Original Online Teddy Bear Magazine

December 2015                               Linda Joan Chiasson

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"Ironically, I never owned a teddy bear in my life prior to bear making," Linda Joan Chiasson of Bear in Mind Collectibles confided.

It's hard to believe that someone who brings such beautiful creations to life hadn't always been surrounded by teddy bears.

In the fall of 1998, Linda Joan was visiting a local marketplace in her hometown of Dieppe, New Brunswick, Canada; a small province bordering the Atlantic Ocean in eastern Canada. It was in the marketplace that brown fur bear captured her attention.

"I couldn't get it out of my mind. A month or so later, I went back to visit the store a second time and the fur bear was still there.
I decided then and there that
I should make my own bear."

Having had a lifetime of sewing experience, Linda Joan wasn't afraid to venture forth.

She'd grown up with the sewing tutelage of her mother and grandmother; making her own doll clothes, prom dresses, draperies and reupholstering.

After purchasing a bear making book, she found a curly brown and black Mongolian fur hat, at a thrift shop and in March 1999, her first tiny teddy bear was born.

Linda Joan decided to use fur because her area of Canada, known as the "snow capital of Canada," with its long, cold winters, had a booming fur industry during a popular era, therefore there was an abundance of older fur garments to repurpose.

She wouldn't have to buy new fur or pelts in order to make the bears from natural fur.

 

"It is my belief that using the fur from vintage garments is a wonderful way to pay homage to the creatures used to make the garments."

Since specializing in real fur, Linda Joan has learned of its many challenges.

"It is not as a forgiving medium as faux fur or mohair. The resulting bears and bunnies seem to take on a life of their own." She also uses real leather in the details to create the little bear paws with the five little toes, needle sculpted  faces and shaded for depth.

 

It's these features that give her bears the trademark "Linda Joan" look.

Linda Joan goes to painstaking lengths to make sure all her collectibles are well built, durable and intended to last a lifetime.

 

She creates each one by herself, down to the hardboard discs which she cuts from a drill press for the slightly wobbly head.

 

The fur is selected from vintage pieces and care is taken to make sure that the colors and fur lengths match. Each piece of fur cut for the bear is lined to prevent tearing and to ensure the bear's longevity.

 

With such attention to detail, Linda Joan produces roughly two creations each month.

Selling mostly through eBay, she does occasionally do commission work and charitable donations.

Linda Joan is an award winning artist with several international awards including the URSA Awards.

Retired now from 36 years of service with a local municipality, Linda Joan realized a dream.

"When I got hooked on bear making, I would think ahead and considered that I might work bear making into my retirement plan down the road."

"All in all, it's been a pretty rewarding job to work in the teddy bear industry.

I’ve met so many wonderful people over the years, both bear makers and collectors alike, and I have made some special friendships.

 

I get to work from my home which for me is a bonus, I work my own hours and I get to do what I love most: sewing and being creative," she remarked adding," It doesn’t get much better than that."

 

 

Linda Joan Chiasson
Bear in Mind Collectibles

Member since Sept. 2015

 

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Learn more . . .

 

Where is Dieppe,

New Brunswick

Canada?

 

Click on the map  >>>

 




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