|There's a mystical breeze blowing through Scotland and it seems to be the stir that Anne Russell, of Starlite Bears, is causing with her fantasy creations.
Residing in Renfrow, Scotland with her partner John, Anne started her journey into bear making while being a finalist in a doll house competition. "The show for the awards was in Alexandra Palace in London, where there was a bear fair," she recalled. "Never in my life had I seen bears like those being exhibited."
Dazzled by what she had seen, anne found a miniature bear kit to try. Upon completion of the bear, "I thought the bear I produced was great, but now looking back it was a poor little mite!"
From there on, she bought some magazines, tried out the patterns, then got adventurous and bought some mini-bear fabric and some mohair.
"The bears were beginning to improve, so I gained a bit confidence, bought a bear making book and after about a year started working on my own patterns."
With other artists to inspire her, Anne's work constantly improved. "I think it was largely due to a willingness to try new things, like needle sculpted toes!" she postulated.
During the period between 2001 and 2004, Starlite Bears was born. Anne did two shows regularly in Central Scotland. John made her a sign and display stand for the shows and shuttled her back and forth. Her daughter, Collina, designed her logo while adding her support and bringing Anne's granddaughter, Julianne along to the shows as well. Her son, Paul would stop by when his work allowed.
In 2004, Anne started putting her bears on eBay. "Although it takes some time to build up a reputation, I am privileged now to have a few collectors who seek out my bears from time to time during the year," Anne said.