Cute teddy bears are always are to resist and such a pleasure to make as well. Kate Tilmouth (yes that's me), has been making handmade collectors bears for a few years now but has only recently decided to make them to sell as she has had so many requests from friends and family to own one of her bears.
The bear collection is known as "I.T.B.A (It's Those Bears Again)", why? Well, to find the answer to this question and other interesting little bits of information about myself, I have interviewed myself and answered some of these questions for you below.
How long have you been making bears and what got you started?
I am quite new to bear making but have always been a collector of bears new and old. I have always been quite creative and have in the past made mosaics, decorative boxes and was a photographer for a few years. So it was inevitable I think that sooner or later I would start to create my own bears.
I live in a small house and so space has always been an issue. I have therefore always leaned towards small things and my bears are no exception. My bears range between 5 and 8 inches tall which fit neatly into the palm of my hand, this gives them a added cute factor I think.
This is peanut a very cute teddy bear with a big smile.
Where did you get the name of your bear collection from?
There was an old comedy radio show way back in the 1950's in the UK called "I.T.M.A (It's That Man Again". Although I am no where old enough to remember this show I do like to listen to it via the Internet and it always makes me smile. As my bears make me smile and I hope they will others too, I decided to call my collection "I.T.B.A (It's Those Bears Again).
Lila is a 7" Lilac Mohair Bear
What is your favourite and least favourite part of making your bears?
For me placing and sewing the ears has always been my least favourite part of making my bears. For some reason I always seem to struggle to get them equal and placed just where I want them on the head.
Sometimes though this has worked out for the best in the end with the final position often better than the one I had originally foreseen.
Tell us about your passion for your craft?
I think you're right to call it a passion, it's far more than just making for making sake and any financial gain.
I must admit it took me by surprise to find out just how much i would enjoy making each of my bears. My first few attempts were clumsy and very naive. But it sparked curiosity in me to find out how i could do things better and how other makers make such wonderful creations. That was it, the more I learned the more I wanted to learn and the more I wanted to make.
Soon making bears was more than a pass time to do in the evenings. I was thinking about making my next bear throughout the day. Planning it's look, who they were and what their story was. I was hooked and now I may a bear a week.
Did you have a favourite bear as a child, if so do you still have it and could you tell us about it?
I still have m first teddy bear. She is a white Wendy Boston bear who has a very pronounced bottom shape and pinched in waist. I never did give her a name and she was always just known as white bear.
She is rather grubby now and after years of sitting on the shelf has become a little fragile. She was stuffed with foam and this has now begun to crumble inside and her fur will fall out if I try to clean her.
This is Hazel very much a boy bear
How would you describe the style of your bears?
My bears don't really have a set style. I have found several patterns that I am happy with and they seem to develop as I make each one. I am not really a planner, i prefer to find the material that I like and from this i decide on the size and shape of bear to make.
I'm sure over time my style of bears will develop further. Cute teddy bears will always be my aim though.
Do you have a favourite fabric to use for making your bears?
Well Mohair and Alpaca are my favourite fabrics but these can differ so drastically that I couldn't really say I have one particular fabric I prefer. I like to experiment with different textures and densities which all add to the bears individual characters.
I have also used Feux fur and I must admit I was very happy with the feel of the bear, it was also very easy to work with.
I think I will just keep trying new fabrics and seeing which bear turns up.
If you could give only one tip to someone who is planning on making their first bear what would it be?
Take it slow at first. I tried to go too quickly, being a rather impatient person and i wasted lots of material and time trying to make my bears in double fast time. Now I take my time and make sure that every aspect of my bears is as good as it can be.
More of the "I.T.B.A" collection can be seen and purchased at www.itsthosebearsagain.weebly.com
Hope you enjoyed this first interview with a bear artist. I will be adding new ones to the site all the time, so don't forget to subscribe to our blog to receive updates.
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