Nikkle Bears by Margaret Burke
After dabbling in other crafts such as decorating eggs, scrapbooking and beaded bracelets, I chanced upon teddy bear making while visiting a craft show in Sydney with a friend. It was the beginning of my obsession!
Unlike a lot of other bear artists, I don’t have a background in design, art or fashion, having worked in administration for all of my working life, and I must admit to not being all that interested in sewing in my earlier years. I work full time as a Department Manager in a chemical manufacturing plant, and am currently completing a Diploma of Logistics, after achieving a Diploma of Business - Frontline Management in 2009.
As a relative newcomer to the bear artist industry, I am self-taught, and have only been designing and making my bears since 2007. I’m thrilled to say that I’ve enjoyed competition success during that time, most recently winning a 2010 URSA Award and a second-place award in the 2010 TBAAF Awards. I am always striving to learn and try new skills and develop new patterns. In that respect, I guess you could say my style of bears is still evolving.
Each of my bears has been hand-sewn from mohair or alpaca (my favourite) and I spend a lot of time hand-painting their eyes. They say that ‘the eyes are the window to the soul’ and I like my little creations’ eyes to have a depth of character that speaks to people.
I am inspired by beautiful colours, and I love the fantasy and mystery of shows such as the wonderful Cirque du Soleil, and the beauty and culture of the Fanta-sea shows in Phuket, Thailand.
I enjoy dabbling with different design techniques (which I am still learning) and can’t wait to see a little finished face staring back at me. I admit to having a penchant for collecting mohair at bear shows (lucky I still have my day job!!!) and somehow my bear making supplies and bears have taken over our spare bedroom where there is now little room for visitors!!!
I live in the beautiful Shoalhaven area of New South Wales with my family, one very large Alaskan Malamute, and two neurotic cats! My husband and I are proud grandparents to our gorgeous 2-year old granddaughter Mikaela, and because of our very hectic and busy lives, we very much enjoy family time together.