The Original Online Teddy Bear Magazine
Lynette Kennedy           July - August 2023

Enjoy the same version of her story in a flip book version.


   SEE the book - click to turn the pages!


Lynette Kennedy has been a resident of South Africa for her entire life.

Over the past three decades, she passionately dedicated herself to the art of teddy bear making. “The bears
I craft are known as "Fred-I-Bears," a name inspired by my dear friend Fred, who has relocated to New Zealand. To capture the essence of my brand, my ex-daughter-in-law designed a logo that I take great pride in. It proudly proclaims, "taking the world over one cuddle at a time."

Throughout her journey, she has been honored with numerous awards, featured in magazines, graced magazine covers, engaged in public speaking engagements, and even made appearances on television. These achievements have served as remarkable milestones in her career as a teddy bear artist.

“During my childhood, I found companionship in a doll rather than soft toys. Surprisingly, my two children didn't have a beloved teddy bear, although they did cherish other plush toys. My son, for instance, had a preference for his Lego sets, while my daughter found solace in books.”

Lynette stumbled into teddy bear making, when she sold her old shop.“This was an Elna Sewing Machine Franchise, plus arts and crafts. I then opened a patchwork/quilting shop. The idea was to sell teddy bears supplies and fabric. The quilting side grew so fast that the only way I could get involved with the teddy bears was to take the supplies home. This started the venture into the teddy bear world, and I have never looked back.”






Lola and Tazz







“Of course, my first teddy bear, was a bit of a giggle, and it took a few more bears to ‘get the idea'. At this stage all the bears I created were sewn on a sewing machine.
I became an expert at unpicking bears, realizing the only way I was going to get my bears looking good, I had to hand stitch them. “

All of Lynette’s bears today are completely hand stitched.

“Each time a bear was created my children would tell me, ‘You can’t sell this bear;
I want it’. Those words made me feel a bit guilty when I did start selling, though I soon realized whoever adopted
a bear, the bear was going to a good home.”

To get a foot in the market, bears were packed into a suitcase, and she flew off to London, to attend the Hugglets teddy bear exhibition.

“I was extremely nervous, my fear being I would not sell any bears. To my surprise a company “The Teddy Bear Orphanage” came and purchased not one, but several bears. I continued to supply this company with bears for many years, till they closed.



At the same time, my travels took me to Germany, Switzerland, Vienna, South Korea, and Japan. I won awards both in Vienna and Japan, as I entered my bears into their competitions. With USA shop owners, visiting these shows, many of my bears went home with them to be sold in the USA. It was an extremely busy time. I was participating in 6 huge International shows a year.
I continued the pace for many years.”

In 2006, Lynette was approached by the Taiwan Teddy Bear Association, to attend their exhibition. “I attended every year, and only stopped when Covid affected all international travel.”

She was appointed as the International Representative for the association and has been very involved with all shows. “Our first show after covid takes place in Taiwan 2024.

“We organized the first teddy bear show in China and were very successful. Both in China and Taiwan, I always give a teddy bear making demonstration, with an interpreter. While in Taiwan,
I often present teddy bear workshops, and judge bears
in the competition.”

Lynette and Taiwan collector

Jane Pang and Lynette in Taiwan

Lynette’s bears have taken her around the world, and given her much pleasure. “I enjoy visiting different countries, meeting new people, and happy that my bears are living around the world. And it is so such fun meeting with other bear makers from around the world during the shows.”

Currently, Lynette is the proud owner of a teddy bear shop and she considers herself fortunate to have an exceptional manager; Irene!

“Our shop holds a unique distinction in South Africa as the sole retailer of esteemed brands like Steiff, Charlie Bears and Merrythought.
I have personally trained my manager Irene, in the art of bear making, and she now creates her own bears, which we gladly sell in our store.”






Inside Fred-i-Bear's Shop

In addition to selling bears in her shop, they offer teddy bear restoration services.
“It brings me immense pleasure to witness the joy on an owner's face when they receive their once-damaged bear restored to its former glory.” However, due to their recent relocation to a more central area, the shop space has become smaller, necessitating the discontinuation of workshops that were previously available.

“During the Covid era,
I dedicated my time to thoroughly cleaning my house from top to bottom. Making teddy bears took a backseat as I couldn't participate in shows, and my enthusiasm waned.

However, a friend introduced me to online courses that focused on crafting realistic bears and animals. I became hooked, not just on creating the creatures but also on signing up for more and more courses! It's now on my
"to-do" list.”

“I needed a wake-up call to reignite my passion for bear making, and that came when I heard about "The Bright Star" online shows.

Motivated by the buzz surrounding the events,
I made up my mind to attend. Valerie, in particular, has been incredibly helpful. She assisted me in setting up my own sales page for the show and never failed to bring a smile to my face. Teddy bear people are truly the best!


Needle-felted Paw Pads

and clay claws



“Back to my bear making, as mentioned, all my bears are hand stitched. Most of my bears range from 18cm- 30cm,
and are heavy, as I use stainless steel small pellets in the tummy. Some bears I clothe, making the clothing, thou the latest ones are accessorized with antique/vintage ribbons and laces.

Lynette’s bears are all made from Schulte mohair, plush or viscose, and eyes are all glass. Noses are hand embroidered, and wax applied to finish the nose.

“I love playing with the shading of the faces and paw pads. Oil paints, acrylic, pastels, crayons, - I use them all.
Then of course, needle felting- creating something from a piece of wool is fascinating. I often needle felt a bear or animal, and use needle felting techniques on some of my bears- noses, paw pads etc. All bears are 5-way jointed, and I am experimenting with flexible skeleton frame. Something new to try every day.

“Witnessing the exploitation of Moon Bears in the bile farming industry, Jill Robinson, one of my favorite people, and her dedicated team have embarked on numerous bear rescues, and a portion of the proceeds generated from the sale of my bears is contributed to support this organization”

In addition to all of her pursuits, she is blessed with two remarkable children. My daughter, who recently celebrated her 50th birthday, resides in the UAE alongside her two grandsons. And her son lives in Cape Town with his four children. “Amongst them, the youngest is Noah, a spirited three-year-old whose boundless energy, can be quite exhausting.”

“It's important to mention that two of my grandsons, who reside in the UAE, suffer from incurable lung diseases. Although these conditions are not life-threatening, they require ongoing medication for management. Many bears were crafted during the long hours spent in hospitals as they were in and out of medical care for several years.

Denis and Lynette have been married for 52 years.
“Denis has always been my biggest supporter, encouraging me to explore the world and standing by me every step
of the way.”

When Lynette is not immersed in the art of bear crafting,
she devotes her time to overseeing the accounts and administrative responsibilities of the shop.

“Finding solace in gardening, I have embarked on the ambitious endeavor of knitting two jerseys (sweaters) simultaneously, a challenge that occasionally pushes me
to the edge of my sanity.

Nevertheless, I diligently strive to include water aerobics
and regular walks in my routine, pushing myself to overcome any hints of laziness.”



Lynette Kennedy

Lynette with colleagues in Taiwan

Teaching bear making to students




The Witch:

1st Place in Seoul

2nd Place in Tita- Japan

3rd Place in Tita- Japan




Lynette with the winners. She is holding
her Witch bear: Seoul, Korea





Learn More!


Where is Roodepoort,
South Africa?


Click on the map >>>


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