Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Make do and mend ...

During the war years, when mohair was in short supply, a 'make do and mend' ethic help ensure the survival of our precious teddy bears.  While toy manufacturers redesigned patterns, sourcing alternative materials to continue production on an industrial scale, charming homespun teddies were created created from almost any type of cloth nearing the end of functional life ... woollen blankets, home made quilts, curtains, table coverings and cushion covers became the new fabrics for creative teddy bear design!

The Guild proudly continues the 'make do and mend' ethic today.  
The bears featured below have been created in this spirit ...

'Once upon a time... there was a tablecover... I found it and then this teddy bear was made...'
Oxana Lyashenko from Canada.

'Levi Red' was created from my much loved Levi 'Red Tab' jeans.'
Paula Carter from the United Kingdom.

'This chap is made from Vintage Welsh wool blanket with vintage boot button eyes.'
Gill Cattroll from the United Kingdom.

'This little bear was made from century old couch cushion's covers. Upholstery fabric been washed and show off it's real golden color, what our grand parents been seeing.'
Natalia Oelofse from South Africa

'He has been created from bright gold crushed rayon old curtains. I dyed the fabric dark brown and from the rich, dark chocolate colour came the name Bournville.'
Elaine Hirst from the United Kingdom

'Melissa is made from scraps of upholstery material and vintage cotton material scraps.'
Carol Parsons from the USA

'Drako is made of vintage plush,  found as a skirt at my mom's home. His ears and paws are made of a tiny piece left from my granny's dress.'
Olga Miklashevska from the Ukraine

' I used a worn pair of my husband's Levi's jeans.'
Debora Hoffman from the USA

'Jesse is made from my husband's jeans and shirt special for Scrap Heap challenge. Jesse has his favorite toy - a shoe, made from the same fabric and clay. His nose is made from shirt's fabric and stuffed.'
Neringa Krankaliene from Lithuania

So the moral of this story is: before you throw out your old jeans, or faded curtains, think 'bear'!  Your tired fabrics could become a unique teddy,  woven with memories of yesteryear!

Friday, 24 May 2013

Tami Eveslage creator of 'Tami Eveslage, Original Bears and Dolls'

A word from Tami Eveslage
Creator of 
Bearcrafter since 1993


Tami Eveslage

There probably are not very many children who think, “When I grow up, I want to be a Teddy Bear Artist.” I certainly didn’t. I didn’t know such a career existed, although I expect if I did, I would have latched on to the idea in an instant, because it seems like what I am made to do! I loved my childhood bear more than any other toy, and much of my play time was spent making things; drawing, painting, sewing, and sculpting. I was never bored when my time was my own. I designed my first stitched and stuffed teddy bear – a flat pancake of a bear made with just two pieces sewn together pillow style--when I was about ten. He was simple because he was so small—sewn for my dollhouse. I had made my own cloth dolls before that, and they were more complex, with many pattern pieces drawn directly onto old sheets and completely sewn by hand. I didn’t know it at the time but, these were the seeds of what was to become a 20 year career in Teddy Bear artistry.


My childhood creations looked, well, like a child had made them, and I have evolved quite a bit since then, but I think my inspiration then and now comes from the same sources, classic Teddy Bears, real bears, and story book illustrations. My preferred style is a mix of classic and contemporary, I think. I employ some contemporary techniques, but my goal is always to create a timeless character, comforting and cuddly. I have recently enjoyed creating some other animals and I think they have the same appeal, a whimsical sort of realism found in illustrations of fables and other children’s stories. I am hoping to follow this common thread of children’s book illustration into the creation of sculpted dolls as well.


I create my Teddy Bears in the basement studio I designed and remodeled myself, with some help from my husband and brother. It is a nice space with three work surfaces, lots of storage, and a lovely, “helpful” feline companion called Missy. I tend to be quite messy when I work, but the organized storage space allows me to clean up when I need to. I dream of a studio with a big window out onto the back yard—and also a sink!

'Cricket, Colby and Cali'

While I know I am never going to become very wealthy in this business, I have achieved a level of success which makes me feel a little pride.  My bears sell as quickly as I make them, and they are in the homes of collectors all over the world. Over the years, I have been honored to be the recipient of awards at shows as well as two of the industry’s most sought after accolades, the TOBY and the Golden Teddy. My most recent honors include three 2013 TOBY Industry’s Choice Awards and Best in Show at the Teddies Worldwide Teddy Bear Extravaganza. Of course the greatest reward is hearing how much a bear is loved in its new home.


I am pleased to be a member of the Guild of Master Bear Crafters. The guild provides a wonderful sense of community and great support for business questions which just wouldn’t apply to other types of businesses. I enjoy the size of it, the inspiring challenges, the thought provoking discussions, and of course all of the “eye candy”!

If you would like to find out more about Tami's work, please visit her blog:

Monday, 20 May 2013

Fun with Fantasy

Do you believe in faeries? 

This week we show you how teddy bear design is limited only by the imagination in our magical 'Fun with Fantasy' slideshow!

'Faun' by Zhanna Rassi from The Lebanon

'Battina Butterfly' by Mireille Begijn from Belgium

'Eldon' by Denise Casey from the USA

'Gustas' by Ieva Urbonaviciene from Lithuania

'Shenanigan' by Nancy Dontigney from the USA

Faery bears, elves, dragons, fauns ... bear crafting can be mystical too you know!

To enjoy our fantasy slideshow in full, please visit before Friday 24th May 2013.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Thread Art Bears

Most of our Guild members are involved with mohair design in one form or another, but we are delighted to include bearcrafters who prefer to create in alternative ways; after all, a passion for teddy bears shouldn't be limited to a single type of fabric!  

Below are some fine examples from the Guild's talented 'Thread Art Bears' group ... enjoy!

'Pandy' by Joanne Noel from the USA

'Garden Bear' by Angela McGinn from Ireland

'Victoria' by Berta Hesen-Minten from The Netherlands

'Sgt. Brandon Jones' by Mary Robinson from the USA

'Tiny Clown Bear' by Christine Shearer' from the USA

'Tangerine' by Samantha Lutterotti from Canada

'Rosalie' by Laurel Allen from the USA

'Bruce' by Jess McCaughey from Australia

'Amigurumi Creations' by Susan Mitchell from Australia

'Mason & his Friend' by Marion Fraile from the USA

'Klara & Kira' by Le Gry from the USA

'Toot Sweet' by Cynthia Stickler from the USA

Just like their mohair counterparts, 'Thread Art' bears are designed and created in all shapes, sizes, colours and styles. Our 'Thread Art' bearcrafters are a gentle group, quietly knitting and crocheting teddy bear designs in fine threads and yarns.  Their work is skilful, creative and above all, completely enchanting!  

We hope you have enjoyed this introduction to our 'Thread Art' bearcrafters' group.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Kim Russell creator of Russell Bears

A word from Kim Russell
Creator of 
Bearcrafter since 2003


Kim and 'Buster'

My name is Kim Russell, I am the creator behind Russell Bears.Russell Bears has been in existence since 2003, but I have been sewing, sculpting and sketching from childhood, attempting my first teddy bears as a teenager.


I work part time from my home studio and love to create OOAK pieces with individual characters from mohair and alpaca. I prefer to use the traditional method of jointing, but they are far from traditional teddy bears as I enjoy using different techniques such as needle felting, scissor and needle sculpting. 


 I love to experiment with colour and patterns and am hoping to produce some new designs this year, lots of ideas floating around in my head, just need some time to make them a reality.


In this time I have been honoured to achieve a number of TOBY Industry Choice Awards, a Golden Teddy Award and nominations, URSA awards, various Australian awards and my most recent an Excellence in Bear Artistry Award.

'Miss Lillie'

The Guild of Master Bearcrafters is a wonderful place where we can all come together to share the same interests in the bear industry...for me, it is professional, educational, social and most importantly, inspirational!


If you would like to find out more about Kim's work, please visit her blog:

 Kim's website can be found at:

Five Featured Artists

Five more fabulous featured Guild artists' creations for you!

Anna Tide from Germany

'Bernadette' is a contemporary girl bear with needle felted muzzle. Anna always selects colour to great effect and this pretty bear, dressed in her gorgeous lemon and pink dress with hand knitted jumper, definitely has the WOW factor. Lovely long lashes and dainty eyelids give her thoroughly 'modern miss' appeal!

Melanie Jayne from the UK

'Andy' is a stylish modern bear created in panda style. Fabulously bold, hand felted accessories, work beautifully with this cheeky faced chap. Melanie has created an instantly identifiable brand with her current range of needle felted work and instinctively understands how to apply colour to best advantage, but above all, how to create appealing teddy bears with a modern twist!

Zhanna Rassi from The Lebanon

Zhanna has been creating wonderful fantasy characters of late and 'Orin the Faery' is one such fine fellow.  A beautifully detailed presentation, full of whimsical personality, deftly bears our humble teddy through the magical lands of Zhanna's colourful imagination ... a truly original teddy bear!

Irina Kunakh from Russia

Irina has accomplished the art of embodying a charming sense of nostalgia within her work, whilst creating highly unique teddy bears.  She has used beautiful, subtle colour choices and vintage style cotton prints, to create 'Alyosha', an enchanting friendship pair.

Nadia Gaynutdinova from The Ukraine

'Teddy Zaюshka', is an utterly endearing red rabbit, skilfully created from authentic vintage fabric bearing the hallmarks of time.  This design has a wonderful simplicity which evokes memories of childhood and cosy bedtime stories ... beautiful!

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Dolls Too!

Did you know that besides designing and making amazing teddy bears, many Guild Bearcrafters have other creative talents? 

Our 'Dolls Too' group is actively supported whenever members can schedule time for a spot of doll-crafting between bears and as you can see, our doll-makers are every bit as diverse in style and technique as our Guild Bearcrafters!

'Suzie', a primitive cloth 'Raggedy Annie' style doll by Carol Parsons from the USA

'Rotkappchen', a sculpted doll by Tami Eveslage from the USA

'Rosie Red', a cloth doll by Paula Carter from the United Kingdom

'Silke', a hand painted clay faced doll with mohair body, by Anna Tide from Germany

'Mystic Dragon' handpainted on cloth, by Ina Smirnova from Lithuania

'Pippin the Troll', a polymer clay doll by Nina Bolen from the USA

'Clown', a cloth doll created by Elena Zomchak from Spain

'Lily', a contemporary cloth doll created by Gill Cattroll from the United Kingdom

We hope you have enjoyed this glimpse of our 'Dolls Too'
group's hidden talents.  Supporting traditional craft skills and leading the creative way, is at the heart of the Guild of Master Bearcrafters, so we  are delighted to be able to set aside a corner of our Guild to help our members express their creativity in doll form.
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