Sunday, July 24, 2016

TBAI Gallery Piece – WIP: Reservations

I’m back again with more WIP photos of my gallery piece for TBAI. I almost hesitate to share these photos because of the reservations I had at the time. Let me explain.

I had an idea for this piece in my head but only a vague notion of how to go about achieving it. Now whether I was right or wrong, I began to think the way to go about it was using a grapevine wreath. It was easily obtainable, inexpensive and I thought I would be able to manipulate it in a way that would serve my purposes.

I will describe the next step because I failed to photograph it. Sometimes I think so much about the process I forget to take pictures. I needed the vines to be bent to a certain size arch. After much research and thought, I decided that soaking them overnight in the bathtub might be the ticket. So for a day or two, we had the vines from an unwound grapevine wreath submerged in the bathtub. I live such a weird and ‘exciting’ life.

Then after determining the exact size I needed, Jay hurriedly built me a box in which I could dry the vines. And there they sat and dried for a number of days.

I began to attach them to the base one by one using whatever method was appropriate for the size of the vine: glue, screws, wire. It was a crazy-making process.

Not only that, after having invested a lot of time and effort, I thought it looked really, really bad. I mean really. Nothing at all like what I had in mind.  What to do? What to do?

I decided I had to stick with it, hoping that eventually it would morph into something not quite so disappointing. I had hopes that I would be able to turn it into the vision I had to begin with.

I will leave you with one of my favorite photos of Sebastian recently.  He was trying out his new float in the pool near my son’s house in sunny Florida.  His analysis: excellent.



Tuesday, July 19, 2016

TBAI Gallery Piece – Mushrooms WIP

Here are a few more WIP photos for my 2016 TBAI Gallery Piece. The subject: mushrooms. I don’t know where I got this thing I have about mushrooms but I choose not to question it. I just go with the flow. And the mushrooms – well, my collection has – um – mushroomed?

I have a lot on hand – a big jar full of them in all sizes. It’s my ‘go-to’ place for mushrooms.

I decided they would be just the right touch for this project, so I started out by seeing what size or sizes, I would need. Here I have set up the unpainted ‘rocks’ with a large mushroom. And what’s the first thing I noticed? That those spots had to have been painted by someone in a big hurry. That would never do. Out with the sandpaper to sand off the unfortunate spots.

Then it was time to bring out some mushroom colored paint – sort of a creamy, off white, mushroom-y color for the stems and a not-so-shiny-not-so-bright red for the tops. I painted a lot of different sized mushrooms.

After that it was time for some new spots. I procured some new paintbrushes at the Philadelphia show which worked perfectly. If there were a lot of mushrooms, there were even more spots!

Now with the rocks painted and most of the moss added to them, I was able to add the newly painted mushrooms to my scene.

More to come shortly. Thanks for reading!


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Next WIP Photos of TBAI Gallery Piece

This project, like many I embark upon, had times when I was waiting for something to set or dry or cure. And when that is happening, I sometimes find myself at loose ends. “Now what do I do?” I prefer to be making progress so I find another element to work on in the meantime.

That’s when I decided to make these. “What are they?!” you may ask. I did wonder if I had gone a little off the deep end.

Yeah, I know. They look like white blobs. And in a way, they are at this stage. Got any ideas?

How about now? No? They looked like this for about a week or two. They are made from paper clay and the larger ones took forever to cure. So, in a way, I traded waiting in one area for waiting in another.

After they cured, I applied paint to them. I think there were about 4 or 5 different coats to get them looking like I wanted. Here is how they appeared when I was finished painting. Does this help identify these objects in any way?

So you say they look like a bunch of rocks? If you did, you would be right! I spent quite a bit of time making rocks. Who in their right mind does THAT? Where’s the logic? Why not use real rocks? Two reasons. First, I take into consideration the final piece and I did not want it to weigh a ton. Real rocks like I wanted would have added quite a bit of weight. Secondly, there was no guarantee that if I went in search of rocks that I would find the exact sizes I needed. So, I made them. Crazy, huh?

Finally, I added some green bits to simulate moss.

Mossy rocks.

Lots of mossy rocks.

That’s how I have spent part of my summer. I made white paper clay blobs into mossy rocks. Yeah, it doesn’t get any better than this. ;-D


Sunday, July 10, 2016

Since I Was Last Here . . .

It has been a crazy summer so far. I still have photos of Sebastian at Disney World that he has been bugging me to post but that might be put on hold for a bit. The bear has the patience of a saint I have to admit! I told him I wasn’t sure if anyone really wanted to see even more photos of him. He looked at me like I had just said the most ridiculous thing he had ever heard followed by the biggest eye roll in history. He makes his opinions quite obvious. Okay, Sebastian, here are just a couple for now. (He gave me the bear equivalent of two thumbs up.)

We all love Olaf and were especially excited to visit him again in his summer surroundings.  Here I am showing Olaf Sebastian’s pin lanyard with lots of Olaf and Frozen pins.  Sebastian is a huge Olaf fan!

Here’s Sebastian eating up every minute of being with Olaf and posing for a photo!

So, what have else I been up to since I was last here? I have been slowly working on bears for the Teddy Bear Artist Invitational (TBAI) show taking place in August at its new location in Syracuse, NY. I’m excited to be visiting a new place! With that end in mind, I have put a lot of time and thought into my piece for this year’s gallery and did a little dance last week when I was able to call it complete.  The theme this year is “Critters Galore . . . Bears and More!” 

In my customary practice, I took photos of my piece while it was under way. And then, I lost myself in the construction of it in the middle part so there are some gaps but I think you will be able to grasp most of the process from the ones that I did take.

I will be posting those photos over the next few weeks here, on Instagram and on the piece parade Facebook fan page. In fact, when I get buried in work and obligations, I will often post a quick photo of a bear or friend I have under construction at one or both of those places since it is quite easy to do from my phone. I just have to unearth it from beneath the chaos I call my work table. If you want to check either Instagram (pieceparade_g.brame) or Facebook, you might see a few photos that I haven’t posted here.

With that little update out of the way, I am happy to share a few photos of the beginning of the process.

This is how this project began – a sort of vague idea, a sort of vague way of getting there and two pieces of styrofoam.  I quickly determined that I only needed one and it wasn’t either of these.  Go figure.  Anywho, I like to keep the size of my pieces under a certain limit because if I didn’t, it could easily get out of control and who can house a house-sized gallery piece?!

My next step was to draw a sort of free form shape which would be the basis on which I would build the foundation.  I pretty much stuck with this shape although by the time I finished I had gone through at least four incarnations of it in styrofoam.

Then there was this:

It’s a fairly ordinary and recognizable thing, isn’t it?  A grapevine wreath.  Whatever made me think this was a good idea I have no clue.  Had I given it some real thought and turned it over in my mind more the the 50 times I had already done so, I might have gone a different direction.  But then this would be a different piece in the end, so I have to admit, crazy or not, this grapevine wreath was critical.  There’s more to come so stay tuned.

As always, thanks for reading!!!


Thursday, May 26, 2016

Sebastian Visits Tusker House at Animal Kingdom

Hi ho everyone. Sebastian here with my latest adventure at Disney World. As you know, I meet a lot of characters in my travels and many of them are quite memorable. Some I greatly admire for their sense of fun and generosity of spirit.

And you also know that I have met Mickey, Donald and a number of their friends over the course of my lifetime. I now have six years of traveling in my resume. Each time is different and sometimes I have the good fortune to meet them for a meal or special occasion.

This time I was having dinner with my staff at Tusker House at Animal Kingdom. It had been a very soggy day so a lot of the time I was snuggled in a warm and dry cocoon. By dinner time, it had been a long day.

It didn’t take long for Mickey and his friends to brighten my day. First up was Mickey. I think it goes without saying that I love Mickey!

Shortly after spending a few moments with Mickey, Goofy came along.

What a blast we had. He comes by his name honestly as you can see in these photos.

When Goofy moved on to meet his other fans, along came Donald and I was ready for him!

I put on my Donald beak and my Donald sailor hat. I think he was surprised! We all laughed and laughed. He was a good sport! What a great time we had meeting Donald!

We were waiting for Daisy and were very curious what she would think of my Donald outfit. We wondered if she would be able to tell the difference between me and Donald and which one of us she would prefer.

She nearly scarpered off with me if that tells you anything. And I must say it was quite a temptation for me to stick with her. Not only is she adorable but she has a really wonderful sense of humor.

We had a fabulous dinner at Tusker House and an even more fabulous time meeting Mickey, Goofy, Donald and Daisy. It is definitely one of my favorite things from this trip.

I did meet some other friends, but that will have to wait for another day. I think I’m going to go and write a few fan letters!

love & hugs,


Saturday, May 21, 2016

Sebastian at EPCOT

Hi ho everyone!
Sebastian here in EPCOT. I had a fabulous dinner the other night at Tusker House in Animal Kingdom.  I can't wait to share my photos. It might take me a little time so for now I am sharing this photo taken today of me with Joy and Sadness.  So exciting!  More later.
love and hugs,

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Tobee’s Honey – Signature Gallery Piece Photos

Here are the photos of Tobee’s Honey, my signature gallery piece for the Artist Doll and Teddy Bear Show & Sale in Philadelphia, May 1st.

This photo shows the piece with both sets of lights turned on.  They make the honey jars, bottles of honey and the floor glow a warm yellow.


Meet Tobee.  He’s wearing a tiny beehive and carries a tiny bottle of honey.


This is the piece without the lights on.


A view of the middle panel with the sign on top.
Each letter in the sign is a torch fired enamel.


A view of the three sampling tables.
They all have the bee charms dangling from the edges.


Jars and bottles of honey available for purchase from Tobee’s Honey.  A big variety from which to choose.  Remember all those tiny labels.  Here’s a few of them!


The honeycomb shaped shelves with even more honey.


A close-up of the sign.


I had such a great deal of fun creating this piece. I miss working on it already! I guess that means it’s time to start a new one!

Thank you for following along with the photos of the creation of this piece.  I hope you enjoyed it!


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