The Christmas and Holiday Season is all about giving and sharing. Kindness. Stories of random acts of kindness and their far-reaching effects are in the news every day this time of year. But they are there the rest of the year, too. We just need to look for them. When one does an act of kindness, passes along a smile, compliment, comforting touch or gesture, there is no telling how far the positive effects may reach. It could change someone’s day. It could change a life. It could change the world. It’s all about– ripples.
So I thought it would be appropriate and fun to share a few treasured gifts received from some very good friends this year- the artist Christine Southworth and her daughter, the writer Sylva Fae. And– ripples.
As modern times and the internet would have it, Christine and Sylva are two wonderful, charming people who I have never had the pleasure to actually meet in person yet, but who have nevertheless inspired and influenced my life over the past year in a very positive way thru their shared artworks and writings. Which makes it all even more incredible. It is a perfect example of creating ripples, and watching a single act multiply and impact others one by one in turn.
Earlier in the year, I wrote a blog post titled “Expand Your Horizons on a Walk Around the Block!” After reading that post, which apparently resonated with her, Christine gifted me back an original drawing, entitled “Milson, the Steampunk Bear.” This drawing has since been the featured image on my blog here, on the right. Needless to say, I was blown away by her talent, kindness and generosity.
A few months later, having fun, Christine’s daughter Sylva surprised me with a poem inspired by the drawing “Milson, the Steampunk Bear.” I would like to share that poem with you here. Again, I was amazed with such a wonderful and creative gift, totally out of the blue. Other bears mentioned in the poem were inspired by earlier creations of mine, available for review in the Gallery, linked above.
“MILSON- THE STEAMPUNK BEAR”
“Hello! I’m Milson the steampunk bear. No other bear can compare.
I’m quirky, fluffy but beware, I have a secret– “Shhh, don’t share!”
When all the grown-ups go to sleep, down the stairs, I do creep.
Through the catflap, quietly sneak, across the step with one big leap.
In sun or rain or snowy weather, I wear my hat with jaunty feather.
Goggles and specs I wear together, with studded boots of shiny leather.
I grab my bike from garden glade, for my nightly escapade.
A steampunk biker renegade, ready for the bear parade.
Meeting at the dead of night, Old Glory bears reunite.
It really is quite a sight, Hats on, pegs up. Hold on tight!
There’s Butterscotch Spike on his brass heart bike.
Horace revs a vintage trike, and Sidecar Elsie’s quite a tyke.
Grumpy Gus on a golden chopper, Old Boone loves his ride in copper.
Gaarrth’s a steamcycle whopper, and Tuffie’s trike is good ‘n’ proper.
All the rest in leather and lace, come and join the bearpunk race.
Engines roar as bears give chase, and Grumpy Gus takes first place.
Taking off at lightning speed, a steampunk cycle is my steed.
I know I can, I will succeed. Head down, ears back, I take the lead.
Engine off, put on the brake. The trophy is mine to take.
We feast on mead and fruity cake, then home before the grown-ups wake.”
—by Sylva Fae
Earlier this week for my birthday, Christine gifted me with another piece of artwork—“Milson the Steampunk Bear Finishes the ‘Go Anywhere, Do Anything’ Chair.” That’s him, the little bear with the wrench in his hand on the bottom right. I was honored to receive such a gift- again. We have had an ongoing discussion thru the week as to whether “housework” might be included in the “Do Anything” operating manual.
Already inspired and moved to action from the original drawing and poem, this latest piece served to reinforce the message. It has been received, loud and clear, and it seemed time for “Milson the Steampunk Bear” to take form.
This little guy is the first of some new Bearpunk patterns and of what will be a whole new line of work and creations, as “Steampunk Bearpunk Bears and Accessories” will make their way into my store after the first of the year. While a departure from the Traditional, Vintage and Country Primitive stylings I have been making, they will be a fun new complement and addition. And if this first fellow- “Milson, the Steampunk Bear” is any indication, it’s going to be a blast working on them!
And it all started from a Blog post, which moved an artist an ocean away to create a drawing, which inspired a daughter to create a poem, which in turn led to the creation of another artwork, which led me out of my own comfort zone and to the creation of new teddy bear designs and store line. Which hopefully leads to more enjoyment and fun for who knows how many more folks in the coming years. A single ripple reaching distant shores and flowing back. And back. And back. If ever undecided about doing an act of kindness for someone—do it. You never know whose world you may be changing.
Here is a link to visit Sylva’s delightful blog → “Sylvanian Ramblings Blog”
Christine is a frequent contributor of original watercolor paintings and other artworks on Sylva’s blog, just look thru earlier posts for beautiful artwork and delightful posts by Sylva there. You can learn more about Christine in a recent Guest Post on Sylva’s blog here → “Christine Southworth Guest Blog Post”
In other news, Red and I are also hard at work finishing his first short story collection for release in the New Year—“The Adventures of Little Red Bear.” Hopefully more ripples. Busy times here. Making waves!
It’s the Holiday Season. Kindness. Sharing. Join in, have fun and go make some ripples of your own! It just takes one act or moment of kindness to get the whole progression started. And sometimes, as in a simple blog post, you don’t really know what ripples you may be setting in motion and what may come back to you in the process.
Thanks as always for reading and following along. Very best wishes from Little Red Bear and I, and the whole gang of critters and story folk here for a very Happy, Healthy and Joyous Holiday Season! — Jim (and Red!)