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Meet Carolyn Green of Draffin BearsMeet our January Artist: Carolyn Green of Draffin Bears. Each 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?
The birth of our daughter Victoria in 1989 and son Marcel in 1991 inspired me to start making bears for my children. I wanted to give both of them something special. Looking at the mass produced bears available, I felt that these lacked the life and personality of a handmade bear. I decided to make my own bears, and thus in 1992, Draffin Bears was born.
Describe your style of bears and/or animals you make.
Draffin Bears are of a traditional style and follow an old fashioned theme, as of yesteryear. Typically the bears are dressed as gentleman or ladies.
They are made from the finest mohair or sometimes alpaca and their clothes are fashioned from the finest quality cloth and sometimes I will accessorize them with rare and antique items and beautiful hats adorned with flowers.
Where do you live and where are you originally from?
I live in New Zealand on a small Island called Waiheke, located about 18 miles off the coast of the North Island. It is a beautiful subtropical Island with about 8,000 full time residents.
I grew up in a small town called Dannevirke, where many Danish people immigrated to and was a great place to live and grow up and go to school there.
What inspires you?
I have always admired the beautiful vintage bears that have been around for over 100 years in some cases and they still look beautiful albeit a little loved and worn. I think that they have inspired me to give my creations an old fashioned theme.
What is your favorite part of bear making?
I particularly enjoy the stage when the bears eyes are sewn in and they look back at you and seem to come alive.
How did you choose your business name?
I chose Draffin Bears as that is my maiden name and my married name was Green, but that really did not sound right.
Do you have any other hobbies besides bear making?
I used to make porcelain dolls and still have a collection in a cabinet and I used to make some of my clothes from about the age of 15. I also love to embroider, knit, do hardanger and cross stitch and have just recently finished a cross stitch of two bears enjoying afternoon tea.
Do you have any children and/or pets?
We have a daughter Victoria 18 and son Marcel 16 - teenagers! An interesting stage of life! They are both beautiful and most of the time are a lot of fun.
We have a giant Schnauzer named Heidi and a sealpoint Persian cat called Louis.
What are you most proud of?
I have donated 5 bears to the Waiheke Homecare Hospice and a big Sailor bear called George to the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation for the Bentley Glamour Gala.
I enjoy hearing from collectors when they have adopted a bear and have made many friends this way.
I made my Mother a Scottish bear Hamish and he had a little Scotch terrier to accompany him and she really loves them and has them sitting on their bed.
Where do you sell your bears?
I sell my bears from my web-site www.draffinbears.com and lately I have had a market which is held the last Sunday of the month at the Stamford Plaza Hotel in the ballroom. It has been a lot of fun and I have met some really lovely people and sold some of my bears there.
Draffin Bears on Teddy-Bears.org