to meet!


We love getting comments here in the Crew studio. Thank you for taking a peek at New Avenue Crew and leaving us your calling card. Blessings and bear hugs to you!