Michele Seraphim considers her time in bear making a love story. She's been in love with bears since her childhood, and has been working in fabric since she was old enough to hold a sewing needle.
A winning figurative fabric artist and quilter, she has won competitions in Canada, where she currently resides in Belleville, and internationally.
Michele shares her life with her husband of 10 years and two dogs, an Italian Greyhound and a Pug, along with two Siamese cats.
"As I have no children of my own, through our pets I take pleasure in the joys of motherhood. My husband and I have been together for 10 years and have worked together all day since then. I am married to “my soul mate”. He is not only my husband and best friend but also a large part of my creative world. He often draws pictures for me of what I describe and from there I can see outside of my mind and try to achieve."
Michele fills her days by working in the family wine and beer brewing business and by night, pursues her dreams as an aspiring bear artist.
"No matter the day, no matter how much lifting I've done for the family business, no matter how tired I may be, I am called to my bears and find myself instantly relaxed and at peace," she says.
Michele adds, "Plus, I like to think that all that heavy lifting gives me an excuse to eat chocolate."
Prior to working for her husband's family, she was the head of the hair department for an International film school in Toronto.
"I learned the art of wig making; hooking and styling there and graduated from beauty school in 1986. The skills I acquired in hairdressing have helped me tremendously with scissor sculpting. Scissors are just extensions of my fingers."
Michele also ran a business with her husband for several years sculpting prosthetic monsters and special FX makeup for the film industry.
"The knowledge of three dimensional sculptures was a helpful skill when it came to my art-dolls and taught me a lot about proportion. I have been able to merge all of these skills into my bear making and still I feel most drawn to the traditional vintage, well-loved bears best."
Bear making was a natural transition and possibly an inevitable destination for her.
"I began making bears in 2008, primarily to make “one” bear for my grandmother, Mary, who started her bear making in the 1930’s in a British toy factory and continued to enjoy it for the rest of her life."
"As you have probably guessed, one bear lead to two and two lead to three and the hug is still growing as fast as my fingers and my time will allow. I have taken some online classes, read every bear book I could get my hands on, watched instructional DVD’s and by the end of 2008 started making my own bear patterns; creating a few contemporary patterns for my “melancholy” bears."
During the creation process, there is so much more than just “the bear” that is taken into consideration; the presentation of the adoption is all part of a delightful journey.