Emma’s Bears by Emma Nicholson
I have been making bears on and off since I was 15, starting with a couple of flimsy faux velvet monstrosities with stick on googly eyes using a pattern from 'The Art of Making Teddy Bears' by Jennifer Laing. I got so much positive feedback about those hideous bears, and felt so satisfied that I could create something from seemingly nothing that the lifelong passion was born right then and there. I formally registered 'Emma's Bears' as a small business about 5 years ago, and was most productive before having my two children; Chelsea is 2 and Byron is 6months old. Motherhood now occupies 90% of my day, and the bears have had to be squished into the glorious hours after the kids are both asleep and before I crash from exhaustion!
I started off using pretty safe designs and mostly making standard looking bears in sizes from about 8" to 20". Then I started to get a bit more adventurous, and tried my hand at little 4" mini's, designed bears with strange proportions, attempted a few puppies, bunnies, elephants and guinea pigs, played around with polymer clay noses, claws and eyelids and pushed the limits of what is considered an artist bear. At the moment I tend to flip from making a standard 'Emma's Bears' Bear one week, to something a little more adventurous the next. The nature of my current lack of bear making time means I have a million ideas but no time to bring them all to fruition, which is why my creations have become so varied of late!
Bear making/designing is something that runs through to the core of who I am, and something that I think I'll be doing to some degree for the rest of my life. I love using mohair and synthetics, and occasionally a piece of recycled fur if it crosses my path as well. I also collect bears, and have a wonderful studio with floor to ceiling display shelving set up by my incredibly hubby for my last birthday. This allows me to showcase my finished creations alongside my collection of other artist bears. I sell most of my bears either through bearpile.com and etsy.com, and also have a busy blog and a facebook page to help keep collectors in the loop with the latest creation being worked on. I also have a number of patterns and tutorials available to help those who are just starting out on their bear making journey.