|As many bear-makers can attest, a mother's love and a handed-down skill of sewing, can make all the difference in a person's life.
Such was the case with Serieta Harrell, who at an early age, was gifted with a mother who was a busy seamstress. "At an early age, my mother peaked my interest in sewing and crafting while she worked from home."
Serieta considered herself a very lucky girl because her mother could look at designer dresses in the stores or in magazines and then re-create them for her and her sister to wear.
As a teenager, Serieta saved her baby sitting money and bought her first Singer sewing machine; learning to create her own style and investigating sewing techniques. It wasn't long before she was sewing up a storm and when her own children came along, she made most of their clothes, stuffed toys and dolls.
After moving to the San Diego, California area in the late 80's, she heard of a job opening for a designer in a small factory. Working up her courage, she applied for the job and was thrilled to design, learn and work there for a year.
It didn't take her long to fall completely and madly in love with teddy bears. "It was exciting and richly rewarding to see how much others loved them also."
Serieta decided to go out on her own and joined a local teddy bear collector's club. This would open up a whole new, exciting world for her.
Living in the Southern California area also gave her a central location from which to drive or fly to many teddy bear shows and special events. She even traveled abroad to places like England, Japan and teaching teddy bear making classes. As a result of entering one of her teddy bears in a contest in Japan, she was awarded a trip to the 1998 XVIII Winter Olympic Games in Nagano, Japan. "This was a cherished memory that I will never be able to top," Serieta recalled.