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I Love Teddies South Florida
Posts: 1,684

Hi everyone,

I'm new; I put a message introducing myself on the New Member section.  I'm a collector.  I'm curious and had some questions for all the artists here.  I'm sorry if someone has already asked these.

1.  How did you get started?  Were you already good at sewing or other crafty things?  (I can't sew and I'm not crafty so just wondering)
2. How long did it take you to make your first bear?
3. How do you get your ideas?  As you go along, is it harder to think of ideas?
4. Do you collect bears besides the ones you make? 
5. Something I'm forgetting to ask?

I have no interest or plans to be an artist - I prefer just being a collector; I was just curious to hear how artists think.  :)


psichick78 Flying Fur Studios
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 3,073

Welcome to the board!! I'm assuming here that you collect, but don't make bears yet. Am I right??
As for your questions.....
1. I got started by seeing bears on ebay. I couldn't afford to buy a bear myself, so I bought a kit. I was already sell polymer clay sculptures and felted bears on ebay. Always dabbled in art of some sort. long did it take me? Not too sure what you mean, but my 1st teddy took me almost a month to make. I was hard to get the courage to trim the fur etc.

3. I get my idea's from everything around me. But mostly my pets, who have the cutest faces. I also get inspiration from other bear artists. It does NOT get harder to think of ideas. Just the opposite. The more bears I make, the more ideas I get.

4. I dont collect bears.........yet. But being on this board, there are several artists who I would die to have one of their bears.


Terrie Terries Bears
Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada
Posts: 3,614

Welcome Chrissie, I am sure that you will like this group, there is always lots going on.

My, my, my but you have lots of good questions,:) they really made me stop and think!

I have sewn and done crafty things for as long as I can remember. I made my first teddy bears (and dolls) for my children when they were small. After they out grew toys, I didn't have to make bears childsafe any more and that is when I started to create my own.

Iam not sure how long it took me to make my first bear but I am sure that I spend a lot more time making one now. After I make a bear, I put him on a shelf that I walk past often and leave him there for several days. When you put him aside for awhile you really notice anything that may be wrong with him. When I am happy with the way he looks, I consider him to be finished.

Ideas just seem to appear! I find inspiration in people and animals for facial expression and posture, and inspiration in the fabric itself for what kind of a bear it should be. It doesn't get harder at all, in fact it gets harder to find the time to make all of the ideas that are running through my head.

I don't actually collect bears but I do have a couple from other artists that I admire. Mind you, I am a real sucker for the tiny polymer fairies!!:)

I am sure that everyone will have different answers to your questions and that they will all be interesting to read.

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

Hi Chrissie!

1. My hubby and I went to a teddy bear show as I was/am a collector. He told me he thought I could make bears like the ones we saw. Well, that was all it took. I'd never sewn but am very crafty.

2. It took a month of Saturdays and the help of an artist who's been doing it for 20 years.

3. Ideas come from my dog, interestes I have in food (that's where names come from like Caramel Cream, Apple Crisp, Chocolate Moose, etc.) and just poking around in my stash of mohair til something hits. There is never enough time to tackle all the ideas I have 5 years later!

4. I collected Boyds bears mostly, before becoming an artist. Now I have a small collection of artist bears. And a long list of artists who's bears I'd love to own one day! Bear making for the majority of us is NOT a high profit venture! Most of my profit goes right back into my supplies so not much left over and splurging on an artist bear. Some of us have swapped bears. That's fun!

You'll learn a lot more about the artists and the questions you've asked by doing a search... just put in some key words or read topic titles.

Welcome to Teddy Talk! It's so great to have a collector in our midst!! We'll be asking you a lot of questions too! My list is already brewing!


kbonsall Kim-Bee Bears
Posts: 5,645

I have been in art classes all my life, the one subject I didnt have to study for to get straight A's.  It took me about a week and a half to complete my first bear. I decided to create my own bears when one day on ebay i ventured in to try to find some boyds bears and stumbled across "artist bears" I loved the bears I saw but couldnt afford the $200-$1,200 bears that I saw so I decided to create my own.  I got into bear making because I needed a stress reliever (I work at a law firm).

Jellybelly Bears Jellybelly Bears
Posts: 4,066

Hi Chrissie
Great questions and fun to think on too :)

I come from a crafty family...well my mum and sisters anyway.  We've all got the crafty, creative touch and just looove to use our hands.  I wasn't a sewer before...actually didn't like sewing clothes.

My first bear didn't take me long to finish, I loved it straight off.

I think the longer I'm an artist for the more the ideas flow...I get inspiration from other artists, animals, nature, kids...and just dreaming and thinking..I have a great imagination.

I haven't started collecting other bears yet.  Cherished teddies but thats it.  I love bears for the craft, and letting my creativity flow more than to collect..I do keep lots of my own bears tho:rolleyes:

For me it's like a happy obsession...I love it and can think about it all the time, wish I was making bears all the time...may sound a bit nutso but it really fills me with happiness.

Glad you have joined its great to meet a collector.;)
Happy collecting :D

Hugs Sarah

matilda Matilda Huggington-beare
Posts: 5,551

Chrissie, When designing and making my bears, I am full of energy, joy, fun and happiness. I find myself being very kind to those around me. I also laugh alot. Finding bears has been the best thing to ever to happen to me.
I find it emotionally saticfying.
The more bears I make the more ideas I get. I have to write them down so I wont forget. I have to try hard not to rush the bear I'm working on, just because I have another bear in mind.
The longer and more skill I gather, the more' detail 'goes into each bear.
I have an insatiable appetite to know everything . So I will be a bearcreator for a very long time.:lol::D:lol:                    Play nicely     matilda

jenny Three O'clock Bears
warwickshire uk
Posts: 4,413

Hi Chrissie....

1 I decided to make one for my niece who had started a I bought a kit...and didn't read the instructions..and almost didn't have enough fabric because I placed the pattern pieces wrongly...but after that I was on the hamster wheel!!!

2 I sat up all night making the pretty much all day, all night and most of the next day. I don't measure how long they take these days...they're done when they're done.

3 My inspiration evolves on a bear to bear basis...I'll change this, add that...but often it might be and accessory..or a picture...and lately...since we got or new little kitten...I have been insetting pieces into the face to create a similar shaped face to hers....then something else will pop into my head...sometimes it works...sometimes it's a waste of time.

4 I do buy bears...mainly Steiffs....I have one or two artist bears..and sometimes ...if I'm at a fair and something grabs me, I buy then...but I don't buy too many these days...only the Steiffs


Delartful Bears Delartful Bears
Posts: 3,518

Hi Chrissie,

Good questions!

My first bear took me a month to complete!!! That was for a 15" bear, and working every day for about 3-4 hours!   I was very slow to hand stitch him because I had never hand sewed before, and I wanted everything to be perfect.  LOL  I have to say though, the time was well spent, because if I dare say so myself, he is a lovely bear!

I had been crafty for a while, but always wanted to try to make a bear - for many years!  THat was until my family finally wore me down, and I purchased a kit to "get it out of my system" and the rest is history!

Well for me, as I get more experience, it's easier to think of ideas!

I have a couple of artists bears, but I am planning on collecting more!

Bumpkin Bears Bumpkin Bears
Antwerp, Belgium
Posts: 2,190

Hi Chrissie, lovely to have you join us here.  It's fun to look back on how we started.

1. I went to a bear fair at Christmas here in Belgium a few years ago (I am English and this was my first Christmas in Belgium) and got given a bear making kit as a present. Once I started I couldn't put him down until I was finished and just loved the feeling of creating this little character.  I started to look around the internet and found out about Bear Artists and being creative myself I loved the idea of creating my very own bears.  I also found out that there was a bear supplies place very close to where my family live in the UK so was able to go there and get a few things to start.   With bears all lined up along the shelves and rolls of lovely soft mohair to choose from I felt like I was in Bear Heaven ;)

2. My first bear from my own pattern took about a month and I gave him to a very special friend as a present.  I have always been into crafts, silk painting, rubber stamping, felt making... you name it I like to try it :)

3. I get inspiration from all sorts of things, I love the outdoors so often get inspiration in my garden or on walks in the countryside.  I look at all the colours of nature and remember childhood memories of being out of doors and all sorts of beary characters come to mind.  I'm really a Country Bumpkin (hence the name of my bears - Bumpkin Bears).

4.  I have always loved teddy bears, so I would not say I am a collector but I certainly have a lot of special teddy friends in my craft room.  There is just something very special about teddies, the comfort they can bring is great - I know others here understand what I mean (my fiancee thinks I'm mad probably!!).

I have rambled on quite enough now ;)
Look forward to chatting with you here again,
Bear Hugs,

millie PottersHouse Bears
Posts: 2,173

Well, here goes.  I have always been involved in some form of art (sewing, drawing, painting etc.) and I have always loved animals.  Those two parts of me came together to create my first bear.  I probably finished my first bear in a couple of days because I am not a patient person.  When I start something I can't wait to get it finished.  My inspiration comes from everything around me but my biggest inspiration is my dad's old Petz bear which I now own.  I love the antique look.  I really am not a teddy bear collector, but all my life I have had a collection of stuffed animals of some kind.  Actually I am surrounded by both stuffed animals and live animals.  I love my "zoo".

All Bear All Bear by Paula
Posts: 5,162

Hi Chrissie,

I've been designing for so long now I can't remember how long it took me to make my first bear!  My memory won't stretch that far.  I think it probably took quite a while though!  I know I had a LOT to learn! :P

I 'fell' into bear-making by accident.  I had a beautiful (still have in fact!) 22" Chiltern teddy bear.  He was my first birthday present from my parents.  One day I was in  a book shop browsing at lunchtime.  Purely by chance, I picked up Pauline Cockrill's 'The Ultimate Teddy Bear Book' and quickly became absorbed in it.  I turned a page to read on and hey presto!  There was a photo of MY BEAR!  Well, not quite mine, but one very similar.  I couldn't believe it!  I bought the book, took it home and devoured it from cover to cover.  In the back were some addresses of museums etc that displayed bears and so I started to make visits and buy old bears to keep my bear company.  Somehow, that led to me finding a copy of 'The Teddy Bear Times' magazine and learning all about artist bears too - I was delighted to find out about 'Hugglet's teddy bear shows' and made a visit to one that summer.  I couldn't believe my eyes!  So many amazing teddy bears!  I started to become a collector and then one day, quite some time later, my husband bought me a bear-making kit ...

The rest, as they say, is history!

Many years later, I find I do sometimes slip into a 'dip' and wonder what on earth I'm going to do next to keep things fresh and interesting.  Then, out of the blue, something will trigger a new idea, (in fact, this forum is great for helping to keep designers inspired!) and I'll be keen to get started again and try something new out. bear_laugh

plushkinbear BEAR ME SHOOTKA
Vladivostok, RUSSIA
Posts: 2,139

Hi, Chrissie

1.  I've got my first artist bear in 2000. It's a great white bear by Linda Spigel. Then my Japanese griend sew a couple Japanese style bear in kimono on my wedding. I always liked to do things by hands: beading, crocheting, cross-stiching, etc. So those my bears inspired me to make one. My first soft I made when I was 10 years old. A little puppy. But really fell in love with bears and enjoying "giving birth" a bears of mine.
2. It took me not very long. I never read instractions to anuthing just take a look at. ...The bear was ready in three days. I sew at night cause right now my little daughter takes all my time.
3. I don't pic up ideas the're just like bees in my head. When I sew bear his personality pops out so I just have to "put the right thing" to highlight it. my inspiration is my own desire to make MORE character bears cause I like them mostly.
4. As I metioned above, I have several artist bears. Would LOVE to have one of artist's bears here but for now just enjoying the pict
I/m very lonely artist in my city, and don't see too much interest in artist bears since you can go to the store and buy cheap chinese (nothing offendeble;) bears for 10$, 15 inch high. People do not understand my obsession...c040.gif


P.S. Thanks for such an interesting disscusion, girls.a040.gif

Tammy Beckoning Bears
Nova Scotia
Posts: 3,739

Hi Chrissie,
These are tough questions, but here goes :

1) I have always been into crafts , I'll try anything.  Sewing seems to have stuck with me the longest.  I got into bears by accident also.  In Jan. 2003 a friend showed me a fur bear that she made, and I instantly new that I had to try making a bear.    Within days I was at her house and we made a faux fur bear.  Well, I was hooked and we started making memory bears from fur coats.  But, I new I wanted to make artist bears on my own so here I am creating my own designs.

2)  That first bear took about a day to make, but it is a sad looking creature :P

3) I get my inspiration mainly from fur that I find, bear magazine, and looking at other artists bears.  I always want to try out the techniques that I learn to improve my bears.  Sometimes, I get in a slump but like someone else said, cleaning out my sewing room gets me inspired ;)

4) I currently don't collect bears, just make them. But, since I joined this board I see many artist whose bears I would love to have when I get more money.  There are truly talented artists here !!!  I think I like their bears , because I am getting to know the artist behind the bears and the time and love they spend on their art.  Makes them much more personal.

MerBear MerBear Originals
Brockville, Ontario
Posts: 1,540

I started making bears 6 years ago to keep my hands busy while trying to lose weight. I fell in love with it immediately because I also found it relieved stress (I also work in a law firm).

I guess I'm mainly inspired by other artists and try for a funky look. I have bought several artist bears and they're all odd in one way or another.


rufnut Rufnut Teddy's
Victoria Australia
Posts: 2,725

Welcome Chrissie,

I started off reading the bear mags, I had always been interested in crafts from a young age, eg knitting, sewing, cross stitch, drawing, and nearly anything.   Tried a bear kit first, joined some bear classes and then started designing my own pieces.

It took me probably 2 weeks to finish my very first mohair bear, as I work full time.

Ideas generally come from something seen on TV, read in a book, or discussed in a group at work.
Yes it does become harder when you have seen another artist has made something that you have been sort of thinking about.

Yes I do collect and would like to do more of it.
5. Something I'm forgetting to ask?
- As a collector Chrissie, what do you like?  Why do you collect and what style  do you find interests you.    I am curious, would love to hear which bears you collect?

This board has some wonderful artists in it which helps motivate me to keep trying different things.

I Love Teddies South Florida
Posts: 1,684

Thanks for all your responses!  It was interesting reading them. 

You asked about what I like.  I wrote an answer in the post called "What do collectors look for?"  Let me know if it doesn't answer your questions. 


Carolyn Green Draffin Bears
Auckland New Zealand
Posts: 5,354

Hi Chrissie,

I started making Bears when our daughter was born in 1989.I wanted to give our baby a special Bear
but felt that the mass produced Teddy Bears available on the market lacked  the life and personality
of a hand made one. the obvious answer was to make one and she still has it today a Bear dressed in
an old fashioned cream silk dress with a big cream bow in her hair. took me ages to make!
When our son was born in 1991 I made him a Bear in a navy blue and white sailor suit and  they both
love them and they will be heirloom bears and they can treasure them.

I have also have a love for sewing and used to make most of my clothes, did embroidery, cross stitch
knitting, hardanger millinery and I made porcelain dolls. I have a cabinet fulled with the dolls I have made.
I have a collection of Bears , the first was a Christmas present from my husband a Polish Bear made from
hessian and I have a steiff and a few others which I love.

Happy Collecting and we look forward to talking to you some more.



Koala Adorable Bears
Posts: 149

Hi Chrissie,
I am new to the list but not to creating bears so will try to answer some of your questions.
I have been designing and making my bears for about 12 years now. I had never seen an Artist bear before that time.  I have sewn all my life and taught Art and sewing for many years. Like many people when I first saw the price of Artist bears I couldn't understand how Artists could charge so much for a bear....i now know that the cost ,plus time ,is never returned when you sell a bear !!. I just had to have one of these "special' bears so first sent for a kit and made my first bear in two days. I immediately started my own designs.I then discovered all the wonderful mohair and still can't stop buying.
As for ideas...there is never enough time to try all the designs that I would like to create. Then there are ideas that are given to you. Currently i am working on a bear which is very new to me in style. A  friend asked my to make him a "gym Instructor" bear. It has to be a girl, with a pony tail that will sit on a stand while he instructs R.P.M classes at the Gym.  So ideas are everywhere.
Hope this is not too long an answer.
Now I must get back to that bear.

Chico, California
Posts: 9,939

Shelli Retired Help Advisor, Banner Sponsor

1.  How did you get started? 

I just felt like making a bear one day in fall 2003.  I bought a commercial pattern for an enormous (three foot) unjointed bear at JoAnne Fabrics.

Were you already good at sewing or other crafty things?

I've always been creative and have dabbled in pencil sketches, interior decorating, jewelry making (beading, not casting), dollmaking (the sculpting part, mostly,) and scrapbooking, but I'm not now, nor have I ever been, a seamstress or needlecrafter, so all the sewing stuff was entirely new to me.

2. How long did it take you to make your first bear?

One very, very, very long day.

3. How do you get your ideas? 

Sometimes they just come to me, browsing a shop window, or looking at color combinations in a catalog or magazine.  I rarely get inspired by other bears or bear artists per se, in terms of, "Wow, now I have a vision."  The inspiration I get from other bears and artists is more of a, "I hope I can grow my skills in that direction" or, "Wonder how they got that soft smudgy effect with their shading?" kind of thing.

As you go along, is it harder to think of ideas?

No, it's easier to find them.  But they are harder to achieve, because they are more complicated now, and take stuff I've already been doing that one step further... rather than replacing old concepts with simpler, easier, quicker ones.

4. Do you collect bears besides the ones you make?

Yes I do, but money is a factor; those artist bears are pricey! bear_happy  I don't really collect my own (although I admit I would sometimes like to when one tugs at the heart) because I need to sell them.  This is my job.

Thanks for asking!

Koala Adorable Bears
Posts: 149

I forgot to say that I had no intention of becoming a collector but started to collect just a couple. My husband bought me a wonderful Steiff one Christmas then last year we traveled to Europe, including a visit to  Steiff,  and several bears were added along the way. Now I guess I am a Collector.

Marie_ Kiprie Bears
Yokohama, Japan
Posts: 2,735

angel.jpgHi Chrissie,
this is  good questions♪ I love to know how everyone else started too . bear_original
Ok, for my case....
1.I think I have so many reason why I started bear making but this was one of my motive... Back in FEB2002, me and my husband travel to OKINAWA,  (sorry this is not fun story...)we visited one gift shop on last day of our trip and I found the beautiful purple bear in store. but  I didn't have enough cash  with me and the store didn't take a credit card I could not buy it...... then we were going to miss our plane so we had to leave the store. At now I think I should at least reserve the bear or ask if I can !!   After I came back to home I call
the store and ask if I can order by phone and the lady in the store said yes but the purple bear was last one in store and they couldn't order anymore... bear_sad
After few month passed and I decide to make my own bear .
I didn't know where to started but one of my very crafty talented friend ask me to make a KIT bear together.
The KIT bear was designed for beginner  but it was very hard for me and I ask so many question to my friend . If I had no one to ask questions I think I didn't finish the bear ...... bear_sad However...
Since then I am very addicted of making bears and never stoped. ;)

2. For my first bear, it took me 2month !! (1-2hours per day)

3. Hmmmm I get my ideas from my brain. bear_grin
I bring small memo pad and color pencil with me all the time
and write a design if I came up with some thing. :D
I get my ideas when I'm riding train, walking street,    sleeping and when I 'm taking bath...I think I am very bear addiction person and my idea coming from anywhere...  hehe

4. No I don't have any of Artist bears yet but
   I would love to collect them!!
   (PS I love your collection Chrissie ♪)
Bear Hugs/Marie

Laura Lynn Teddy Bear Academy
Nicholasville, KY
Posts: 3,653

Laura Lynn Banner Sponsor

Hi and a belated Welcome!  I've been "saving" this thread for when I had a little more time than usual bear_original  Thanks for starting it... it's been VERY interesting!  I was surprised at the low number of collectors.

I Love Teddies wrote:

1.  How did you get started?

I was already a collector of artist teddy bears.  I found a book on making teddy bears at JoAnn Fabrics... but just could not grasp the "how to's" of jointing the bear.  Later I was looking thru a booklet of "Adult Continuing Education" classess offered in our district... and found a class on making a fully jointed mohair bear!  I called and signed up that minute!

I Love Teddies wrote:

Were you already good at sewing or other crafty things?

Well, I learned to sew in middle school, and later made dresses for my daughter and her doll.... but then put sewing aside for a while.  But I was always a creative person and not really happy unless I'm creating SOMEthing!  I was a photographer for quite a while and always (still do) get a "thrill" when I see a photo I took that really turned out as I'd hoped it would (they don't all work LOL!). 

I Love Teddies wrote:

2. How long did it take you to make your first bear?

That class I took was 2 Tuesday nights.  The instructor had drawn the pieces on the mohair already (saved on mohair!) but we did everything else.  Guessing at hours I'd say it took 12 hours or so... (he's not stuffed NEARLY as firmly as I stuff now!

I Love Teddies wrote:

3. How do you get your ideas?  As you go along, is it harder to think of ideas?

I had read a lot of artists get their ideas from children's books... so I started looking and wow!  There's tons of ideas there!  Also... I have fun buying an entirely new type and color of mohair than I usually do... and often get inspiration from the mohair itself.

I Love Teddies wrote:

4. Do you collect bears besides the ones you make?

I only have the first bear I ever made (need to make myself another soon!) and yes, I still collect other artist bears (although not as many as I used to be able to)  I used to buy many more bears before I jumped into bearmaking full time.  My income went down... but my stress level went WAY down too bear_original  I found that when I had my office job, I "needed" to buy things to help lower my stress and make me feel good.  Now I'm happy during the day which helps keep me from "needing to buy" things quite as often bear_grin

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