Friday, January 23, 2009

Imperfections (Part I)

Going To The Christmas Store 1989

I was going through some of my older teddy bear pictures a few weeks ago. As I looked at picture after picture of all of these bears I have created, I began to realize something important…….to me anyway.


In the past, I have judged myself fiercely as far as my “art” goes and the bears that I have created. You see, I don’t think I’m all that talented in the world of teddy bear artists. I guess that's blunt honesty.. However, the weird thing about all this is that I can’t quit making teddy bears. No matter how good or not good, talented or not talented I am, I can’t quit. I started a shop when I had no skill. Just a lot of heart and faith and energy. And I sold bears. I didn’t get rich, but I sold bears.

Hazel 1989

As I was pondering the pictures of the bears the other night, it was weird. They are all precious, in their own particular way. I mean, they all have personalities, they all have a part of me, they all have a story all of their own. I am beginning to see the reality of my teddy bear heart. The reality of this whole episode.


Oh, I strive to get better. I read teddy bear books and I learn the skills and techniques (see my post on “Facelifts”). Sometimes, however, I am in such a hurry to meet who I am making, that I just rush through the project. Most times I’m pleased ….. sometimes I’m not.


Some of the bears that stole my heart in the early years, I look at and think… how could that be? I mean they’re a little rough around the edges... crooked eyes, an imperfect nose, funny looking ears. I remember when I finished Rafferty...... I started to cry, when I looked at his little face. Something inside of me was just moved to tears.  

Rafferty 1990

One day I went in to get my mail, and inside of my mailbox was a copy of Teddy Bear Review with a note attached from the postmaster that said, “arrived with no address.” I had never seen the magazine before.


I loved the magazine! And the artist teddy bears were simply awesome. But frankly, I had a hard time looking at pictures of the bears created by other artists. My bears just didn’t measure up. I was so afraid I would become discouraged, and not create any more bears, that I didn’t always read the magazine. Although I subscribed to the magazine right away, I would receive my magazine, flip through it and put it away. I knew I would never be as talented as the other bear artists and it freaked me out to compare my bears with the bears in the magazine.

Wilbur 1990

I may or may not ever be as skilled or talented as some of the other teddy bear artists, and that’s not the point. I know I keep trying to improve my skill. The fact of the matter is, I can’t quit, even if I want to. I tried closing my business a number of times our of sheer frustration. However, when I don’t make bears, something huge is missing from my life. And I have no choice, but to start up again and continue on this endless mission of making teddy bears.


I think the point I'm getting to is that teddy bears are like people. We aren’t all movie stars or spiritual masters; we have our bumps and bruises and good points and bad points and the deal is, we are all lovable.

Wilton 1990

So, with this all in mind, Iwill give it a rest for today. Stay tuned for Part II. 

And many thanks !

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