SERVICE & QUALITY
ARE OUR PRIORITIES
IN HOME OR
20% OFF RETAIL
Mastercard, Visa &
Plaza - 357-2030
11 ■ 74 II M111112 III MIL II ■ 71 1111 MI I I In I I I I 6.
esigner teddy bears have
become hot collectibles,
with teddies by well known
artists fetching as much as
These charming bruins lack age,
according to a recent article in
Country Living magazine, but they
do possess attributes associated with
antiques, such as rarity, originality
and name value.
Although bear artists have been
at work for more than a dozen years,
the general public has only recent-
ly discovered handcrafted teddies.
attracts craftsmen and artists from
around the country.
Early production in the
mid-1970s was uneven because
many bearmakers lacked aesthetic
training experience with old teddies.
Also, supplies such as mohair, glass
eyes and body joints were scarce.
By 1985, public demand had ex-
ploded. Quality and quantity im-
proved, as did bearmaking supplies
and the American Teddy Bear Ar-
tists guild was formed.
A recognizable personal style
distinguishes top bear artists. A
bear reveals its maker's "signature"
through details such as the way a
nose is stitched or eyes are set. Some
people even claim that an artist-
made bear resembles its creator.
These innovators make whim-
sical, outrageous moves, trying new
concepts and fabrics and using in-
spiration from the past in unex-
pected, off-beat ways.
Bear artists eschew reproduction
work and usually produce limited
editions or one-of-a-kind designs.
The most desirable bears are
"all-original" — designed and made
entirely by the artist. Fresh con-
cepts, flair and fine workmanship
set them apart from the crowd.
employ others — often family
members — to execute part or all of
the construction work. Some artists
have time only to do the design work
and perhaps finish the heads — the
most important part because a
bear's expression reveals its "soul."
Reputable designers mark such
work "designed by" if they did not
Some artists design for commer-
cial firms, which turn out handmade
teds, sometimes in limited numbers,
often under cottage industry condi-
tions. In many ways, these bears are
no different from artist-designed
bears except they cost a lot less.
Bears can be bought in gift,
specialty and toy shops. Some stores
specialize in artist-designed teddies.
A knowledgeable owner can recom-
mend favorite artists, books and
magazines (there are three teddy
magazines) and take special orders.
Bear conventions, rallies and
sales provide a chance to interact
with bearmakers and arctophiles
Teddies can cost from less than
$100 up to $2,000, so take care when
buying one. Judging a bear's resale
value is difficult because most col-
lectors buy for keeps. Demand exists
for well known artists such as Cap-
pi Warnick, who no longer makes
bears. well? They should appear to
grow out of the head. Are the seams
finished with no thread showing? Is
the fur brushed away from the seam
The bear's design should be ex-
cellent and original. It should have
a wonderful face. Is it signed? What
fabric does it wear? Materials vary
from quilts, gingham and calico. fl
uying antiques is a lot like
gourmet cooking — it's
easier than many people
According to Country Home
knowledge and a little practice is all
that is needed. For best results,
follow this advice from Stephen
Roedler, director of the Manhattan
Arts & Antiques Center, the oldest
and largest antiques collective in
Specialize. Concentrate on a
single period or genre.
Socialize. Join historical
societies or clubs to meet like-