Bears by Laura Boeck-Singers
With both my parents being very artistic and I an only child, my mother had a crayon in my hand before I could talk. My grandmother had me sewing by hand at an early age of nine and I mastered the sewing machine by eleven. In middle school I was noted for my sewing ability, especially stuffed animals. My high school years were spent in the art area where I excelled in sculpture.
Over 10 years ago, after designing and cutting stencils, I started creating and designing my own bear patterns. I did a number of three-inch bears and put them in a case in my motherís antique store. I was approached to do my first bear show and from there I figured my sizes had to increase. You will be able to view some of my larger fellows on my page. They sure have grown from those first days and I seldom do the little guys anymore.
Shortly there after I started the restoration end of the business. I began fixing and replacing parts on early mohair bears. With my background in antique bears this came to me quite easily and soon dealers were requesting my services. Today I specialize in restoration of old Steiff and Schuco as well as American toy companies. I not only match the color of the repair but the condition of the fabric as close as possible so it does not look like a new patch on an old boo-boo. Most often I have a 6 month wait from time of arrival to completion. Some may take more and some less depending on the type of repair and the work load when your item arrives. Although the majority of my work is early bears and pals I do receive an occasional child's toy. If at all possible I try to fit this item in-between my larger projects so my small customer has a minimal wait time.
I BUY old teddy bears and their pals, I love the family heirloom bears with a story and an old photograph. I am always interested in looking at bears in wonderful condition but will never neglect to purchase something in need of work. If the piece interests me or has usable remnants, it will be a consideration providing the price is in accordance with the damage. You know me I can repair it! But if it's for myself it sits forever in need. My main interest is in early 1900's bears, however I do on occasion purchase up to 1930's and above. I am adding to my collection on a regular basis. What this means is that I will be parting with some of my pieces along the way.
With a full time position as a hairstylist (another area of sculpture) and mother, I fit my bear making into every unoccupied moment of the day. I exhibit at a few shows a year where my husband joins me. I create new items for each show and try to depict a new theme to hold my customers intrigue. As an artist, I create bears, roly-poly's depicting different animals, makedo's with a bear on top, pandas, teddy bear and panda purses (different sizes and shapes), birds (an ever so popular item), hummingbirds, chicks, penguins, bunnies, cats, dogs, hangers with a bear or panda head (in three different sizes adult, child, doll), teddy, doll, and other animal muffs (in different sizes), mohair doll and children's size coats, decorative fruit made of 1920's velvet, custom made fur bears and the favorite of many antique collectors-my hat stand made of 1920's velvet with a bear bird or panda at the base.
Mainly the fabrics used are German Schulte mohair, vintage mohair, and vintage velvet. I do on occasion however, use something else. And I do make custom made fur bears. The vintage fabrics used are characteristic of my style and noted by collectors of my work. These fabrics have an old appeal, as often there is wear associated with the fabric giving it that antique look and feel. The colors in the velvet are original; there is no dying or distressing done just the natural aging process.
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