A Conversation with Linda Ellen Brown-Trinckes About Making Beariety Bears, Experimenting, Working With New Mediums, and Growing Creatively.Read Now
I have a Teddy Bear Collection so I was drawn to the Beariety Bears Display at IDTS a few weeks ago. I met the creator, Linda Ellen Brown-Trinckes, and had a heart warming conversation with her about making and collecting bears. We continued our talk a few weeks later. She shared with me how she started making and selling teddy bears and what she has planned for the future after attending a doll sculpting class at the IDTS a few weeks ago.
When I visited your booth at IDTS; I loved hearing your story about how you started making Teddy Bears and would love to share it with our readers!
LT: Certain, I'd love to share it!
My son was about 3 or 4 at the time. We were out shopping and he saw a Steiff Bear in a toy store window. My son had a fit because he wanted that bear! I could not afford it at the time so I told him I would make him a teddy bear. I purchased a teddy bear pattern. As I was working on the pattern; I could see that it was not like the teddy bear my son saw in the window. My mom was a very good seamstress and as a child I watched her modify patterns all the time. Just as I had seen my mother do with clothes patterns; I modified the teddy bear pattern.
I was not happy with the first teddy bear I made and I put it in a drawer thinking I would modify the pattern more and make another bear. I did not realize at the time that my son was watching me at work during the entire process.
A few days later, I started a new bear and went to the drawer to get my first bear out for comparison. The bear was gone! I found the bear in my son's bed dressed in his pajama shirt. My son had already adopted and loved that first teddy bear I made.
It sounds like your son got you started. How did you get from there to where you are now with making teddy bears?
eLT: I finished the second teddy bear and kept modifying the bears I made until I got what I considered a good teddy bear. I continued altering patterns and designing and making my own bears.
I exhibited in my first teddy bear show promoted by Linda Mullins. Linda is the author of books about teddy bear artists and teddy bear patterns. She assigned my booth next to Flore Emory a fabulous and famous teddy bear artist. Flore was lovely and her Flore Bears were adorable. Having my booth next to her booth was both intimidating and challenging at the same time. I did not think I would sell anything at the show; but I did. I continued to make teddy bears, exhibit and sell at shows.
In 2000, I took time off from shows and spent the year trying many new and different techniques with bear making. I only exhibited at one show that year It was an International Teddy Bear Show in Honolulu, Hawaii.
I brought all the bears that I had made throughout the year to the show in Hawaii. It was a fabulous experience meeting artists from other countries. They really liked my bears. Because I had spent the year trying new things, making my own designs, and changing and modifying my bears; I did not have one particular identifiable style.
I entered almost every category of competition in the show. Everyone voted for the bear they liked best in each category. I won almost every category. The irony is that I won the "Best in Show" with the last teddy bear I made during the flight to Hawaii for the show.
Passengers would get up to stretch during the long flight. Everyone passing by my seat on the plane watched the teddy bear in progress. When we finally landed; all the passengers needed to see the finished teddy bear before I could disembark.
I named that four inch clown bear "Celebration" because I was celebrating a year of challenging myself to try new techniques with my bears. I sold almost all the teddy bears I brought to that show.
It sounds like you taught yourself to make teddy bears.
LT: I also take classes offered at Teddy Bear and Doll shows. At one time, I belonged to a teddy bear group on line from Germany. We shared information and resources about making and selling teddy bears.
What medium do you like to use to make your teddy bears?
LT: I use the traditional teddy bear joints that are hardboard with cotter pins. I also use Mohair and glass eyes. I stuff my bears with polyester fiberfill and poly beads. I sometimes use lead shot that is a little heavier to aide with positioning and sitting.
I design and make some of the little outfits and also will use vintage baby and doll clothes that I find.
I have also collected Steiff Teddy Bears and other early valuable teddy bears and restored them for myself and others.
As I recall, Celebration was one of your personal favorites. Do you have any other teddy bears that you would say are your favorites?
LT: My teddy bear named Schatzy. In German, Schatzy means treasure or sweet heart. The mohair felt like mink to me and the muzzle was whiter than the brown color of the rest of the bear. His face was so cute... so sweet. He was adopted and I know he is in a loving home.
You sell your teddy bears at shows; do you also sell on line or in shops?
LT: I do sell my paintings and teddy bears in my BearietyBearsandArt Etsy Shop.
My husband, John, is a musician. We formed a duo and have written and recorded music that can be purchased at our website Trinckes Music and Art. You will also find my paintings and teddy bears as well as musical instruments for sale.
I am also getting ready to test selling some bears on Bear Pile.
I understand that you participated in a workshop at IDTS and now have some ideas for future creations. Could you tell us more?
LT: My husband, John and I participated in Jack Johnston's doll sculpting class at the IDTS. Our first doll heads turned out great! We decided we want to start sculpting dolls and make stuffed animals for their companions. I'm thinking about sculpting the head, hands, and feet. The bodies will be made with fabric on an armature and have flexible Joints. I am planning to make the clothing.
I love learning new techniques, working with different mediums, and growing creatively.
Linda's story is heart warming and inspirational for me because I've been experimenting with photography and crochet. Linda is living out the idea of life long learning and growing. Her story is abou giving ourselves permission to experiment, try different mediums, and enjoy the creative journey !
Next week; Beverly Warren talks about how she learned to make her One of a Kind and Limited Edition Dolls and shares her special doll story that tugged at my heart strings.
Jerry and I have been working on over drive recently with business and moving into our new home so last weekend we mixed a little business with some relaxation time. We spent the weekend at the Main Street Inn and attended the International Doll and Teddy Show (IDTS) in Asheville North Carolina. I was so grateful for the peaceful serene setting of the bed and breakfast where we stayed.
The Main Street Inn is located in the small mountain town of Weaverville, North Carolina. Dan, the proprietor, welcomed us and gave us the tour of this Victorian Style home that he and his wife Nancy lovingly restored.
After we checked in, I took a long leisurely bath in the whirlpool tub in our Garden Room Cottage located just off the main house. Every morning we enjoyed a home cooked breakfast on the back porch with a gorgeous view of the mountains, garden, and a variety of birds that went about their morning activities completely oblivious to us humans.
It was so hard to believe we were on the Main Street of Weaverville. The Inn sets back off the road perfectly positioned for a retreat from the hectic work week. It is a quaint little town with shops a short drive to the Biltmore House, walking trails, rafting, the city of Asheville, and more. We had to save some of those activities for another visit because we were on our way to the IDTS show.
We've been wanting to see some of our customers creations and learn about the latest trends in doll and teddy bear eyes, noses and joints. We could not help but be rejuvenated by the creativity, talent, and pure joy we encountered when talking with the artists we met at IDTS. Our friend, David, had just purchased a GoPro Camera and joined us for the day working as our photographer. We met so many artists with fascinating stories about how they started designing and creating dolls. They were ready and willing to share their passion, knowledge, and expertise with us.
Some exhibitors gave us permission to record brief interviews with them and I am looking forward to following up with the artists we met to continue our conversation in upcoming blogs and the newsletter.
Jerry was overjoyed to see Darlene Allen, creator of Raspbeary Bears. We met Darlene many years ago at the IDEX Show in Orlando, Florida. I am enthralled with her Pop Up Puppet Teddy Bears that she showed us during the show. Darlene is an incredibly talented artist. Her Raspbeary Bears are valuable collectibles that have been TOBY Award Winners.
We are back at work now; packing and shipping eyes all over the world. Over the next few weeks; I will be having some follow up conversations with several of the artists we met at the show and sharing their fascinating stories with you on our blog and in future newsletters. Feel free to drop a question about designing and creating dolls in the comments below. We'll consult with one of the experts we met at the IDTS show and share their response