I started my working life as a dancer, with a foothold in Musical Theatre, which was hectic but rewarding. I remember I spent more time helping in costume design, behind a sewing machine, or with needle & thread in hand, than I did at dance rehersal. About the same time, I was given the oppurtunity to attend The Royal Academy to study Fine Art, which I jumped at. Pencil drawings, oil paintings & antiquarian techniques became my forte & it was around this time I became interested in Pre-Raphaelite art. Just lending a hand in Costume I gradually developed skills with the needle which I soon developed into a small business in costume/dress design. As a professional artist and designer I also learnt the virtue of patience, a skill that I found to be indespensible in making bears.
My bear making career began one day in 1994, when on the spur of the moment I picked up a bear magazine at a newstand and decided that this was something I could do. Gradually I honed my skills and within a year started selling bears on commission and on consignment. Most of my bears are produced in small numbers so that they retain their one of a kind feel. My inspiration comes from the natural world and the materials that I use. I love haunting antique bazars and fabric shops, looking for just the right item.
Many of my ideas evolve from studying the texture and color of fabric swatches and watching my son - his mannerisms, gestures, moods and the way that he acts. When I make a "Guggums" I try to capture a personality that I see in my mind and translate it into something with character and feeling. As I sit here now, I glance up at an old friend of mine "Talking Teddy" (at least that's what I've always called him) and I find it hard to believe that a gift from an aunt so many years ago could have inspired me so much. Of course he's changed a lot over the years. His fur, which was once gold is now much darker, thanks to many years of baby dribble and hunders of wet kisses. And of course he's suffered a few injuries in days gone by. None the less, he has never lost his cheery smile and the twinkle in his eyes. The growler in his tummy still growls but now days it's my son he makes happy.