Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Summer Snapshots

Mr. Flutter-By Bears has been out and about with his rather large and impressive camera recently, (or is it just ridiculously heavy - depending on how you look at it ;0) ? ) so I thought I'd share a few photos of British wildlife going about their summery business.

This little chap (above) is a shy and timid Roe deer , who was probably surprised to see a photographer on Wicken Fen at 4.30am! What a sweet faced little fellow.
The next is a Wren's nest above some guttering round the back of my parents' house - we watched the 3 chicks' busy and attentive little mother while she foraged for insects all around the garden, continually flitting back with her prize. I've been incredibly thrilled to have wrens fledging in my own garden this year ... although they were extremely camera-shy!

This seems to be a very good summer for Dragonflies; we've seen numerous species on our travels. For such fearsome, predatory little beasties in their watery homed larval stages, they are gloriously elegant on the wing. I think these are some form of Hawker dragonfly - seen at the tiny country park not far from where we live.

I'm already looking forward to my summer holiday ; a whole month away yet. I wonder if this idyllic weather will last right up to the time I get to re-visit Lyme Regis? In the meantime I have lots of beary sewing to do , and new projects to think about ......

T.T.F.N  Ruth XX

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Compton Verney

I've been so caught up with cutting out Limited Edition bears, so that they're ready and waiting, I've had to tear myself away in order to post all about Compton Verney in Warwickshire. This was where we visited on the Saturday before the Stratford Teddy Bear Artist Event.
I already knew that this was an imposing stately home , converted to become an art gallery- an intriguing idea which grabbed my attention when I was researching places to explore.It turned out to be a wonderful decision; a beautiful day, spectacular scenery, history and art combined; who could be disappointed?!

This was a grand family home for 500 years, until it fell in to a derelict state in the early 20th century.It's transformation to a gallery with six permanent collections , and numerous temporary exhibitions took 10 long years , and the Grade2 Listed parkland is still being restored to its former glories.Originally there were 120 acres of grounds; much of it designed by "Capability" Brown (it took this visit for me to find out he actually had the improbable first name: Lancelot !!) and you can explore the grounds, with Browns special "view point" paths and walks for just a £1!

(This is an artwork entitled "Untitled Boulder" - a 70 tonne Limestone rock)

(Thomas Adam designed the bridge, with its sphinxes, and the Georgian house exterior)

(A different view of the 300 yr old tree. "Capability" Brown was famed for his use of these Cedars of Lebanon.)

Of course, we couldn't take any photos inside the gallery, but I can tell you that even my 14 year old son was fascinated by the art works, which are well laid out and accompanied by notes everywhere to breathe life in to their essential details.My favourite of the 20 gallery spaces was (no surprise) British Portraits- which had some exquisite portraits of Elizabeth 1st ; one from before her portraiture was bound to include all the symbolic references to her absolute power and wealth, and yet it was exactly the same set of facial features there on the canvas, with her high boned nose ending in a sort of divided "bob", so it must be a faithful rendition of her actual looks! There is also a painting of her father, Henry VII , after Hans Holbein , and a portrait which was interesting to me because it depicted a friend and contemporary of Bess of Hardwick.

I could just witter on; about the British Folk Art section, and the huge Francis Bacon canvases in the temporary galleries , but I'll just sum up by saying it was well worth a visit. From the idyllically tranquil grounds; with its dragonflies, moorhens and herons ( and where some lucky people had hired a huge glass marquee for their wedding celebrations - how romantic!) to the contents of the building itself; all were fascinating. This last photo is my favourite. I really hope to visit again soon.

Ruth XX

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Wonderful Stratford Show 2010

The Teddy Bear Artist Event , in Stratford-upon-Avon, was a fantastic show again this year and I really enjoyed being amongst the pretty stalls ; all imaginatively decorated , meeting lots of visitors and catching up with beary friends. The event has a lovely vibrant atmosphere, and even a little rain outside doesn't chase away the "summery" feeling in the octagonally roofed hall , with it's bobbing bunches of balloons on some of the stands.

I entered the Exhibitor's Challenge; which was themed around childhood this year, with a 2.5" beary little girl and her 2 companions (teeny weeny little duck, and a lilac teddy holding a rattle) in Category 2: "In The Nursery". The visitors to the show view the category entrants up on the stage and vote for their favourites in return for donations to the British Heart Foundation, and announcements are made at the end of the fair.I was so surprised (and not to mention delighted!) to receive not only 3rd place in my category , but also to have the honour of being chosen out of all of the entries for the Organiser's Choice Award!! This is a special award from Samantha Potter, of Mary Myrtle Miniatures fame , who organises the event , and as well as this lovely shield I will have a free table for next year! I actually couldn't believe my ears when I heard my name called out and I feel so thrilled :0)

I decided to ring the changes slightly this year on my stand too , and I had some gorgeous new boxes to play with ... lovely and summery. Here's a pic -

Many thanks to the lovely collectors I spoke to , and to those who adopted creations, and / or voted for me! Also to Samantha and her team of hard working relatives and friends whose efforts make the Artist Event a reality. Cheers! :0)

T.T.F.N  Ruth XX

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

The Show Room is Open !!

Just a quick note to say that the Fantasy Ball show room is now open , over at TBACA. You can follow this link to go over and view all the ACDA competition entrants (and vote for your favourite) and see all the fantasy inspired pieces available for adoption. The doors will close 6th June - contact me any time before that if you're interested in the bears. Here are just a couple of them to entice you over !!

The days are fast dwindling before the Teddy Bear Artist Event in Stratford too! I've been putting a few finishing touches to the bears, and I hope to get a couple of photos taken asap.I'll be leaving my older sons home with my little dogs so that the 3 of us can explore Warwick on the Saturday before hand. Brett is mainly impressed that the hotel has a swimming pool (!) but I'm really looking forward to visiting Compton Verney - which is a stately home turned in to an art gallery .... sounds utterly heavenly!! Of course , I will share our exploration with you all right here soon !!!! :0)

T.T.F.N  Ruth xx