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Shelli Makes - Teddy bears & other cheerful things by Shelli Quinn
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lulubears Posts: 280

For the first time ever, this year, I decided to enter something into the State Fair competition here in Texas.  I got the rule book, followed the instructions, and when I couldn't figure out which category to put two of my pieces in, I called and asked for help.  The director of the competition specified which category to use, and told me they might change the categories once I went to turn my pieces in if they felt there was a category they were better suited for.

In early August, after driving 4 hours one way to turn them in, there was a hitch.  They accepted one of my bears, but rejected my other two pieces, (a lion and a monkey).  I explained the situation about the categories, and they called someone "higher up" to make a decision.  She said for them to take the pieces and enter them in the category I had been advised to use.  She cautioned that they might be disqualified, because technically, there really wasn't a category for any animals other than dolls and/or bears.  By leaving them, she hoped that the judges would FINALLY see that we are making things other than dolls and bears and a new category was desperately needed. 

Last week, we got the results of the competition.  My bear actually did take third place, but the lion and monkey had been disqualified.  I drove back up yesterday to pick the rejected pieces up, and apparently, my entries had caused quite a stir among all of the judges.  They were "very impressed with my quality of workmanship", but had to disqualify them both because technically they were not dolls and that was the only category they could figure out to place them in.  Disappointing, but not the end of the world.

The good news is - because I left the pieces and gently forced the issue, they have officially decided to open a new category at the State Fair next year for artist made stuffed animals.  (Sounds a bit crafty, but I'm going to send a letter about the wording.)  They had been wanting to add a category for years, but never had received enough pieces with the caliber of work they were looking for to justify it.  so, now, after over 100 years of celebrating the State Fair, we will have a category to showcase our work for hundreds of thousands of people to see. 


rowarrior The Littlest Thistle
Posts: 6,212

Well congrats to you for getting the new category created, and for the 3rd place for your bear  :clap:

Mo Beary Mo Bear Designs
Redcliff, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 1,536

Congrats Luann and well done for getting them to make a new category. :dance:  :dance:  :dance:  :dance:

Our local Fair is the same way.  I wanted to enter a bear a few years ago and the only category that I could see her fitting into was fibre arts!  They said no and I can't remember which category they actually put her in, she won 1st place! 

When I went to see her on display I couldn't find her, I walked around the large hall twice and was getting nervous that someone had stolen her especially because she was already sold.  I finally found her, a white bear against a white background - I was so upset as I felt that if I couldn't find her how were others supposed to see her.   Some of my friends who went to see her couldn't find her as well. 
I haven't entered anything in since!

SueAnn Past Time Bears
Double Oak, Texas
Posts: 20,660

SueAnn Help Advisor, Banner Sponsor

:clap:  :clap:  :clap:  :clap:  :clap:  :clap:  :clap:  Hooray for you, Luann!!  YES, the State Fair has been millenniums behind the times with their arts categories.  I was a working artist at the fair way back in the 70s and 80s when Creative Arts was in the Women's Building, and have attended almost every year since then.  Have been disappointed that the different categories have not kept up with the variety of trends that have been happening for years.  So kudos to you for bringing them into the 21st century!  And big congrats on your win!

EvaJ EJ's Crafts
Fort Mohave, Arizona
Posts: 829

I took a bear, two different styles of dolls and a puppy to our county fair yesterday.  Lucky they have dozen of sub-categories to put my stuff, although I was confused as to which sub-categories they fit in.  The general catagory was Arts and Crafts, Seniors and then all the sub categories.  They are judging on Monday but the fair isn't until next weekend and then we can't pick the things up until the following Tuesday after 4pm.  It is a 100 miles round trip to get there so we will be on the road over the mountains three times in two weeks.

Our state fair isn't until the end of October.  That would be a 5 or 6 hour drive to get there.  Think I will pass on that one.

desertmountainbear desertmountainbear
Bloomsburg, PA
Posts: 5,399

Congratulations on your win!  Pictures of the winning bear please!


AussieFelts AussieFelts
South Australia
Posts: 171

Congratulations on your win!  bear_thumb

I've deliberately and inadvertedly changed a category or two in my state fair in the last two years.  bear_whistle

3 years ago, my state fair had the dry felted and wet felted categories lumped together in one.  They are completely different techniques, so when I went to pick up my pieces i'd entered, I requested they split the categories.  I was asked to email the committee (which I did) and last year, for the first time, there was a dry felted category!

Last year, I entered 3 needle felted bears into the Teddy Bear categories.  I'm pretty sure I set the cat amongst the pigeons when I did that.  There was nothing to say that the bears had to be traditionally made.  I did extremely well with those bears (2 x 1st place and 1 x 2nd place) but due to my entering those categories, this year, they created a specific needle felted teddy bear category.  bear_whistle  LOL!

It was because I wasn't allowed to enter my needle felted bears into the other teddy bear categories that this year, I decided to try hand sewing bears for the very first time.  (Oooh...rebel! haha!) I decided to enter 2 sewn teddy bears.  The two that were entered were literally my 1st and 3rd sewn bears that i'd ever made.  My 1st bear didn't place, but the 3rd bear that i'd made was a little 8cm mini bear that took out "Best bear in show" this year.   bear_shocked  <--- that's my VERY shocked face right there.

ANYWAY...the moral of my long winded post's great when the organisers of state fair competitons are open to changing categories and moving with the times....and we both know it's a little bit of a thrill to know that you were the one that set the wheels in motion.  bear_grin

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