For the first installment of the handmade teddy bears spotlight artisan series, we have Kelly of Blond Heart.
Do you have a favorite style of teddy bear?
There are so many wonderful bears in the world, and I have many styles in my collection. But I am most drawn to traditional bears that have that well loved look. That's why I make what I do, I like to re-create memories of a childhood past or simply wished for.
Do you have a favorite medium/texture/plush you like working with? Is there anything you eventually want to get in to and master - whether dealing with teddy bears or any other artistic endeavor?
For the most part I only work with mohair or occasionally alpaca. I also make a very rare - once in a blue moon rare - miniature from another fabric.
What kinds of other artistic projects do you like to work on?
Making bears and animals is my first love, but I do know how to paint and sculpt, so I will indulge myself once in a while. I also like to make jewelry and whatever other little curiosities strikes my fancy. I think it's important to mix it up once in a while and sometimes incorporate those things into the bears too. I also like making graphics and changing my website design.
What do you like to do in your spare time when you're not creating art?
Spare time? I vaguely remember spare time.
How long have you been making bears?
This is my 30th year!
When did you first start selling your handmade bears? What inspired you to do so?
I sold the third bear I made, it was kind of an accident. Someone saw it and asked if I would make some for their shop, and I have been in business ever since.
What style do you decorate your home in?
Is eclectic eccentric a style? I like antiques with a history and pieces that have a story to tell. I have a lot of artist made pieces as well. I like to support the community as a whole, not just other bear artists.
Were you artistic as a child?
Yes I was, I started painting when I was three. I was lucky to have a Grandmother who encouraged that.
Did you like teddy bears as a child? If not, when did your love for teddy bears begin?
I did like them. I didn't have a lot of toys as a child, but my two favorites were teddy bears handed down from my Father. I was an only child and very careful with my things so I still have them and they are in excellent condition.
Did anyone inspire you as a child or when you were starting to become artistic?
Yes as I said before my Grandmother. It was her fondest wish that I could become a working artist, and here I am! But I probably would have even without encouragement. It's just what I was born to do.
Was there a point when you realized "Wow, I'm an artist/artisan!"
A good friend taught me to embrace myself as an artist about 15 years ago. I am not sure I really knew how to do that until I met her.
Confession time: What does your craft room/studio really look like? Is it organized?
I have a specific work room, but really the entire lower floor of our house to work in. My husband calls it my apartment. It's an odd combination of organized and messy. I love the work room, I fresco painted it a few years ago and it's really warm and inviting in there.
I know where every single thing I own is. But there are definitely some spots that I can never seem to keep tidy, like the big steamer trunk I use as a coffee table/work table and my computer desk.
Please list the urls to your blog(s) and shop(s).
Blond Heart Blog
Blond Heart Website
3 weeks ago