Online, Monthly Teddy Bear Magazine

Sew Many Bears ...

Sew Little Time!


Part 2

Part One arrow at the bottom

Terry & Doris Michaud                                                      August 2012
How it all began . . .

In a conversation with a long time bear maker, Valerie was struck by the comment that, in the course of crafting bears, the artist estimated they had produced in excess of 15,000 teddy bears!

Valerie then suggested to me that it would be a fun article to have teddy bear artists, from around the world, share their stories of when they started, how many bears they have made, and what they are producing today.

A notice was sent out to teddy bear artists asking for their participation, and requesting photos of their first bear and a more recent one.

We accepted the challenge to organize the feature and are pleased to say that we have had a great response to the project.

We suspect as time goes on, additional participants will come forward, giving us the opportunity to share more stories. What about you? If you would like to add your story, send it along with your photos to and we will proceed with additional stories as they come in.

Diana Watts - DiBears

Diana crafted her very first teddy bear 12 years ago in a class in Naples, and she says “From then on, I was hooked!” Sound familiar?

Some 850 bears have since been designed and crafted by this intrepid artist over the past 12 years. Watts uses both recycled fur and mohair in her designs, and her work is not limited to bears, as bunnies and lions are popular with her collectors. Diana tells us that she loves her work, coming up with new ideas, going to shows and meeting with collectors. “I hope to continue doing this for

a long time!” she proclaimed.

Diana’s first teddy crafted in a bear class 12 years ago.

Diana Watts


Member since December 2005

A recent DiBear design – a blue

and tan Panda.

Marion Fraile - Bearkidz

Marion has been designing and crafting bears for over 10 years now, and during that time she estimates she has made about 500 bears, ranging in size from 2.5 inches to 18 inches.  Fraile got started on a unique approach when she experimented with a novelty yarn called “eyelash yarn.”  Once knitted or crocheted it became “fur-like”, so Marion worked it into her bear designs with great results.    You can expect the unexpected with charming results if it is a Bearkidz teddy.

One of Marion's earlier bears is 3.5 inches tall and crafted with eyelash yarn.

Marion Fraile

Member since March 2005

Newest bear "Happy" is a Bearkidz design with felted face with an open mouth and shiny black glass nose! 

Yolanda Levy - YoYo Bears

Yolanda has been a teddy bear artist for the past 18 years, and she has made and sold over 1,000 teddies to collectors around the world over the course of her work. She initially made a simple traditional teddy bear, but her designs have evolved into what she describes as "quirky and unusual".  She loves teddy bears that make her smile or laugh when she sees, touches or holds them, always striving for that one-of-a-kind whimsical look. To create one-of-a-kind designs, Yolanda uses different types of textured fabrics, textiles and utilizes advanced techniques that her collectors will cherish. 

The very first mohair bear that Yolanda created was a little 7" bear called Pee Wee

Yolanda Levy

YoYo Bears

Member Since May 2012

One of her whimsical bears she made recently called Ozello.

Candi Taylor - Candi Bears

The year was 1994 when teddy bear artist Candi Taylor made her first teddy bear. She and a friend found a pattern in a magazine and they crafted a charming teddy in a bunny costume. Since that first bear, Candi has gone on to design and create realistic looking bears and wildlife; nearly 2,100 animals in all! Candi states that her ideas are limitless and much of her work now combines a variety of fabrics along with needle felting. She is always pleased when smiles accompany comments on her work. 

Candi’s very first bear, crafted in 1994.

Candice Taylor

Candi Bears

Member since June 2012

A recent Russian Dancing Bear

by Candi Bears


Bobbie Ripperger Creative  Design  Studio

When asked how many teddy bears she has produced since she began in 1990, Bobbie Ripperger  confessed “Unfortunately I’m one of those disorganized ones who never kept count.  I couldn’t even estimate.”    She also admitted that her very first attempt at bear making was to craft a pink teddy bear head which she never finished.   She keeps it by her computer  as a daily reminder of where she came from, the progress she has made, the places it has taken her to, and most importantly -  the friends she has made.

Bobbie is a fiber and textile artist, specializing in miniature bears.  She began learning needle arts by knitting at age 5, holding to the value of her Mother’s and Grandmother’s insistence that “it has to look as good on the inside as it does on the outside.    Since 1994 this busy lady has taught classes around the world, and found time to write a book on designing miniature teddy bears.    Ripperger says her day is not complete without some reading, some felting, a bit of gardening and a nap!

Bobbie's first bear head in Pink completed about 2 years ago.


Right is a needle felted piece she made recently.

Bobbie Ripperger

Creative Design Studio

Member Since May 2005


Claudia Schlue - Minkitzbaeren

Claudia lives with her husband and 5 cats in Northern Germany near Bremen.  She started her teddy bear work in December of 1999, and over the course of the past 13 ½ years she has sewn nearly 600 bears, all of her own design. 

Initially she made bigger bears, but in 2003 she decided to specialize in miniature teddies, which she creates with exacting detail. Claudia uses high quality materials, including sheep wool for stuffing. To give them a little more weight she also includes some glass or stainless steel granulate. Schlue continues to try new techniques to strive toward perfection. 

Claudia's first bear

Claudia's latest creations.

Claudia Schlue
Member since June 2012

KAY  COOPER - Cooper  Bears

While Kay has been making teddy bears for the past 20 years, she tells us that she only started to market and sell them properly this year.    She has been making cloth dolls for about 12 years, but studied bear making over the years by attending classes with a number of bear artists, then worked on perfecting  her own style.   She tells us that Cooper Bears has been a dream come true,  “I love making bears -  it’s my happy place and keeps me sane” Kay said. 

Cooper has crafted in the range of 100 bears and dragons, of which approximately 50 have been Cooper Bears.  She works with 15 different patterns she has created . 

Nelson was Kay's first bear

Kay said her latest bear is actually a  dragon named George, but he is quite safe because he cannot breath fire.  The fairies keep feeding him ice cream!

Kay Lesley Cooper

Cooper Bears

Member since June 2012

This is but a brief glimpse into the incredible Teddy Bear artistry among our members. When additional information is received we will organize yet another profile of some of the most talented teddy bear designers and makers from around the world.      Stay tuned!

PART ONE Features:

The Michauds - Margaret Jackson - Mary Wimberley - Cindy McGuire

Annalisa Taddei - Michele Seraphim


Want to be included?  Please submit your information and photos of your first bear and the latest one, to us as soon as possible.  We need to know when you started, how many bears you have made to date, and a brief background (300 words or less) of what you are doing today. Nominal fee is charged for non-members to be featured in these articles.

 Join the parade, because there are

 "Sew Many Bears - - - Sew Little Time."


Collectors, one year subscription to Bears&Buds is just $15.00 and you'll receive a password to enter the Collectors' pages.

Artists, become a Member of Bears&Buds today! Advertise FREE! Password will take you to the B2B section loaded with selling, making and how-to ideas.


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