Magazine; Teddy Bear And Friends, August issue 2007, "Artist Tradings Cards" page 43.
Magazine; Teddy Bear And Friends, April issue 2007, "Teddy Bear Face Book"- Billy page 46.
Interview with Lisa from Edinburgh Imports
Artist of the Month for Febuary 2007
Lisa: I was looking around on your website, Critters Creations and noticed that you started in the bear industry by making memory bears out of old fur coats. That seems like a pretty big challenge for someone just beginning to make bears as real fur is a difficult to work with for even the most seasoned Bear Artist. So what made you decide to start making bears out of the recycled fur?
Linda: Hi Lisa, My husband and I had been doing craft show for 10 years( work with wood, painting and materials ect) and stopped when we had a house fire and lost every thing ten yearn ago. After awhile I needed to have a creative out so I one day while I was in town I entered this bear shop and they ran courses on how to make a bear, so I sighed up with a friend of mine. Soon after that I had someone come up and asked me if I would make a bear for them from their grammas coat
. Real fur coat
. Make a real fur bear
. I was not sure on that, because at that point I was only making bears from synthetic plush, so I got
Lisa: So when did the hobby of making memory bears blossom into a full time bear making business named Critters Creations?
Linda: Critters Creations came about after I started to join the bear forms in 2005 and learned how everyone else was doing it .so I took the plunge and here I am. I still have a lot to learn and that is ok because it is worth it.
Lisa: Did you always make your own patterns or did you start by using a commercial pattern or another artists pattern? What prompted you to begin making bears from your own patterns?
Linda: I stared out using an artist pattern but was constantly changing it as I was not happy with what I was trying to make, so I took a course on how to design a bear and from that time on I have been making my own patterns. Sara was my first bear I designed, with a bent arm and leg design. I enjoy the challenge of trying to create something from scratch.
Lisa: When did you start making bears out of mohair? What other types of fabrics have you tried besides the recycled fur and mohair? Whats the most unusual fabric that youve used to make a bear?
Linda: I stared out using mohair a little at a time over the last few years and love it! I find I can do more with the fabric then real fur. I have work with synthetic plush and I think the most unusual fabric I have made a bear from for me any how was from a knitted mohair sweater . Now how was I going to do that . Very carefully! I have to say I was very pleased on how it turned out and the lady loved it and that made me very happy.
Lisa: What tips would you give to other artists who want to tackle using recycled fabrics such as fur (i.e. check the condition of the backing, is it dry, cracked, etc.?)? How do you begin to take apart a recycled fur in order to start the process of making a bear?
Linda: For me I would check the condition of the coat inside and to make sure it is useable to make a bear. If the pelt is too dry and damaged I would not use it. Now if the pelt is not to dry but still dry then you could try rubbing liquid glycerin on the leather side of the coat to see if it will soften it. Start with an easy fur to work with like rabbit and mink. I take the lining out first and then I start to take the coat apart at the seams so that I have all the parts of the coat lying flat. The two arms, back, fronts collar, ect. I check for wear and tear on the fur side and mark the back of the coat so when I place the pattern pieces on the coat I know what areas to stay away from. Make sure of course to find you nap so you dont have your bear with a bad hair day.
I cut the whole bear from muslin first then I take the muslin pieces and place them on the back side of the coat taking note of the damage places and lining up the pieces so the opposites are symmetrical. Do some research on how to make a bear from real fur. Like a mention before I found the book Teddy Bears With A Past, very informative and every thing you need to know is in the book. NCTB has an on line course on how to make a bear from real fur. Ask questions on the bear forms as you can get help there as well.
Lisa: I also noticed while visiting your website that some of your bears like Gilmore for instance, have what appears to be a clay or resin nose and other bears like Billy, have clay or resin teeth. Do you sculpt these features and if so, what material is used? What inspired you to begin adding sculpted features to your bears? What other new techniques have you tried?
Linda: I do sculpt my own noses and teeth from femo as you have seen on Gilmore and Billy. I love how it adds character and personality to the little fellows. I have seen other artists bears with these features and love the added personality. I have needle felted noses, the face and paw pads but not a whole bear yet. That is on my to do list. Shading, pulled toes, needle sculpting and hand painting the eyes.
Lisa: How does belonging to a forum such as this one help you grow as an artist (i.e. participating in challenges, exposure to new techniques such as needle felting)? Are you a member of any other professional bear organization (NCTB, Bears and Buds, etc.) and how has the exposure through a group such as that been beneficial for your career?
Linda: Oh my
It is wonderful to be able to chat and exchange ideas with people all over the world and every one is so support of. I have learned sooooooooo much from everyone on the forms and it is like a big family and they give so much encouragement that it makes you want to do your best and to try things and to share all the stories happy, funny and sad. I finally got a web site up and running last year with the help of others. I am a member of NCTB and advertising on Intercal, Bears Direct and of course exposure through
Lisa: What achievements are you most proud of in your career as a bear artist (i.e. magazine exposure, awards, contests, challenges (hint, hint
Linda: Lisa I have to say my first achievement was when I won an award for Robin Hood in the
Lisa: What advice would you give to other new artists who are planning to make a career as a bear artist?
Linda: Lisa I have to say dont give up on some thing you love to do. Dont be afraid to try different techniques. You will be surprised at what you can do if you take your time and you will find your style. Stay true to your self. Do your research on the bear business to make sure it is for you. I wont lie here and say it is a walk in the park because it isnt. Like any thing it takes a lot of work and dedication to what you want to do and make a go of it. It is up to you to make the decision on what direction you what to take. I have to say weather you do it for yourself or business it is very rewarding to see how happy the people are that receives them. But remember to have fun and be creative.
Lisa: What are your goals as an artist for 2007?
Linda: I want to do air brushing and learn and try more techniques. To take what I have learned to a higher level for myself. Advertise on more sites, ect. So stay tuned as you never know what creations comes next from Critters Creations!
Thank you for your time Linda!!!!
Linda: Thank You Lisa for asking me to participate in this interview.
"Daisy" won the NCTB April 2006 Newsletter challenged that was to create a bear with a 'Flowery' theme.
He Loves Me...He Loves Me Not...
He Loves Me...
I entered a competition called the "ACE Awards" in 2005.
This Prestigious Award is presented to artists worldwide for Artistic Creative Excellence in Teddy Bear Design and Creation. Each year the University of E-Bearz focus on a different theme and ask for entries based upon that theme.
The theme was Fairytale, and I won for my entry of "Robin Hood" dressed bear over 12". This award was published in fall issue of "Canadian Teddy Bear News" in 2005 as well as the new letters and website from "North Country Teddy Bears."
I received a beautiful engraved Glass Sculpture, and a Certificate.
This was the first time I enter any kind of
competition with my bears!
Hugs, Linda Hearn
Where to find my bears
You will find available bears;
On my web site
Ebay - ID (hearncreations)