"I’ve always loved stuffed animals but artist bears went beyond anything
I could have imagined, with hand-painted detailed eyes, shading, amazing fur, and a soulful expressions they looked so alive."
The bears brought back all the nostalgia of her childhood. The auctioning price of the bear brought her back to earth. "The bid price quickly soared far beyond what I could afford to pay at the time. Having only seen teddy bears on shelves in stores, I was not prepared for the bid price that an artist bear could command."
She sank into a momentary depression and her husband took a tough love approach. He suggested that she stop moaning about the one she didn't get and learn to make bears for herself.
"How hard could it be?" she thought.
With her husband's insistence that anything could be learned, Christie set off to create her own bears. If for no other reason than to possibly sell some to afford to buy the bears by the artist she had been so impressed by.
In the following weeks, Christie submerged herself into learning how to make bears, with all the features that she so enjoyed herself.
With teddy bear artists always being the most helpful, friendly and supportive people, she learned how to accomplish all those tasks.
"I’m proud of the way our bear community shares techniques and tricks, helping and urging fledgling artists through the difficult parts, without the proprietary guardedness
I had anticipated from such a talented group.
I think almost all of us are collectors as well as artists. In my opinion, this world could never have enough teddy bears or bear artists."
As luck would have it, Edinburgh Imports was just a stone's throw from where she lived. With so many fabric choices, her education in bear making flourished. With encouragement along the way by family, friends and people in the trade, Christie found her niche.
"Their encouragement made a big difference and helped me progress past the mandatory “first ten uglies” and develop my work into something
I could really love.
I tell anyone starting out that they should give themselves ten ugly bears before they allow themselves to give up on being a bear artist. Because by the time you’ve made ten bears, you will understand how and know why certain steps are taken, and you will start seeing your own style emerge.
I still have my first bear on a shelf, and he keeps me humble."
"If I don’t start to fall in love with a bear I’m creating, I won’t finish it.
When the bear’s face starts to emerge from the fur trimming, I start feeling that familiar tug at my heart and I start to feel a personality emerging from the process. By the time I’ve finished the body, I’m usually head-over-heels in love, and struggling to convince myself to sell the bear.
If I do not experience that struggle around the bear’s completion, I would not feel good about selling the bear.
He has to be good enough that I will feel just a bit sad when I’m packing him up to travel to his new home."
Christie has won several awards and sells her bears on her web site and through Bearpile.
"If I had one wish for my bear making," Christie adds, "it would be that I could bring teddy-bears back to life for other “grown ups”, to help them rekindle that essence of childhood; the part that reminds us that the world is still full of magic and that feeling safe and loved is as easy as squeezing a little bear tightly."
The Peach Peddler Bears
Member since June 2014