A word from Mireille Begijn
Bearcrafter since 2006
Hello dear Bear Friends,
My name is Mireille Begijn from Belgium and I am a professional teddy bear maker. Bear making is my lifestyle and I couldn’t live without creating my little wonders. I started in 2006, making my little Anime bears after a successful career as a doll maker.
As a child I was inspired by fairy tale figures such as elves, gnomes, witches and even fantasy creatures and I am always working out new ideas. Since I am not very mobile due to my handicap, it is difficult for me to go to bookstores or visit trade fairs, so most of the time I find my inspiration in a small piece of fur, original old lace or even any picture that appeals to me.
My favourite way to work, is with a good cup of tea and my favorite music playing the background. The songs of Adele, Michael Bublé, Sarah Brightman, Ozark Henry, Cirque Du Soleil, or Celine Dion, fill me with more power and the spirit to make wonderful bears.
Every creation I make is one of a kind and ‘bears’ both a name I personally invented and an original ‘character’. My creations are between 13 and 23 centimetres and all 'Bearytale Teddies' and matching accessories, are unique and entirely handmade using durable materials. My little ‘wonders’ as I always call my creations, can be identified by their roguish little faces and broad smile.
Years ago, I was inspired by the funny little Japanese ‘Anime’ bears, which gave me a fantasy free rein to create my teddies. The results are my original ‘little wonders‘. Today, I am especially known by collectors for my so called butterfly bears, which are very unique with hand-made ‘Fimo clay’ flower wreaths, abundantly supplied with hundreds of Swarovski-crystals. That’s how I was given the nickname “Madame Butterfly”!
Tsjechisch Art Nouveau artist Alphonse Mucha (popular around the turn of the Century) inspired my later work. “When I see his work, it is so peaceful and has such a sense of the familiar. It’s like when you see a friend after many years, as though no time has passed. I admires the ‘curls and colors’ of Mucha’s art, but most of all, the period during which he lived. The architecture, art ,clothes, jewellery and theatre inspire me and sometimes I think I was born in the wrong century, but I am very happy that I live in the here and now … with all the luxuries of 2013, especially with my physical needs.
Hints of Mucha’s inspiration can be seen in every one of my creations. Mucha’s work is so restful. I had the same feeling when I first saw a Cirque Du Soleil show and became a big fan of Cirque Du Soleil. When they visited Belgium a few years ago, I made hand-painted silk scarves as a gift for a few of the performers. One of their designers visited me at home, so I showed her all my work. She invited me to meet the cast backstage and they allowed me to work in their costume department for a day. What I felt so deeply with the people of Cirque Du Soleil, is that every person was the same, black, white, or handicapped. It was an amazing feeling and one of the best days of my life; it gave me so much courage to go on with my work.
Another of my sources of inspiration at this moment is the 'The Guild of Master Bearcrafters' website ... it is a pleasure to surf everyday to this beautiful site and see professional bear makers showing their work to the world. Even more importantly, as I know from the past as a new upcoming bear maker, it is a perfect website to find helpful information and inspiration for making your dream or award winning bear!
Warm regards from Belgium,