The Original Online Teddy Bear Magazine
DJ McCloskey                               July - August 2019
 

 

 

Like most teddy bear artists, DJ McClosky, of Tiny Toes & Bear Paws, fell into teddy bear making almost by accident.

She began by making porcelain dolls, inspired by her mother, who was a doll collector, bought her many dolls throughout her childhood.

DJ made dolls part time while working as a paralegal and make-up artist in the film industry. When she finally retired, she began a new career fueled by the passion of designing and creating one-of-a-kind bears, lifelike dogs and lifelike newborn and toddler dolls, adding, "My training in makeup has been quite frequently used in my creations."

After ten years of creating dolls, a girlfriend, who was a very well known bear artist in the 80's and 90's challenged her to make a bear.

"I took the challenge. She gave me some faux fur, joints, eyes and a store bought pattern. When I finished making the bear, she offered me $100 for it!"

DJ made a few more bears and took one to a show that her friend was attending, to get approval on the face. "I hadn't even closed up the back or limbs. Stuffing was falling out." As fate would have it, a woman came up to her and asked where she got it. "I said that I was learning to make bears. She said she owned a shop on Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles and asked if I would make her three of them so that she could put them in her shop." So she did.

A week went by and the shop owner called DJ asking, "Do you know who just bought your bear?" When DJ replied "No," she said, "The King of Pop...Michael Jackson!"

 

DJ couldn't believe it. And that gave her the incentive to continue on with bear making.

 

 

When she and her husband moved their family from southern California to Denver 12 years ago, she met another teddy bear artists who only lived a few miles from her.

"I have taken numerous lessons from her and learned to sculpt and detail my bears," and because of the level of transformation on her bears, she decided to create a whole new design and lines of bears in Colorado.

In 2014, one of her customers asked if she could design a pair of dogs to look like pets belonging to her parents.

"I told her I had not created dogs before but would love to give it a try. They were two miniature Schnauzers. Then a co-worker asked her to make a dog for her mother for Christmas to look like one she'd recently lost, followed by another customer who asked her to design a keepsake dog she'd lost and had never been able to find a stuffed one that had looked like her dog did. And so a new branch of designs began. "The whole process just makes happy tears flow for everyone."

DJ has been asked to design and create cats but hasn't undertaken that venture yet. When asked if she will, she replied, "Maybe after the 2019 holidays, I might start."

Is it too early to start holiday shopping? We ask.

 

 

DJ McCloskey

Tiny Toes and Bear Paws

Member since June 2019

 

 

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