DiBears  ~ Diana Watts 
  May 2007


Butterflies and Pansies

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Miss Holly

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Marie the Pink Lion

Diana Watts has lived in sunny Naples, Florida since 1971, when her father retired from the Navy. “I was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, and have lived all over the country while growing up,” Diana began. “I was not a big fan of moving all the time.

Upon moving here, I have lived here ever since; raising my family here. We love living in Florida!”


“I have been sewing most of my life. Coming from a family of four girls, (my Mom sewed all the time) we all learned how to sew our own clothes. I made most of my prom gowns and party dresses. I really enjoyed the creating part of sewing.” All her sisters enjoy sewing, painting and sculpting too.


Bear collecting caught Diana’s attention about 9 years ago. “I can remember reading about the Schaumburg Teddy Bear show,” she said. “I was so excited about going and seeing all the artists and their bears! I fell in love! Not too long after that, I started taking bear making classes. The Naples Teddy Bear Museum was not far from me

(it has since closed), and artists came to offer classes. I could not get enough!”  She took classes from artists like Steve Schutt, John Renpenning, Denis Shaw, Mac Pohlen, and Diane Gard. “They were all great teachers,” she exclaimed.

Diana has been designing and making bears for seven years now, under her business name of DiBears. “A friend suggested the name and it certainly fits the bill,” she said. Over the years Diana has developed her own style of bear making. “I am mostly known for my fur bears,” Diana said. “I love to work with the mohair too, as it seems so easy after adding backing to fur once, sometimes even twice, because of the thinner fur hides. I especially love dying the mohair different colors, creating more personal colors.” Diana is known for embroidering or enhancing paw pads. Sometimes using needle-point fabric or embroidered ribbons.  “Once I made several bears without the paw pad detailing and even though the collectors loved the work, they wanted my style of embroidered paw pads!”

 

To obtain the right look, Diana spends hours on detailing the bear faces, trimming muzzles, going back and trimming more. “Collectors say they love the expressions and how sweet the bears and bunnies look,” she said. Perhaps those sweet faces come from her living with Persian and Himalayan cats.

“I think my bears have a little of their looks in them too,” she noted.

Being a hairstylist for 30 years, Diana can say, “I honestly love my job and I love making bears. My hair cutting skills and love of sewing kind of go hand in hand in when I am creating,” she said.

“I am constantly changing something on the patterns each time I sew. I make bunnies and lions and am now branching out to creating other animals too. My husband Steve is my biggest fan and is a wonderful helper. He spends time taking the fur coats apart and jointing the bears for me. Steve is well known by the local furrier as we send the coats to be cleaned before work begins,” she said.

 

Steve travels to shows with Diana and collectors now expect to see him as well. “I love having him accompany me, although he ‘lovingly’ refers to himself as the "pack-mule". We have a lot of fun together.” Diana beams.


Participating in the teddy bear shows, meeting the collectors and understanding what they collect only adds to Diana’s “enlightenment.”  She often researches the past sales and discovers what her collectors like, then she chooses colors and goes about making more bears. “My best compliments are really repeat collectors who wait for my return so they pick another bear or animal. That makes my day!”

Shows give Diana the opportunity to meet other artists and keep up with new trends. “I am always looking to add more bears to my collection. You can never have too many!” she exclaims.  “And you never know who you’ll run into at a show." Diana recounted one such an encounter. "Driving all through the night to a Connecticut show, (because of bad weather the flights had been grounded), Steve and I arrived at the hotel at 4 a.m. We had to have our table set up by 7 a.m. We managed somehow, but I looked like I had been up forever! A woman approached my table and I told Steve that I thought she looked like the actress, Mia Farrow. Steve didn’t think she was. The lady looked over the bears, picked one up then asked me to hold it while she looked around the showroom. I started primping the bear and making the bow look perfect. When she returned, she said that I didn't have to worry about the bow; she prefers them naked! She handed me a check, signed Mia Farrow! I was tempted to keep the check and not cash it. Mia was gracious enough to take a photo with me, even with me looking the way I did!

In Diana’s spare time, she loves to cycle, read, and go antiquing. “My favorite activity though, is spending time with my twin granddaughters, Haley & Hannah now 3 1/2 years old. There is nothing that I enjoy more than spending time with my family, but Teddy Bears come in a close second!”

Diana Watts

DiBears

Member since December 2005

Monty the Moose

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Brown Bunny

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Forester
Thistle
Kyra
Joy
Leonardo
Gray Pearl
 

Diana with Haley and Hannah - Double the fun!

   

Steve Watts, Diana's husband

Steve with two of their cats.
   


Diana with her sons Terrell and Bill Boone Jr. on the right.

Bride Heather and Bill Sr. (left)


Haley & Hannah at the wedding
   

American Rose Beauty

Vignette: Of Mice and Men
 
 
 

 
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