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Past Time Bears - Artist bears designed and handcrafted by Sue Ann Holcomb
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mulberrybendbears Posts: 16

I've been obsessively perusing bears since I'm in the middle of making a bear-related plush - and I have a question I'd like to get other bearmaker's and collectors opinion on: dress or no dress? Clothes or no clothes?

In my personal opinion (and this is entirely a personal preference, I can assure you) I prefer to see a bear without clothes or with minimal accouterments. It really lets me see an artists handiwork as well as the shape of the bear in all its glory. However, I've been won over now and again with a bear that is just really becoming and sparkles with personality in its outfit....!

But a lot of the time I feel a dress or some pants are sort of "slapped on" and the outfit doesn't really compliment the bear. Even worse, some bears are so covered in gewgaws and ruffles that the only thing you see is the face!

Plus I'm creatively selfish in the end - I'd love to pick out outfits for my bear. I feel like when you finally make the big purchase of an artist bear its incredibly fun to then make it your own in a way - giving your bear something you picked out for it specifically is your imprint on it, your connection with it.

I also feel (and this is a feeling and based on no real research whatsoever, I forwarn you!  bear_laugh  bear_innocent  ) psychologically as a seller that If the bear is already completely dressed and made up it appears well taken care of - pampered, sometimes even (or dare I even say spoiled?) it may make a collector or buyer feel "what can I give to this bear that it doesn't already have? Why is going home with ME any better than sitting in splendor on this beautiful table?"

Just some thoughts - I may be utterly wrong and completely misguided. Do dressed bears sell any better than non-dressed bears? Is it still "all in a name" as far as the artists' regular customers go?

How do you all feel about it?  bear_happy

Tatty Bears South Australia
Posts: 305

   I'm not one for the fully dressed bear but I do love them with something, a scarfe, little trinkets on, a pair of glasses. You get the idea??? Not too much but something special.

SueAnn Past Time Bears
Double Oak, Texas
Posts: 21,039

SueAnn Help Advisor, Banner Sponsor

I'm also partial to non-dressed bears . . . simply because I want to see all the beautiful mohair and the shape of the teddy.  Accessories are good and I add them to my creations, but fully dressed bears just don't have the appeal for me.

Tatty Bears South Australia
Posts: 305

That's right, as all good bears know..... ACCESSORIES, ACCESSORIES, ACCESSORIES!!!!!!!! bear_grin

thondra rosenheim / bayern
Posts: 311

so far most of my bears are naked
they just dont call for an outfit ...
just 1 bear called, and he got letherpants now :)
and one carries a heart with him

pandamac 'EmBears
Northern New York State
Posts: 917

A bear is a bear and should be......bare  :crackup: I much prefur bare bears

Gabriele~GJOYfulBears GJOYful Bears
Posts: 511

I love bears in overalls, but that's really the only clothing I like on bears besides maybe a cute jumper or a hat. But that's in bears I collect.....

With bears I make, I sometimes like to put a hat like a night-cap on them, but usually no clothing items. I do love however to put a special bead or key or both around their neck with a ribbon or something..... depending on the bear. I don't really feel that bears were meant to be totally dressed up. If the outfit doesn't seem to suit it just looks "over done."

But I think whatever the bear seems to tell you it needs, it should have (within reason) and also, whatever makes the artist and then the customer who buys the bear happy. That's really what it's about. Whatever makes you happy as an artist and as a collector to add something to your bear... Bears are here to make us smile and be good friends. Whatever makes us happy to add something to them or take an accessory they may have come with away, I think is ok. The bear won't mind as long as it's person is happy. That's my opinion lol.

Eddy38 Kitchener Ontario
Posts: 34

As a collector I prefer undressed bears, however I love a little ruffle, scarf, etc...
I only have 1 bear with a little jacket, but it was so beautifully made and suited the bear so much I love it on him.
I agree the mohair, shape of the bear and workmanship are so much more to me.

karenaus Melbourne
Posts: 694

Lol I always want to hide in the corner when this comes up... 90% of my bears are dressed, I love dressing my bears, making hats for them etc, but I always second guess myself when so many people say how they dislike it lol.
    I must have found the few collectors who like dressed bears bear_grin as my dressed pieces sell better than my pieces that just have a ribbon etc ( unless it's a panda- pandas I rarely dress but I usually sell all I take to a show)
    Even tho I second guess myself with these threads, I love dressing my bears, I've got my 'niche' and I'm quite happy there regardless bear_grin

bearlady13 Posts: 177

I think it is different with each maker and customer. The bears seem to talk to each of us differently.  I have both and have made both.  Everyone I have shown my bears to always have their own favorite.  Me I just love making the bear come to life and letting it tell me what it wants to wear or not wear.

Gabriele~GJOYfulBears GJOYful Bears
Posts: 511

Karen your bears are so special and the clothing etc you choose for them is absolutely perfect and is so "them." They always look great! I love your bears. And that is proof that the right outfit on the right bears is just as perfect as a bear without an outfit!

karenaus Melbourne
Posts: 694
Gabriele~GJOYfulBears wrote:

Karen your bears are so special and the clothing etc you choose for them is absolutely perfect and is so "them." They always look great! I love your bears. And that is proof that the right outfit on the right bears is just as perfect as a bear without an outfit!

Aww thanks Gabriele... Really it doesn't worry me, i just shrink away a bit lol..... And just reinforces that everyone is different and has different tastes bear_happy  I wouldn't have nearly as much fun with my bears if I couldn't dress 'em up, even my elephants usually have a hat lol..

Tatty Bears South Australia
Posts: 305

If I could dress my bears as beautifully as you do Karen I would be very happy I can see why they sell so well your bears complement the clothes and the clothes complement the bears. Perfect.

chloethewhite Posts: 2

Naked Bears.  That's how my Hug rolls.

karenaus Melbourne
Posts: 694
Tatty Bears wrote:

If I could dress my bears as beautifully as you do Karen I would be very happy I can see why they sell so well your bears complement the clothes and the clothes complement the bears. Perfect.

Aww thank you Sheree, that's so kind of you.  :hug:

Plum Cottage Bears Plum Cottage Bears
Long Beach, CA
Posts: 2,151

Plum Cottage Bears Cute Animal Ambassador

When I made bears of faux fur, I would dress them in dresses and bloomers.  When I switched to using mohair, I felt that the mohair was so beautiful that costumes would detract from the bear.  I put ribbons on my bears but am looking for a signature accessory, such as a special bead on a cord, or something like that.

peterbear Boechout, Antwerp
Posts: 4,755

In general I would agree with most teddy bear lovers: I also prefer a bear that is "bare", with just a simple ribbon or bow, or even nothing at all.
Most teddies don't need elaborate clothing, because they are just so beautiful in the fur.  (unlike most humans I would dare to say  bear_whistle )

The majority of the bears in my hug are therefore naked, but that doesn't mean that once in a while I come across a bear that looks so splendid in his clothing,
that I feel his outfit has become part of him.  Especially since I know that the artist has put a lot of time and effort into making this outfit.

Here are two examples:

two MARY GEORGE bears (Dalton & Dolly) that absolutely don't need any clothes.  (Dalton's neck tie is just a scrap of old fabric  bear_tongue )


one bear by Dutch artist ANNA HOO, called Nelson, whose clothes definitely are an essential part of his overall commanding appearance.


Gantaeno Je Suis Lugly!
Posts: 1,065

I don't mind jackets, dresses or shirts on bears but I don't like to see them in trousers... is that weird?!

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

I think it depends on whether the clothes complement the bear...there is no point in dressing if it doesn't go with the look of the bear. I love to dress my bears but I think I make natural ,undressed bears in equal number. They sell the same...people seem to like my dressed bears but my naked bears sell to different customers. I think that creating character is helped along with clothes and accessories so I am happy to add them if I think they will work.
One thing I am picky about though is if a bear is dressed it should be in nicely made me there is no point in making a bear that you spend time making just so only to dress it in a poorly made or cheap shop bought outfit that detracts from the hard work and quality fabric in the bear..they don't have to be haute couture but finished and tasteful clothes are important to me.

Karon Posts: 751

I found Chloe's remark rather funny.  I love girlie bears in pretty outfits but I don't like them in knickers. :crackup: .  "Fur coat and no knickers" right! :crackup:

Little Bear Guy Little Bear Guy
Waterloo, Ontario
Posts: 1,395

I think it comes down to the bear itself. I myself don't usually buy a bear that's dressed, but one of Karen's I would be in a minute as all her bears are dressed so perfectly and they compliment her bears. Martha Burch makes some beautiful bears and the clothes are amazing as well. I like bears with a pair of pants on them or s simple dress. But most times I hate to cover up the mohair, although I have been contemplating doing some bears with just simple clothes, nothing to over the top.

To each their own, again it really depends on the bear.

ScaliWagGrrs ScaliWagGrrs
Denver, Colorado
Posts: 1,157

I am typically a bare bear fan. Though I have seen and loved many fabulously dressed bears. It does depend on the bear itself as to what fits his or her personality. Or should I say bearsonality? I have dressed a few of the bears i make but I don't enjoy sewing clothing so don't do it much. I actually hated to sew before I started making bears. I love making bears, dogs and other critters but I still hate sewing clothing. I think it is because the bears have faces and therefore have bearsonality. Clothes don't look back at you so to me are boring and no fun to make.

But I must say that my most recent offering in Poncho the Chihuahua just cried out to wear clothing. He just didn't look right naked. I think his little Poncho and sombrero really suited him to a T.

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