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Meet Carol Miller of The Teddy Bear MakerMeet our August/September Artist: Carol Miller of The Teddy Bear Maker. Every other month, we'll bring you an interview with someone in the bear world. Enjoy!
When did you start making bears and what inspired you to design your own?
I started making bears in 1996 when I took a class being taught by Steve Schutt. After that first bear I was hooked and I continued to make other peoples patterns until 1998 when I took a design class from Steve because I wanted to create my own patterns from my vision and my own drawings. I knew I was getting it when my finished bears looked like my drawings.
Describe your style of bears and/or animals you make.
My bears have been described as "bears that speak to your heart" and many times when people pick them up they say they look like they might talk so I kept the tag line for my cards and hang tags.
Where do you live and where are you originally from?
I live in West Palm Beach Florida and was born and raised in Miami Florida. Yes, I am a native.
What inspires you?
Many things inspire me. Sometimes it is a piece of fabric, an antique lace collar, an old toy, a movie, and my dreams where I see bears that I want to make. Making bears is one of the best things I have ever done and has been a life changing experience for me.
What is your favorite part of bear making?
My Favorite part of bear making is when I don't have a deadline and can take my time. I enjoy the entire process especially looking at the finished bear for a while but until I choose a name and accessories it is not truly finished. They start to take on personality when the face is complete and sometimes I know their name at that point. I usually tilt their heads to one side and I think that is what makes them look as if they might speak sort of like puppies when they look at you with their heads tilted. I also love finding unusual fabrics to work with such as tapestry.
How did you choose your business name?
I agonized over a name for quite awhile and it came to me after watching an old Jane Fonda movie called "The Doll Maker" that I would just be "The Teddy Bear Maker"it was generic enough and keeps the focus on the bears and what I do instead of who I am each bear has a little bit of me anyway.
Do you have any other hobbies besides bear making?
Quilting is my other big hobby. I also Paint and draw but mostly bear or quilt patterns lately. I would love to write some teddy bear books and illustrate them myself one day. I hand applique tea towels and pillows with bears on them and sell them along with my bears and teddy bear size quilts. I also make Memory bears from clothing of someones loved one for keepsakes.
Do you have any children and/or pets?
I have a grown son who thinks I am a bit eccentric because of all my bears that live with me but he is happy that I am happy. I think his biggest fear is that my new granddaughter will like bears as much as grandma bear.
What are you most proud of?
I take pride in my work and am grateful god gave me the ability to create beautiful things including my bears. I try not to be too prideful though because I hear my grandmother in my head saying pride goeth before a fall.
Where do you sell your bears?
I sell my bears mostly word of mouth, work, shows and an Annual Teddy Bear Tea with my best bear making friends. I hope to do more shows in the future and eventually a web site.
The Teddy Bear Maker
The Teddy Bear Maker on Teddy-Bears.org