Thursday, 23 September 2010

BBAA Nominations!!

I got the exciting news at the weekend that both my entries for this year's British Bear Artist Awards have been nominated to go through to final judging, at the British Bear Fair, December 12th in Brighton.
Here are my pieces:-

"Georgiana"; a seated 3" bear - Cat 1, Single Miniature Bear

"Tea is for Teddies"- Cat 10, Group of Miniature Bears (plus a dog!)

The competition will be fierce! It was only a few months ago, at the TBAE, Stratford, that I wondered aloud to Dawn (TBT editor) whether there would be any expansion of the miniaturist category to Dressed and Undressed; she felt it was unlikely as the number of entrants overall wouldn't necessarily make it viable, but this year sees double the number of nominees in category 1 (Single Miniature Bear) and two first prizes , two second and two third will be awarded. Next year the categories will be split. I think this is a terrifically healthy sign! It's great that more miniaturists are entering (probably there are loads of us lurking about!) and it will be a very good thing for more collectors to "get in to" miniature bears!

Congratulations to all the nominees; in all categories. I'm really looking forward to meeting up with lots of you on the day :0)

T.T.F.N  Ruth xx

Friday, 17 September 2010

.... and Some More!

The English Rooms at the V&A are a great place to visit if you're interested in English period furniture- they have whole room reconstructions, with huge canopied beds- or if you're a textile obsessive like me.There are quite a few items of clothing, with shoes and gloves too; just so much you want a photographic record of really!
Anyway, we spotted this beautiful and fragile fan.... I have a thing about fans......

Oh, and whole cases of drawers of lace!! Most are so ridiculously beautiful it's like a sort of appreciation overload!! This one is in a 17th century style which has the name "stitches in the air" when translated from Italian:-

And how about this one- apologies for the difficulty in photographing such a tiny, delicate fragment. This one is very different! Guess what it's made of... and I'll tell you at the bottom of the page :0)

Following our noses round the museum we came to a section on mosaics, and in particular a fabulous (in the original sense of the word) collection of two people whose names I'm sorry to say I've forgotten. Drawer upon drawer of priceless treasures; silver and gold and jewel encrusted snuff boxes. Here are just a few of the most astonishing works of art in "micro-mosaic" - these boxes are all no bigger than 3" across.

                                           (Enamelled, with pearls)

Which one would you treasure given the choice? I'd pick that gorgeous spaniel without hesitation - I wonder if it's the faithful rendition of a once beloved companion? I would like to think so.

And the lace from 16 Something?? Give yourself a million Clever Clogs points if you guessed it was made from human hair (with outline detailing probably horse hair) Yes, really!!!!!

Hope you've enjoyed a quick trip round the museum with me. TaTa For Now,

Ruth xx

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Kensington Treasures

I had such a lovely day on Sunday at Teddies 2010! I met lots of collectors I recognised and I was amazed to find I can still remember which bears they already have. Thank you to everybody who adopted a new little friend, and came to visit the stand; I really appreciate it :0)
For this fair I swapped my display components about a bit and added a few new ones; I just can't resist! I have to say I was extremely pleased with the final "look", and I was absolutely delighted when several kind people said it looked beautiful!

Will I ever stop adding to my collection of display items? Errrr - probably not.In fact, definitely not; I've already got some different pieces in mind for the November show in Sheffield.....

And so to "what we did on the Saturday." First of all we had a brisk stroll down Kensington High Street and Kensington Gore, pausing as usual to photograph the Albert Memorial and the Albert Hall.My 14 year old surprised us both by saying he wished we had tickets that night for the Last Night of the Proms! We were offered tickets from the inevitable touts; although they were for the outside party in the park.
After a quick visit to the Natural History Museum, where, as I suffer from a fear of heights, I had to go on the escalator from hell (again!) then it was on to The Victoria & Albert Museum.

(There's a lot more escalator after reaching the planet. Brrrrrrrrr)

Sadly I couldn't go in the exhibition of Grace Kelly's dresses because it was on timed tickets; and they had sold out for the day- did I hear husband and son breathe a huge sigh of relief? No... must've been someone else.... Happily I was able to locate the Beatrix Potter rooms;where the walls are ranged with all the original book-plate sized artwork for "Peter Rabbit", plus others from Beatrix' youth, and personal letters to and from Frederick Warne her publisher.It is very difficult to get your head around seeing the actual originals when you are so familiar with the printed versions. Each is in perfect condition; suprisingly vibrant and captivatingly miniature.Her earliest drawings would be considered prodigiously talented by today's standards; if it's possible I admire her even more than I did before! Take a look at a detail from a pencil drawing, based on the garden shed outside her home, of rabbits potting Geraniums, and also the adorable watercolour of "Bill" the unfortunate little lizard who is given a fright by Alice in Wonderland, at the top of this post.

From these rooms we moved on to the Portrait Miniatures. I could spend all day gazing in to the cases with the helpfully provided magnifying glasses.Rather than try and fill up the whole camera(!) I had Ashley take a pic of one of my absolute favourites; a breathtakingly beautiful 3" wide portrait from the 17th century which combines finesse and realism.To say it is highly skilled is an utter understatement!Who was he, and why don't men wear collars and sashes like that anymore?....

Incidentally, I was fascinated by a displayed "Buff Coat" from this period, in the English Rooms. You've probably seen them in paintings without realising what they are. The mannequin was wearing a very thick suede skirted jacket - although it is cow leather it has the look of pale sheepskin. Originally they were a lowly, practical item of clothing for soldiers; giving them some protection from weaponry, but eventually they became fashionable, and were often part of the costume chosen for important portraits; in particular those "cavalier" paintings where the Buff Coat was augmented with breastplates, sashes, expensive lace and military regalia.The one on display must have been kept for this purpose as it looks practically new. Amazing.

I'll add some more photos later...

TaTa For Now, Ruth x