As luck would have it, a happy accident lead Carrie Wilmot of Handmade by Carrie to her new passion.
"One day while on Etsy's web site,
I came across artist teddy bears and was amazed. When I saw these handmade bears, I couldn't believe how beautiful bears could be," she recalled.
Carrie already had an affinity for sewing and collecting. "I've always been crafty; hand sewing, making jewelry, etc." Luckily she'd received her first sewing machine a year and a half before and taught her self how to use it.
She started off making purses and totes, but once she was inspired towards teddy bear making, there was no stopping her.
Her mother collected Steiff and Boyds bears for as long as she could remember, so Carrie already had knowledge about manufactured collector bears from her. But after seeing and experiencing artist bears, Carrie purchased her first pattern and had a go at it.
"I sewed the whole thing by hand because I thought there was no way
I could do it on a sewing machine." And although the bear turned out okay by her standard, Carrie felt she definitely had a lot more to learn.
She researched other bear making sources to get advice on patterns. After a year and about 15 bears later, she began to develop her own style.
"I also learned how to sew most of the bear on the sewing machine. I've learned so many techniques by trial and error and still feel I have so much more I could learn."
As a stay-at-home mom living in Tallmadge, Ohio, Carrie found time between caring for her husband and two daughters, to start her own bear business.
Drawing on her love for 'girly' things and traditional bears, she discovered that most of the bears she creates are girls.
"I can only think of two boy bears that I have made." That's because she loves the look of the big beautiful eyes and she adds ribbons, bows, and blankets which usually give it a "girly" feel.
Selling her bears on Bearpile, from her web site, online auction sites and online shows, Carrie is carving out her place in the teddy bear industry. What she most looks forward to is being able to do 'in-person' bear shows and dreams of being a well known bear artist.
"I would love to teach as well. Nothing could be better than teaching someone with a passion for bear making all the tricks and techniques
I have learned."
Carrie Lee Wilmot
Handmade by Carrie
Member since August 2012