Welcome to Part 2 of my interview with Karen. Last Wednesday we chatted about how she became a bear collector and began attending teddy bear shows. If you missed that post you can find it here.
Rosie by Johni Jacobsen – Karen’s one spectacular piece discovered
the first time she attended TBAI
Of course when you attend a teddy bear show, you get to see and feel and touch the teddy bears so I asked Karen what makes going to show different from buying in a store.
“Definitely the interaction with the artists, hearing firsthand why she/he made the bear like she/he did, why the costume, the unique stories behind the name. Most stores don’t have that much knowledge about the artists or the bears themselves. You just can’t get that kind of experience anywhere but a bear show. And, again, I go back to feeling deep friendships with the artists.”
Amelia by Jacquie Pollitt – another bear in Karen’s collection
The personal connection offers bear artists the same experience. We enjoy talking with the collectors, getting to know them and their bears, and making friends. I asked Karen how shows were different from buying directly from the artist online.
One of Karen’s Sherry Shepardson bears
“Actually holding the critter in your hand and seeing its magnificence firsthand. And, again, talking to the artist. Although I have to say that there is one artist—Sherry Shepardson—who only sells online and I have bought a number of bears. I know their quality. I feel like I know her and I’ve never been disappointed. So, I think you can buy bears from an artist online if you get to know the person and their work.”
Another Sherry Shepardson bear
Since no one venue offers everything, I knew there had to be a thing or two about shows that might be discouraging. I was thinking perhaps the travel or the expense. Karen said, “For me personally, it’s the number of bears I like and the amount of money I feel comfortable spending. I’ve found that I have to parcel out my spending. From this show, I’ll buy from a certain artist, and at another show, I’ll buy from another artist. I think the artists understand and it works out well.”
A wee little mousie made by Cathy Knapp
Since the artists are a key factor at shows, I asked if she had any suggestions for us that would help improve her show experience. It was nice to hear her say “I think artists already do everything they can for their collectors. They are outstanding. They are always willing to hold something until you make your way around. They certainly don’t have to do that. They are flexible on payments, which mean you can buy more. I believe our artists already do an outstanding job at making a collector’s experience a wonderful one.”
I hope that’s true! Gee – look at the time! I believe that I am going to have to finish out this interview next week. I hope you will return then for Karen’s last few brief answers to my questions.
Thanks so much for stopping by!
Karen added this small bear by Donna Griffin to her collection