It’s a new world nowadays with emerging technologies abounding. We developed new ways of judging the URSA Award entries by asking our readers, collectors, family and friends to cast their votes for their favorite bear or bud shown in each category. Right from the beginning right to the end, the readers are the ultimate judges.
As with all competitions, the greatest variable is style of the artistry. Everyone has a style preference; what one person finds delightful, another might find appalling.
Reflecting on bear artistry, with so many different techniques, creative ideas, abilities; taste then becomes the individual voter's ‘style preference’ which generally determines a winner in any competition. Every artist has a distinctive, identifiable style and their work is usually easily recognizable. Even extremely well made pieces may not appeal to a collector. Styles such as anime, vintage, needle-felted, crocheted, classic, zany off-the-wall creations, long nosed, short muzzled, sculpted, smiling, not smiling, realistic or comical; they all have a dedicated group of collectors.
Not everyone likes or even appreciates every style and all the hard work that goes into creating them. We cannot even judge the quality of each piece from the online photographs. Some pieces are very well made but may not look good in the photograph while others that look good may not be well made. Often the pose, the lighting and photo composition will influence whether a viewer/voter likes the piece or not.
Keeping an impartial perspective is Bears&Buds passion, and we realize the best judges for the URSA Award Competition are our readers, collectors and artists. This gives the public the opportunity to become involved in the voting process. We do not want to hamper the voting process by having a hand full of jurors, with personal preferences of their own, restricting what the viewer/voters will see in the final round of the competition. We do not want a selection method that prohibits the bulk of the entries from ever being seen.
Bears&Buds wants all contestants to have the same opportunities to compete.
When you enter the URSA Awards Competition, everyone has the same chance of winning. Every bear or bud entered is seen on the competition pages.
With the URSA Awards Competition, all the decisions are made by site visitors. Special, easy-to-use voting software allows for one vote per category, per computer. Votes are audited daily for accuracy and authenticity.
Bears&Buds feels our audience of readers, collectors and members are more than capable of judging and voting their choices. People like having the ability to influence results. We see it all the time with general elections and on TV shows such as American Idol and Dancing with the Stars. The vote-power is with the people who participate. Artists campaign for votes.
Not everyone can be a winner and everyone should realize that even if a contestant did not win, they received an abundant amount of additional exposure based on all the web traffic generated by all the other artists who solicit their customers, friends and family for votes. In essence, YOU are a WINNER with more exposure. It is hard to place a value on product visibility but what it does add up to increased traffic to your web site and a potential increase of future sales. You may not have contacted a single person but your work was seen by thousands of readers and voters!
Keep in mind that it is the avid collectors who keep your teddy bear business alive. They choose their preferences in artwork at a show or from your web sites, as they did in voting for the URSA Awards Competition.
We hope you can see the value and appreciate the tremendous appeal that comes with participating in the URSA Awards Competition.
We are all so lucky to be part of an industry which has so many talented, friendly, unique artists, readers and collectors. I can't think of another hobby which encompasses all of these qualities.
We look forward to you voting in each of the categories. First round voting begins on July 9 through July 29, 2012. When the votes are tallied then the top three winners, in each category, will advance to the second round of voting which will determine the prestigious URSA Major - Best Overall winner.
The URSA Award Competition winners will be announced in October's Bears&Buds Online Teddy Bear Magazine and prizes mailed shortly thereafter.
Good luck to all who enter!
Thank you for voting!