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Past Time Bears - Artist bears designed and handcrafted by Sue Ann Holcomb
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Delartful Bears Delartful Bears
Posts: 3,518

Hi Everyone,

I thought this might be a good topic, something a little different.

I am wondering how inspires you in the bear world?  I know we all get inspiration on the board, looking at eachother's work and discussing bears.

But, what I'm wondering is, who's work do you really speaks to you?  There are so many different styles out there, that while you might like most bears, you probably aren't as crazy about some as you are others.

Plus, when you first started making bears - there had had to have been artists that you really looked up to, and would like to have their style.  We all know, everyone has their own style, but some people's bears look similar to other peoples bears.  For example, I think Shelli's work looks similar to Michele Lamb's, I think Louise's looks similar Laura Lynn's bears - I'm not saying one person is copying another person's style, they just look similar.

So, who really inspires you?  Has it changed over the years?

So spill!

Dilu Posts: 8,574


Great topic. 

I can find something wonderful about each and every person's work, I can feel the finger pricks and the joy and the confusion and the disappointment.  And actually each and every bear/golly maker here can as well.....but when it comes to true inspiration:
The bears a person creates may not be the inspiration for me, but rather it is a deep appreciation for the work and artistic endeavor that I recognize.  There are bears that I wouldn't want to own, but the artist is fabulous, with a personality that doesn't quit and a work ethic that is unsurpassed.

Does this make sense?

My father was an artist.  I did not like every picture he ever created, but I watched him work, all my life, and I saw what he gave to his art.  I listened to his admonitions, " if its worth doing lassie...."  i watched him create unbelievable work that he was dissatisfied with, and listened with astonishment to his critique of himself....he always thought he could do better, while I thought it was wonderful or dreadful (depending on my mood for the day)  ( I truly could be an abnoxious brat at times)

When I was a pianist I learned what he was saying to be true, I was never "perfect" and had to learn to accept imperfection as a part of my daily life....the frustration was enormous because music is not as correctable as a painting-I don't get to go back during a concert and 'do it over' :)

I think what I am trying to say is that the great bearmakers that we see in books, at shows (i have yet to go to one but October is coming) and have met here at this site have a personality trait that is, for me, inspiring.  That is a tenaciousness to learn more, try harder, do it again, ask questions, seek advice, and always try to improve. 

Some of these bear makers are in the 60'sa, some in their 20'sa because age doesn't matter, it is attitude. 

The other thing I notice with the inspiring artists, is that THEY don't think they are "great"  even if all the rest of us do.  They think they are just them, whoever  and whatever that means to them....and they keep on going.

That is what I find inspiring.

Also I believe that the greats are generous and helpful.  They share their "secrets, they have a confidence and generosity in their spirit that allows them to give to others and help others along the road to greatness.  There isn't room for small mindedness in greatness no matter it be art, music, politics, writing, whatever.  Truly great people aren't trying to prove they are great and are only too willing to help others. usual I go on too long....:)


Marie_ Kiprie Bears
Yokohama, Japan
Posts: 2,735

Hi Danni and Dilu!
When I first started, I was inspires by
this Teddy Bear Artist Tammy Hendrics.
She makes lovely puppy too .
My first falling love  bear was her's and named *Stichs*(Sorry no picture on her website now..)

Right now, My taste has not changed
but I have getting more and more favorite Artist and favorite bears now.
I love all bears in *bear for sale* page.

My bear is not  similar to anyone.
It's good but It's sad. I don't think I have my style yet.
My bears are similar to* Normal bears* , I wish I can make an Artist Kind OOAK
type bear.
Please with my luck :D


Black Forest Bears Haus of Bears, Inc.
Posts: 311


I am inspired by Lorraine Chien`s  Bears & Critters.
She always comes up with soo many cute Ideas. I never tried that my Bears look like hers, ( they never would even come close, even if I tried).
And I do admire all Bear Artist who found their "Style", which I did not find yet either.
I just get soo bored doing the same pattern over and over again.


SueAnn Past Time Bears
Double Oak, Texas
Posts: 19,983

SueAnn Help Advisor, Banner Sponsor

Marie, that is SO wonderful!!  I know Tammy pretty well and, in fact, was right across the aisle from her at the Austin show today!!  She is a VERY lovely lady and it's remarkable that she can do most everything that a two-handed person can.  Her dogs are so cute and lifelike . . . great work!!

Marie_ Kiprie Bears
Yokohama, Japan
Posts: 2,735

Hi Sue Ann,
Well come back from the show !
Oh, I am so jealous of you now  bear_sad
I would love to see you and Tammy at same show too...
One day, if I don't give up my dreams. he he

Tammy might don't know about me but I've sent
her e-mail just today and told her that she did inspire me and made me want to be an Artist.

Sue Ann,
I bet so many others are getting inspire of your work !
You do too fabulous work for teddy bear_original

Rita, Oh no no no I see your style ! You make pretty
bear face, toe , and cloth too bear_original You use many color mohair
wich is beautiful and I think they are so lovely.
Me, I don't have style for sure!
Because, I just start design from 1year ago and I am
real slow starter. I think.....
I will just keep working hard(little hard.)

Bear Hugs/Marie

Just Us Bears Just Us Bears
Posts: 940

What a beautiful 'speech' fact you gave me a lump in my throat! Especially the last bit about the 'greats' and we all know who they are on this particular list. I agree wholeheartedly with your comment that there is no place for small mindedness in greatness no matter what it be. The greats and  all their 'apprentices' on this list are so gentle, encouraging and just all around 'great' full stop.You really have a way with words need to apologise for 'going on'.;)

sockerplinga Sundsvall
Posts: 142

Hello all!

Think this is a great topic! :)

When I first started to make my own bears I think I was inpired by Cayas Cubs ( I bought my self one, and she was so tiny and cute! I still think she makes such cute bears! And she is a lovley lady too! :)

There are two other women that I think make wonderful bears! One is Mary Holstad (I just love her dogs!) and Michelle Lamb is the other! I wish I could make bears like hers...

I havent found my style yet, but I hope I will some day.

There are so many bear artists out there that make such wonderful bears, both that I like and dont like. But they are great anyway! And I get inspired by many bears I see out there, even tho I wont want them all.

millie PottersHouse Bears
Posts: 2,173

I kind of stumbled on this teddy bear thing.  I was looking at a book of McCall's patterns and seen the one for the bear.  I began to question whether I could do this so I bought some inexpensive plush and gave it a try.  At the time I did not like that bear.  I have a sweater that was my dad's when he was a baby and it fit the bear.  I put it on and WOW what a difference.  He looks so old.  So I decided to try another.  It was much better and I was hooked.  My inspiration to continue came from friends of mine from church.  They all just carried on about my bears and began to order from me.  I have sold several bears to the same man.  He came to me secretly wanting a kangaroo for his wife last Christmas and a day or so later she came secretly wanting something for him for Christmas.  She wanted a Chewbacca from Star Wars for him.  I made them both and kept the secret.  They were both so surprised on Christmas morning.  That was a lot of fun.

kbonsall Kim-Bee Bears
Posts: 5,645

YOU ALL inspire me!!!! bear_laugh:D

Wisdom Bears Wisdom Bears
Ayrshire, Scotland.
Posts: 951

Well, My inspiration came from my friend Alison Morton of Brodie Bears, I used to do some sewing for her from time to time and she made the most beautiful bears you have ever seen.... The rest was history really,and my bears look nothing like Ali's for some strange reason.. Hugs Rita xxx

Daphne Back Road Bears
Laconia, NH USA
Posts: 6,568

Marie - Tammy was my inspiration a very short time ago when feeling down that my fingers on my right hand hurt so darn much and don't have the strength or mobility they once had. I was fearing I'd have to quit sewing. Then, I happened upon one of her ebay auctions, followed that to her website, shared a couple of wonderful email exchanges with her and felt very inspired once again. She does make beautiful dogs and was also a bit of the inspiration behind the Wheaten Terrier I recently made. (For those who don't know Tammy's story - she was born with only one hand, yet has used her God-given gifts to make beautiful work! I'm sure she won't mind my sharing this with you. She's a remarkable person.)

As far a teddy inspiration - each bear I meet inspires me... some inspire me to work harder to achieve such a wonderful look, other's give me the confidence in my own work. Every artist I "meet" also inspires me - some inspire me to try new techniques, other's challenge me personally to be more confident, or more loving, or more patient , or warm hearted. (Yes, I'll admit it... I can be a down right Cranky Yankee!!!)

YOU have ALL inspired me to continue pursuing my bear artistry! When I need a kick in the pants to get re-focused on creating I come here.... sometimes I wind up in the garden or re-organizing my sewing room when I log off but my mind is back on bear techniques!

Love & Hugs,

SueAnn Past Time Bears
Double Oak, Texas
Posts: 19,983

SueAnn Help Advisor, Banner Sponsor

DillyWonk . . . what a nice tribute to all artists!!  You can be THE MOST inspirational writer!!  And all of you have said some meaningful things.

When I first discovered the teddy magazines, I really drooled over Ted Menten's bears.  They had such very sweet faces, yet there was a hint of mischief there, too.  I took a design workshop from him in 1997, and he had one of his bears there for us to look at, handle, admire, etc..  I had known that he had a reputation for stuffing hard, but this bear was like a ROCK!!  So, my "inspiration" was knocked down a notch or two . . . just couldn't reconcile the sweet, innocent/naughty, childlike look of his bears with the VERY hard body.  But, Ted is still an icon in the bear world and I have bought a couple of bears out of his collection on ebay.  He will forever be one of the "GREATS" of beardom!

Judi Luxembears
Luxemburg, Wisconsin
Posts: 7,379

I too find it hard to pinpoint one single artist who inspires me.  Many do.

Dancing and nature inspire me.  My children and family inspire me and YOU all inspire me with your kindness.  Your hearts and souls shine through your creations.

I heard this recently:

Great minds talk about ideas.
Mediocre minds talk about current events.
Small minds talk about people.

I often find myself not planning a particular bear.  Instead I sit down and let it evolve in my hands...and whatever comes out...comes from within.

Also ridding myself of any ill feelings including anger, hate, self pity,criticism, jealously..etc...does wonders for my soul and sense of well being. (and eating lots of green vegetables!) I truly believe that whatever an artist is feeling on the inside will radiate and show in their work.

Who would want a bear that was full of spite,  ugliness, and anger?  yuckie.

It's kind like, "you are what you eat"....your bears are YOU.  Do your bears radiate love, happiness, joy , and peace?  They will if you are full of these emotions.   The great part of this is that emotions are a choice.

Marie_ Kiprie Bears
Yokohama, Japan
Posts: 2,735

Hello everyone :)

Daphne, I'm sorry to hear that you had pain in your
right hand fingers...I'm glad you are here now and
making beautiful bears.
I myself too , did send a e-maill
to Tammy in about 2years ago. My mom have same illness
with her mom did and I just wanted tell her that
she really encourage me.  She was so busy in between shows but she wrote me back and that
was so wonderful thing for me and She is wonderful person :D

Judi, beautiful word ! as Dilu , you two wrote
superb speechs.   I must make a copy and file in
my teddy bear secret book . he he

Millie ! thank you for sharing sweet story. I wish I can
be the sweet couple as they are :D

Bear Hugs/Marie

Delartful Bears Delartful Bears
Posts: 3,518

Ooh what lovely replies everyone!!  I agree with you Dilu!!  I think what you said was lovely... I was asking more as a means to find out if the bears that truley "speak" to you are the type of bears that you personally make.

I appreciate everyone's answers.  Marie, I have no doubt taht you are already making artist bears.  The bear in your avatar is an artist quality bear, so you really need to be proud of your art work!! 

Thanks ladies for fantastic replies.   Personally, I find myself more drawn to the character bears than to the ones with sweet soft faces.  When I started making bears, I really had no idea what my style was going to be.  However,  I tried a charactery looking bear with the pinched in face, and that was it.  My fate was sealed.  I still thought I would be making large bears, until I tried a smaller bear.  And again, my heart just fell inlove with the smaller bears.

One of my favourite artist is Ilze Linssen. Funnily enough, she actually lives in the same state as me - not far away.  I have talked to her on the phone  a couple of times, but I haven't met her, or seen her work in the flesh.  If you would like to check her out, here's her web address:

I just wanted to thank everyone who responded.  You are all very sweet!!


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