Anne Russell                                      March 2008                 
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.

Fire Wizard

Silver Fairy

Tea Fairy

Snowy Faerie

Bear making is also a juggling act with Anne's full-time work as a Senior Lecturer on computing in an FE college in Glasgow. Anne uses her web site to reach collectors. She often obtains occasional special commissions through colleagues or when birthdays, weddings, christenings or communions pop up. John helps her immensely by taking care of the postal mailings to make sure that adopted pieces reach their destination as soon as possible.

With patterns, Anne tends to work with many variations on the same basic size; changing elements and seeing how they work together. She particularly likes to try out new fabric and accessories.

"I create each little character totally myself, from design through sewing and completion, though most weeks, only one or two bears fits around the other commitments of my job," she stated.

When asked what she thought distinguished her bears apart from other artists, Anne replied, "I think now my bears have quite distinctive eyes and noses. One of my office colleagues feels that I have an identifiable style and I have had collectors say that they can recognize one of my bears at auction just by their look."

"I think my bears appeal to those who like bears with a story or which have their own sets of possessions."

Anne recalled, "One of the most fascinating things I have encountered was at a bear fair. A lady with a guide dog stopped at my stand with her friend. Her friend told her about some of the bears and then she asked if she could hold one or two for awhile as I told her about the fabric and what they were wearing." Anne felt particularly pleased that the woman was really taken with a highlander bear which she then adopted.

Although bear making leaves her with little time for much else, she does like to browse for unusual pieces to add to her own collection of mythical pewter collectable's.

But most of all, anne enjoys the feeling she has, knowing that her fairy bears and wizards are finding loving homes all around the globe.

Lucky for her collectors that she's only a computer click away.

Jamaal

Favian

Tatania

 

Anne Russell

Starlite Bears

Member Since October 2005

Twilite

 
 
   

 
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