Teddy Bear Artists and their Pals - artist made bears, dolls, other critters

Here is the start of some Beary good stories I've collected for all you bear lovers...

If you have one to share, please contact me....

Love your site and your bears are great! Here is my bear story...

Hello group, my name is Toby and I am a fur and bear-a-holic.
It is chronic, it is incurable and I suffer withdrawals often.
I find myself going to fur sites and looking over their
fabrics when I should be preparing my cases for work.
Fortunately (for my family) or unfortunately (for me)
I live in a province where there is NO mohair readily
available. I cannot go and view it, I cannot feel it. I dare
not order major swatch samples from Edinburgh or Intercal. I
have to do my ordering by mail and my viewing of colors
on the web. I ask for the odd samples by mail and pore
over them like a first time bride picking out wedding invitations.
We can get some good plush if you are willing to dive to the
bottom of the tacky plush pile to find it and those pieces
are few and far between. But that is all beside the point
and who in their right mind is addicted to tacky plush
anyway??? Well if you are in Newfoundland and Labrador
and do not have access to mohair, I suppose the risk is
greater (please may I not sink into that deep dark pit of
fuzzy horror .. someone save me).

Now for you folks who are geographically challenged, NL
is on the far northeastern coast of Canada, 1000 miles
across the Atlantic to the northeast from Nova Scotia and
connected to Quebec in the northern regions. In other
words, days and miles from every other province in the
country. But yet I live in a city of 150,000 people. People
without mohair. People without access to good plush.
People who do not live in igloos contrary to popular
belief. People who are sitting under feet and feet of
snow .. making it even harder to get to fabric shops.

My first bunka brush with mohair was at a TBOV (Teddy
Bears on Vacation) show at the Sheraton Hotel in
Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1999. I flew over specifically
for this show. After two years of using only synthetics
and wanting to branch out, I decided that I would go
armed with a chequebook and purchase mohair first
hand. As I lived in Halifax for over 20 years, I love to go home
and visit with my best friend since grade 9 who lives there.
In my little mind I figured that plane fare + staying with
Susan (a rug hooker with her own shop therefore
understanding of my addiction) and having no hotel bill + no
car rental equals more $$$ for mohair that I would not have to
pay to ship to my out of the way province. I purchased around
$500 CDN worth of mohair from a couple of Canadian suppliers.
I was in my element and could not wait to get my Fiskars in gear
and find a suitable pattern. Oh it is wonderful. Oh the glory. Oh
great anticipation. Oh the depleting figure
in my chequebook. Oh well. I'll just have to take on a
couple more cases when I get home to catch up.

Mistake number one.
I asked Hooker Susan if there was a fabric shop nearby ..
What? SEVERAL? I wanted to find some of
those little gossamer net wings as I had plans to make
some angel bears. Enter Atlantic Fabrics. HUGE!! Addict
goes to counter and asks where the wings are. Pointed to
the back of store, addict puts on blinders and runs down
aisle. Finds wings, picks up five and starts back up aisle.
Proud of self that she did not go and check out cross stitch
patterns and aida cloth (I need to join another twelve step
program for that). En route addict spies FUR ON SIDE WALL!
Bolts and bolts of various non mohair fur. Who cares? Fur is fur!
Oh some is tacky and looks to be suitable for only making
big orange or purple yaks but there could be something good among it.
Addict says to herself "impossible. Good fur would not be in
a fabric store in Halifax" so starts back up aisle to where said
Hooker Susan is waiting.

Addict starts talking to the clerk. Mistake number two.
Tells her that she is a bear maker. Cashier finds this most
interesting. Then addict blurts out "I make bears from mohair"
like she is admitting to being a criminal or some other such travesty.
Cashier says to addict "we don't carry mohair BUT WE HAVE
SOME LOVELY SYNTHETIC THAT JUST CAME IN YESTERDAY!"
I was looking for white and prayed they didn't have any.
WE HAVE THIS GORGEOUS WHITE, COME LET ME SHOW
YOU!!!!!!!!!!! Addict breaks into cold sweat and attempts to
tell cashier "no thank you" but the words would not form as
she finds herself saying "oh how lovely" and "yes, I'd love to see it"
and other babblings as she wanders down the aisle in some
kind of fur induced daze followed by Hooker Susan to survey
the new plush. Oh no. IT'S GOOD PLUSH!
Addict looks at Susan who only reinforces the problem by saying
"oh, that would make beautiful bears". I have never felt alpaca
but I could only imagine that this would be as soft.

After five minutes deliberation, addict finds she has cement
shoes right beside the plush. To enable cement shoes to be
released from floor, cashier and addict must carry humongous
bolt of white up to front cutting table. Addict checks plush over for
flaws hoping to see many. Mistake number three.
WHAT?? NO FLAWS?? Oh no,
that means I HAVE TO BUY SOME!! I will take a meter.
JUST A METER?? They may never have this again and
if they do, I won't be here! I live 1000 miles away!
Over the ocean! OH NO! That cannot happen. SOMEONE
SAVE ME!! Addict looks at door and Susan said "who do
you see?" I said "I am waiting for John (my good bear
fearing husband) to walk through the door and say
"TOBY! NO MORE FUR!!" but addict then smirks to Susan
when she realizes "HUBBY STAYED HOME IN NEWFOUNDLAND!!
NEENER NEENER NEENER!" making little raspberry faces in her head,
directed towards John. Addict feels like breaking into some kind
of dance with thumb on her nose and her tongue going PHHHTTTT
but refrains when she thinks they might call the police and have
her toted off without her purchase. Addict departs with five pair
of gossamer wings and three and a half meters of lovely white plush.
Chequebook nearly depleted.

When I was packing to return home, Hooker Susan
had to get me a very large box just for my fur which I had
to pay $40. extra to get it on the plane. I bought no bears at
the show but I did have my picture taken with Judith Ball
while holding one of her wonderful bears.
And I did come home next to broke. What exhilaration.
What fuel for divorce.

Ahh, unpacking was a trip in itself. My good husband John who
adores bears and is very supportive of my habit (although I
wondered if he would still have the same opinion once
he saw my purchases) had asked me to get him a
few cartons of cigarettes as they were $40.00 more at
home. I obliged him against my better judgement.
He saw me coming with the large box and said "those must
be my cigarettes". Sorry John, your cigarettes
are in the overnight bag". THAT SMALL THING??
Then what the heck is in that big box that I nearly gave
myself a hernia over?" I said "oh, that's fur!" FUR????
All that? You mean that's not cigarettes? Oh no, and
five pair of wings. He had to open it up and when he saw
the array he labeled me .......

"Toby The Mo-'ho"
Well, at least I was in the right company with Hooker Susan!!!
On being a normal teddy bear artist...

Alrightie then, let's just see if we are all a little bit normal: (if you have done any of the following please raise your paw)

You are walking down the street in the dead of winter and a beautiful coat passes your way and you complimentary say...Nice Teddy Bears...

You walk in to the local hardware store and tell the college kid at the counter, earning their way thru school , you need to buy joints because you just ran out of the big ones and you have a show coming up TOMORROW...now this reaction can be pretty interesting.... especially when they see this middle age woman with that scary look staring them right in the eye.

It is 4 in the morning and suddenly you jump out of bed...hubby asks
concerned if it is a charlie horse?... before he gets a reply, you are off to the studio with pencil in hand to sketch a brand new bear design. That's
normal*..*

You offer Gumi bears with coffee when the neighbors come over for a visit.
Perfectly normal.

The cutest thing you have saw in a coons age is a rats ass...so cute you wear one pinned on your lapel. Now Martha D. seems pretty normal I'd say. (and I have one of those rat's a___s)

Instead of paying a therapy bill, you blubber you worst day's nightmares to your bears and if you are lucky those feeling get all better and worked out thru the gift of creating a simple teddy bear and things just really don't seem so bad...   Thank Goodness for that normalcy.

You work so hard your neck, shoulders and hands scream stop...all to give away just the very piece causing the pain to better somebody else's world...I say the Ross Park artists are normal...and the folks rewarding those artists for their efforts...more than normal.... do you fit
there?

When you hear of another normal artist who has had every last thing stolen,
burned or lost in the airport  you want to run to their aid and give them your very last piece of mohair and give them a huge hug weather you have ever met them or not...is that normal?? You bet it is!

As I think about it, there are so many many more really great normal things,
I could go on forever.. but I won't and I will stop here with this final thought.
I can say in the last 2 years I have been there...done that and witnessed all these "normal things" and more.... straight from the hearts and souls of the teddy folk, my being is very glad to be a part of this very normal world.

So, ...there you have it a tiny part of my really normal world. And that's all she wrote. Big hugs, Shelly


A cute story from another bear artist...
I have been working on holiday bears and trying to make similar faces. I was
out with my son shopping today and a set of twins walked by us. My son is
convinced I need a bear break because I actually said out loud "Oh look, they
are a limited edition but one has a slightly bigger head." Fortunately, I
don't think anyone else heard me.
 

 

 

   

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