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Bearly

Bears

 

 

Naomi Wivell                                    April 2021

Naomi Wivell is the artist behind Bearly Bears.
She love creating all size bears and bunnies using mohair, alpaca and mini-bear fur from her home in the suburbs.


Naomi, her husband and three active sons; aged 11,
9 and 7 live in south-east Melbourne, Australia

She's been making bears off and on for over 20 years.

"When I started making them in 1996 I lived in Tasmania,
a small island state at the south of mainland Australia".

She started creating small and tiny teddy bears which fit in the palm of her hand which was the foundation for her business name, "'barely' bears.

Since then she adapted the name "Bearly Bears" to include a variety of sizes,
all from her own patterns.

"I sold the miniatures through a couple of tourist gift shops, and slightly larger bears in a beautiful gift shop which stocked all sorts of wonderful hand-crafted items in Launceston, my home town."

One Christmas Naomi received two teddy bear making kits. One was a small button-and-thread- jointed bear, the other a larger faux fur bear by Alicia Merrett.
She was a quite popular bear maker then.

"I loved making them and purchased fur and other supplies to make the other size bears in the accompanying pattern and instruction book."

Dorothy, Naomi's grandmother, enjoyed learning to make bears, especially with her local craft group. "We compared patterns and bears."

"My grandmother’s bears were mostly made with faux fur and over 30cm tall but she often used to recycle old fur coats and stoles from friends and relatives. They would receive a bear for themselves and she would sell the other bear to cover her costs or keep the ones she fell in love with! Each of her grand-children and great-grandchildren have since received a bear over the years.

Sonny


Sophia


TaiShan


Blossom


 

Stan


                 Aster


                 MeiLan


Chloe


A large part of the '90's Naomi spent living and working overseas. She let her bear making lapse. She never lost interest, even drag her boyfriend (now husband!) to a few teddy bear shows in England, "much to his amusement!"

Naomi attempted to restart her bear business several times but with full time work as a corporate receptionist, then a new baby, followed by part-time work and two more babies, she found very little time.

While juggling her family responsibilities, she worked on a big pattern which then became her signature bear and is now her logo.

"I work alone and have now been making bears and buds in a full-time capacity since late 2016. I have developed further patters in a variety of sizes, including pandas, polar bears and bunnies. My next work in progress is a dragon/dinosaur at the request of my youngest son who adores both!

Her bear patterns are based on traditional, older style bears and often features a prominent back, longer arms, a longer snout and larger feet. Each bear is unique while clearly belonging to the same family. "I work mostly with alpaca and mohair fur for my larger bears, and I tend to leave them bare rather then dressed. They are nearly always ‘boy’ bears, apart from my miniature ballerina range which I simply adore making."

Naomi has a web site featuring her latest bears, and connecting with other bear hosting sites.

"While I am happy for my bears and buds to be adopted online, I thoroughly enjoy attending doll and bear shows where I can meet my collectors. Seeing the instant moment they find a creation that they must have, brings me great joy!"

As times change there are less shows across Australia, and many temporarily halted because of the pandemic.
"Hopefully it won’t be too long until we can all meet again in person, but until then, thank goodness for online groups and online shopping!"

Naomi had not entered competitions over the years, and "I finally plucked up the courage to enter four bears in the Albury Wodonga Doll & Bear Show! I won four First Place Awards."

"I absolutely love what I do and can’t imagine ever not making bears. I have so many ideas for future creations floating around in my head I wish there were more hours in a day!" We know the feeling Naomi!

 

Naomi Wivell

Bearly Bears

 

Dawson

 

 

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Where is Melbourne Australia?

 

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