Glad to be back again, and this time with only our usual break to deal with. We're still as busy as we were last week, but Isobel is about to complete the final order received pre-Christmas (off-line) and then we will be able to keep to our previous regular order schedule.
This week has seen the arrival of another order for a Brown Sister Bear (a picture of her is included at the end of this post)- and as she has not been commented on in a post from us before, Isobel thought it appropriate for us to bring you up to date about what has happened in this sphere of the Coldham Cuddlies World since September last year.
The photograph below shows what the original group looked like (with me supervising "The Bunch") when they were all ready to be presented to the outside world - pre the Artisan Craft Fair in October 2018, which was their official presentation date. They had actually been unofficially introduced to the St. Barnabas Cathedral Parish before the Craft Fair, when Isobel displayed them throughout September between 0900-1200 every Sunday during the weekly Coffee Mornings that follow the two Masses - and they generated a lot of interest, as well as potential orders: some of which did actually follow through!
We'd already received an order for Padre Bear 1 (front right, next to one of the Missionary Bears), who winged his way to Tulsa Okalahoma once this photograph was taken).
His departure was followed quite quickly by an order for a Bishop Bear - which came from a London, UK customer, with suspected links to the Anglican Church, because of the address to which "His Grace" was sent.
|Farewell Photo before Bishop Bear departed to a Westminster, London, UK address|
As I said last week, to date the orders that have been received - and completed - have resulted in £70.00 ($90.25 USD) being paid into the St. Barnabas Cathedral Restoration Fund. We've got £15.00 ($19.34 USD) waiting to be paid over to the Fund, and last evening received another order from MsCW - resident of Lawrence, Kansas, USA - for a "Brown Nun", which joins another similar version of our Sister Bears, which will head off to Tulsa, OK when she is made very shortly. That will result in a cheque for a further £25.00 ($32.24 USD) being handed over to the Cathedral Dean, once these two ladies have been cut out, sewn and completed.
Who, or what, is a Brown Nun, I hear you ask? Well, she was the first Custom Order generated during our pre-Craft Fair displays from a long-term St. Barnabas Cathedral parishoner, who was keen to give this version to her Great Grand Daughter as a Christmas present. (There were at least two further orders for Padre Bears during the pre-Craft Bazaar displays). This began something that is now developing into quite a tradition - of Custom Orders from Buyers, who wish to commemorate their own experiences with the "real thing" - personal encounters either during childhood, or as adults. We've completed two further versions of this particular Sister Bear - who reminded our original customer of Sisters who had served in the Cathedral Parish when she herself first arrived in Nottingham. They are made "in the style" of a Poor Clare Sister. (Isobel uses the same basic pattern for all our Sister Bears, no matter the difference in colour and style of their "looks"!)
(to distinguish her from our original Sister Bear in the Coldham Cuddlies Clerical Bear Collection - who has a Black Veil and Habit.)
As the weeks have passed, Isobel decided that our original Sister Bear (seen in the first photo here) looked a little "bare around the neck, so that when the first orders arrived for an Original Sister Bear (we're not going to call her a "Black Sister" for obvious reasons), all future versions will now look like the second Sister Bear (which headed for the same Tulsa home that Padre Bear went to) a few weeks into the sales season. Isobel also intends to add a collar around our original Sister Bear, but she's been so busy what with one thing and another, that there's been no time to dress her properly!! We're hoping to redress this omission shortly though!
Our Tulsa-based friend, MrSS was our original first enthusiastic customer for the Clerical Bears and stated his intention of buying at least four different members of the Collection, including Padre Bear and the initial Sister Bear (with collar attached!). Now, Isobel knew that MrSS lives in an area of Oklahoma, which is served by an Order of Nuns known as the Order of Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters - who dress themselves in a Pink and White Habit.
MrSS was thus offered a choice a choice when ordering his second Sister Bear (he has a small grand - daughter - who featured in my last week's post by the way) whom he evidently loves to spoil (and we at Coldham Cuddlies benefit as a result!). This Order of Nuns is referred to as "The Pink Nuns" locally, and so too will our "Pink Nuns"!! As we are anxious for the entire Clerical Bear Collection to be as inclusive as possible, Isobel suggested he might like to have this version made in the darker Fleece which had been suggested for one of our original Missionary Bears - shown below:
Presently, we have two different Orders of Sisters serving the Cathedral, one of which is known as The Little Company of Mary. They are based in Hyson Green, a part of the City of Nottingham, where they were originally founded, and the current Leader of the local Community, Sister AMcD has become very friendly with Isobel since she and the Bears made each others' acquaintance last September. Just before Christmas, Sister A asked if Isobel could make a Bear replica displaying their somewhat unique colour veil. It took some doing, but eventually we were able to find some fabric which provided a pretty good match for their head dress. It has recently resulted in the appearance in our Shop of our "Blue Nun"
We have been told that Sister Blue Nun now occupies a prominent position in the Little Company of Mary's Hyson Green Heritage Centre - which Isobel intends to visit to learn more about the Order's work sometime soon (when time allows). On 7th February, a special celebration Mass was held in the presence of Bishop Patrick McKinney, Bishop of Nottingham, to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of the Order's Founder, Venerable Mary Potter being declared Blessed by Pope St.John Paul in 1988. Blessed Mary Potter's remains are actually interred in the Cathedral - and at the service, a special banner (created by Members of the Cathedral Artisan Crafts Group) to commemorate this Anniversary was blessed by the Bishop. (Isobel belongs to this group, and the proceeds of our sales of the Clerical Bears do get included in that Group's overall contributions to the Cathedral Restoration Fund).
Before closing, let me include a picture of the latest two versions of our Brown Nuns:
They were originally intended to respond to an order from another St. Barnabas parishoner, who has bought several Clerical Bears - for herself, and as gifts for her friends - as well as be the final purchase from MrSS. However, while making them, Isobel got a little "wild" with the iron, when pressing the hem of the Sister Bear she was then working on - and although the scorch doesn't show, Isobel knows about it: and that makes it definitely not suitable to offer as a new Clerical Bear in our Shop!! So, this "damaged" Sister Brown Bear is going to join in the Coldham Clerical Bear Collection - so she can be seen (but not too closely!) when they are called upon at future Craft Fairs - or special anniversary events at the Cathedral, which in 2019 celebrates 175 years since it was originally built!! More of that anon, I am sure!!
So, we've brought you up to date with what has happened with the Clerical Bears - and look forward to telling you about other activities in the Shop during the period when our communications has been interrupted. See you next week, hopefully.
Have a good one, Everyone:
Your Friend, Cy Bear.