Big Teddy Bear Thanks as Our Second Birthday Approaches.
We want to extend our deep thanks to everyone who has supported the Den these past two years, including guests who visit the museum, shoppers who support the retail store, Steiff Club members who pre-order through us, Steiff collectors who generously loan us their treasures, Route 209 commuters who stop in to explore a new place, local business owners, museum professionals, and the press who provide us with so many tips and encouragement towards our efforts, our neighbors and friends who send out-of-town visitors our way, the Town of Marbletown who approved our permits, and everyone behind-the-scenes who have contributed their talents and creativity to help us turn this vision into a reality.
We are grateful and humbled by people who have imprinted the Den with their spirit as collaborators or visitors, to those who have helped us promote the Den, and to all who have been patient and understanding of us through our shortcomings, lapses, and mistakes during our steep learning curve. Here’s our heartfelt thank you and a big bear hug.
We’d like to acknowledge the folks who have been part of the Second Birthday Celebration Team here below. Please also scroll down this page to see the people who contributed to our previous events, including our Winter Wonderland and our Grand Opening. Thank you all for sharing your creativity, your intelligence, your talents, and your “can-do” spirit for events at the Den. We could not have done it without you all.
Museum and Steiff Gift Shop
• Grace Bress, whose collection of thousands of Steiff animals and accessories provided the foundation of our museum endeavor;
• The Family of the late Mary Couke, who leant the museum our oldest and most valuable piece, the 1904 Rod Bear – the “holy grail” for serious Steiff collectors;
• Sandy Sherman, whose loan from her private collection of vintage Steiff Studio pieces (nearly-life sized!) has made the jaws of many guests drop with amazement and delight;
• Rebekah Kaufman, “Steiffgal,” our favorite Steiff Archivist and Consultant who teaches us about the History of Steiff and introduces us to new friends in the Steiff community;
• Steiff North America Inc, whose staff shows us the ropes of how to run a Steiff Retail Shop;
• The Town of Marbletown, who approved our zoning request to transform some of the former B&B rooms into a goodie shop serving coffee, snacks, drinks, sandwiches, baked goods, and bubble tea … opening this winter!
Fall Exhibition Diorama Artists
• Doreen Johnson, Doreen J Designs, “The Rail Trail Café” - we loved Doreen’s idea to feature this unique Hudson Valley attraction and she recreates the vibrant outdoor experience with her details of food, musical instruments, and a lively community of Steiff critters celebrating together. Doreen’s structure of the cafe almost leaps out of the diorama with the bustling activity. Always love her attention to detail: Doreen even sanded down and repainted the miniature bike in the diorama to fit her color motif.
• Bill and Kelly Merchant, “The D&H Canal Museum“- the amazing and true story of the alligator that landed in the High Falls canal is told with Steiff animals (“Gaty,” our vintage Steiff alligator, is the star of the show). There is also a tiny newspaper, a miniature canal boat being pulled by two Steiff donkeys (historically accurate), and a great photo from the canal museum’s archives. As president of the D&H Canal Museum, Bill is also a local historian and the story of this diorama scene truly comes to life when he tells it. So if you find him at an antiques market in High Falls, do make him tell you the alligator story. Kelly assisted on this diorama, and has made her own in the past. We love when she borrows the Steiff animals from the museum for her photography shoots or for local Hive Collective events.
• Nancy Ostrovsky, “Steiff Circus”- Live-action painter Nancy Ostrovsky brings her flare for the spectacle of performance art to life for our Steiff animals her multi-colored, painted, jewel-encased, kinetic, synesthesia diorama experience of the Steiff circus. Don’t forget to grab your ticket and buy some pop corn from the beautifully-costumed Steiff circus creatures as you sit back and watch the show. We’re currently editing video footage of Nancy at work on one of her dynamic paintings and we look forward to displaying this alongside of her diorama.
• Nancy Parker, “Halloween Birthday Party” – a special addition for our 2nd birthday event is this charming scene created by this local artist and avid Steiff collector (for 60 years!), Nancy Parker. She has kindly shared pieces from her own collection for this display (some pieces were purchased here at the Den). Nancy Parker entered Steiff North America contest to create a scene to commemorate Steiff’s 135th Birthday Party and won first prize! She has adapted her scene to celebrate both the Den’s Second Birthday Party and Halloween. She has hand-crafted the miniature Halloween party hats, the Halloween cards, much of the food, and even the “bobbing for apples” scene. This delightful display will be on view for only a short time, so do come and see it soon.
• Lora Shelley, “The Hudson Valley Artist’s Studio”- Lora Shelley has made miniature paintings of Steiff animals for the diorama, hand-sewn many of the costumes, and created teeny-tiny bristle brushes and pallets for the animal artists to use in their busy atelier. Her careful selection and placement of the vintage Steiff animals in her design is mesmerizing – they interact so convincingly with their art, with each other and with you, the viewer. Perhaps her secret is that she talks to the animals when creating her dioramas.
• The Staff from the Den, “The Mills Mansion“- interior photos of the glorious Mills Mansion (across the river in Staatsburgh) are the backdrop to this diorama and we’ve cast “Pieps” the vintage Steiff mouse (in her original yellow satin dress and pearl necklace –her best “Country Mouse” costume) as Mrs. Mills, walking about her beautiful Red Satin bedroom. Downstairs tea is served on vintage “Petite Princess” doll house furniture by Ideal.
Fall Exhibition Design, Interior, and Content People
• Chloe Annettes, Chloe Art and Design, our website/logo design hero who is so creative and patient with us. She just recently refreshed our memories on how to update our WordPress website after we neglected it for a while. She also makes and sells delicious local maple syrup called Tree Juice – our daughter loves the vanilla bean-infused syrup and just finished a bottle with her pancakes this week.
• Doug Motel, SiteOptimized.com, online consultant who demystified Facebook event marketing in a 30 minute consultation – it was totally worthwhile to get his expert advice. Now we need his diorama skills after having seen his intriguing pointillist art.
• Rosanne Percival, 2D-3D Design, Inc., is both the artist of our new exterior signs (the bear on the side porch and the hand-painted sign outside our front door), and our retail designer for the goodie shop (opening this winter 2017). She designs kitchens, cafés, Whole Foods displays, and personally fabricates many elements within her designs. Anyone who attended the recent RVGA Barn Dance can thank Rosanne for donating her design skills toward the layout of event at Tongore Park.
• RCS Fine Art, creator of our museum didactics and installation consultant. Rebecca curates, designs, and installs museum/gallery shows both in NYC and here in the Hudson Valley. She has such a perfect expertise for the Den and we marvel at her bricollage abilities in which she’s always ready to make a Steiff scene come to life EVEN MORE by Mavericking together some subtle suspension element with sewing needle, fishing line, a random ceiling hook and a few LED lights – all of which seem to be found in a tiny tin tool kit she always carries in her purse.
• Maria Reidelbach, Hoopla.org, graphic designer of our interior signs who did yet another speedy turnaround for us through her beautiful work. Maria’s vivid graphics are all over this region, on business signs, in logos, in pamphlets and programs, including her “Stick to Local Farms” map and cookbook. We love seeing the creative ways she updates her statue of “Gnome Chomsky” (the World’s Third Largest Garden Gnome on Route 209 at Kelder Farm) with accessories like a hula hoop or a Halloween costume.
• Lora Shelley has kindly allowed the Den to continue displaying her paintings and prints throughout the farm house and her art is currently on view on the first floor and second floor hallways near the stairs. Many of her paintings and prints feature vintage Steiff animals from the Den’s own collection. A price list of Lora’s paintings and prints is mounted on the first floor hallway and a second copy is available in the Retail Gift Shop.
• Katherine Smith has helped so much both inside and outside. I thought we’d need four people to move the old fridge to the garage but then I looked and saw Katie was moving it single-handedly! Really. I’m still thinking “no way!” But that’s Katie.
• Crystal Bates and David Girard have also helped both inside and outside of the Den, but especially doing landscaping. You may have seen them with Steve chopping down trees and clearing brush around the pond as you’ve driven by on 209. Love seeing Crystal rocking out to music with her headphones on.
October 16 Event Day
• Julie Harris, Centerline Dressage, we were so touched when Julie offered to bring “Sparkles the Miniature Pony” to the front lawn of the Den event starting around noon. What a great way to appeal to drivers on 209! She is a wonderful riding instructor in Accord.
• Diane Reeder, Kingston Candy Bar, our partner/packager of candy has been providing us with all varieties of gummy bears and goodies since we opened. She generously gave us use of her storefront window in Uptown Kingston to create seasonal Steiff displays for many months, until she needed to reclaim the space for her new donut-making equipment. We miss being in her store but love stopping in for a chocolate ganache donut. We look forward to sharing her candy with the kiddos at our Birthday event, and to selling it in the goodie shop (opening in winter, 2017).
• Carolyn Smith, Steiff USA – we are honored and thrilled that Caroline will drive all the way to the Hudson Valley to host a Steiff Club Event as part of our Birthday Celebration. She’ll bring sample items of Steiff toys in production for all to preview (and pre-order) and she is also bringing Steiff items for a special raffle for Steiff Club members. The Den is offering up several great Steiff raffle items as well for all of our guests to enter.
• Lori Traver, Scone Ridge Baker, is baking the birthday cake for the party and will provide snacks and baked goods for us when the goodie shop opens after the holidays. Let us know your favorite sweet treat and we’ll see if we can include it. We look forward to hosting food-decorating events with her … so start practicing your fondant skills now so you’ll be ready for our own version of “Cake Wars” at the Den this winter.
Thanks again everyone! We hope to see you all on Sunday, October 16 from 11-5pm.