|Making bears, though, was never intended to be a business but simply a hobby. She already had a full-time business, freelancing as a certified legal assistant for attorneys and law firms.
But the pull of teddy bears was so strong.
"I loved the idea of making bears for people who had inherited their mother’s fur coat, and who wanted to keep something that would be an heirloom. Many even had their own children who wanted a remembrance of their grandmother." With this great idea in mind “Heir Bears” was born!
"One of my first orders was for a bear to be made from a black seal coat that the customer’s mother had worn to FDR’s inauguration. The coat was about 75 years old and not very easy to work with. I was reconsidering my idea to make heirloom bears! But a few bears later, and after hearing a few sentimental tear-jerking stories (with me crying right along with the customer), I decided to stick with it."
Jane kept making bears and began to participate in a few local bear shows. After juggling a full-time job and bear making for about 10 years, she finally decided it was time to retire from her "day job" and devote more time to being a teddy bear artist.
She began traveling to shows and enjoyed traveling all over the USA.
Jane was soon exhibiting in over 25 live and online shows a year, but found that to be too much. "I have now become more selective about the shows I participate in."
Jane currently makes between 75-100 bears and other critters a year.
Her favorite material to create with is the recycled natural fur. "Being an animal lover, when I thought about using fur coats that are being discarded because it is no longer politically correct to wear them, it was a no-brainer. This is a way of respecting the lives of the animals that were taken to make the coats, and helping the environment by keeping the fur coats out of the landfills," she said adding, "The beautiful shades in coyote, fox, raccoon and even lynx fur does not need airbrushing or enhancement, and the softness of lynx or sheared beaver cannot be duplicated."
Recently, for more variety, she has been using some faux fur and mohair, even along with recycled denim and wool fabrics.
Although the teddy bear business keeps her pretty busy, she still finds time to enjoy being in a small local teddy bear club, going thrift store shopping, looking for antiques, movies, and occasionally even going to the beach.
"I treasure the friendships I have made in this business, with fellow artists and with customers. They come from all corners of the U.S.A., Canada, England, Australia and even Japan. Many I have met in person but some I only know from the online shows. Bear making has definitely been an adventure and I am enjoying every minute of it!"
Member since June 2013