One & Only Bears (USA) by Michelle Lamb
After doing a variety of art for several years, I took up teddy bears and it was the best decision I ever made. My painting/design background lends itself to my work as I make a point to treat each soft sculpture like a composition in terms of proportion and color. The emotional component of teddy bears comes from spending time meticulously needle- and scissor-sculpting the face and eye area. Knowing that the eyes are the "windows to the soul", I innovated elaborately shaped eyelids to give each one expression and life. It is this sparkle in their eyes that speaks to the viewer and makes them fall in love enough to eventually want to hold and hug. My favorite part of bear making is designing new patterns, then comes accessorizing or costuming the bear to complete the picture.
My husband and I have two teen girls and I am lucky to have a very large studio attached to my house so that I can packrat all the trinkets and treasures I find to go with my bears as well as maintain the messy momentum it takes when envisioning a new design or trying various looks.
I also do fine art, other than bears, to keep my creativity fresh and work with all mediums. This dabbling in the traditional and not so traditional fine arts helps me come up with fresh ideas for my teddies and other critters. The art of teddy bear making has evolved from it's more craftier origins into fine soft sculpture and the work that is out there is exceptional and becoming more so. I strive to stay near that level as much as possible but without losing that sentimental attachment that teddies were originally cherished for.