Eileen Baird                                                               January 2008

 

Black-eyed Susan

It started with what Eileen Baird considered an accident or just “bad searching skills.”

While searching eBay for a sheepskin coat for her husband, she wandered into the Artist Bear category. “I was hooked from that moment,” Eileen admitted.

Although she had collected Steiff animals since her teens, she’s always made stuffed animals for her children. “I’ve always collected animals, stuffed and live,” Eileen stated.

“My strangest memory is of a beloved toy skunk I named Aroma. It wasn’t until several years later that I woke up one morning and realized that Aroma was actually a raccoon—my first experience of existential shock!”

Blossom

In multicultural, multilingual Toronto, she has often been called “Mrs. Bear,” so Baird’sBears seemed inevitable. She has been in business since 2005, when her first bear was sold in a charity auction.

In 2 years of bear making, Eileen's designed about 12 distinct patterns. “At this point I’ve managed to make only 8 bears each year,” adding that she would like to have more time to create.

“I’ve learned a lot from books, but as soon as I found an online group, I learned even more from a wonderful and generous group of bear artists.”

Eileen revealed that she does everything herself, from first sketch, to pattern, to finishing and clothing. “I’m too selfish to share any part of the process!”

When asked to describe her style of bear making she stated, “A friend describes my style as “unusually life-like,” and I do try for a high degree of realism and ‘soul.’ All I can say is that I’d know one of my creatures if I saw it . . . even if I could not remember making it.”

Selling mostly to adult collectors, male and female, she’s also made a number of child-safe versions for the children of friends and relatives.

 

Snowflake

Pendleton

Eileen is so enthusiastic about bear making that she considers it both a hobby and entertainment. “I’m teaching myself to knit lace, and I’m always on the lookout for interesting bear accessories, such as antique toys, laces and jewelry.”

While working, Eileen often listens to opera or watches a movie.

Having done all kinds of practical and decorative sewing, she is now working with needle-sculpting and feels it has been a great addition to her skills.

“Right now I’m experimenting with contouring heads more accurately by designing patterns of many pieces.”

Randolf Raccoon

Eileen sells her bears and critters mainly online through her web site.

Having lived all over the northeast United States she moved to Toronto many years ago with her husband, a Professor of English Literature at the University of Toronto.

Formerly a teacher of English Literature at Princeton University she still finds time between making bears to tutor high school and university students in essay writing.

“Teaching helps support my mohair habit,” Eileen muses.

Eileen is the mother of three daughters. One is still living at home, one studying for an MBA at MIT and another almost ready to give birth to her first grandchild. Eileen suspects that once the baby is born it will be at the center of all family activities.

We are almost certain her new grand child will have plenty of bears and buds to play with.

Misty

Freckles

Pumpkin

Sterling

Eileen Baird

Baird's Bears
Member since June 2007

 
 
 

 
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