Cook's Cubs by Jane S. Cook
I made my first bear from a kit in 1975 and I’ve never really stopped. I have watched the bear market change greatly over the last 28 years. In 1975 I was perhaps one of fifty bear makers in the United States and Europe. Today they are made mainly in Taiwan and China where production costs are lower. Bears have become increasingly available, so the individual bear maker has had to become an artist making designer bears that command very high prices.
I have continued over the years to refine my skills as a bear maker rather than an artist. I lack the design skills of an artist but seem blessed with the ability to bring a piece of fur or fabric to life. It is also pleasing to me to make bears that are affordable and made of materials that are precious to the owner.
That spark of life is most evident in the “I Remember Bears” made from treasured furs and fabrics. It started with one beaver coat and has led to a whole new generation of Cook’s Cubs. These bears strive to create tangible symbols of a lifetime of memories, which is why they are called “I Remember Bears”. My motto is “out of the attic and into your heart” and I create bears from 8 to 28 inches using fur, fabric and sometimes a combination of the two. Recycled furs and fabrics spring to life as bears with a special meaning.
This new medium has given my career as a bear maker new meaning and direction. I feel honored that people trust me to make something special from something that is precious to them. In an ever-changing world, memories are so important. They ground us and give life meaning.
To me a bear is much more than a purchase; it should mean something special to the person who owns it. In today’s increasingly complex world we need something uniquely ours that can bring back and preserve treasured remembrances. My goal is to make memories into tangible creations. Though I have made thousands of bears, I find that the real furs and fabrics have a unique spark of life. The fur dictates what can be done with it and each bear is different which makes for a refreshing change in a mass production world.
Almost weekly a package arrives with fur or fabrics destined to become a Cook’s Cubs “I Remember Bear”. The journey from that first kit to today’s bears has been a long and exciting one. I can’t wait to get back to the next cub coming to life under my fingertips.
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