Butterflies and Pansies
Marie the Pink Lion
Diana Watts has lived in sunny Naples, Florida since 1971, when her father retired from the Navy. “I was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, and have lived all over the country while growing up,” Diana began. “I was not a big fan of moving all the time.
Upon moving here, I have lived here ever since; raising my family here. We love living in Florida!”
“I have been sewing most of my life. Coming from a family of four girls, (my Mom sewed all the time) we all learned how to sew our own clothes. I made most of my prom gowns and party dresses. I really enjoyed the creating part of sewing.” All her sisters enjoy sewing, painting and sculpting too.
Bear collecting caught Diana’s attention about 9 years ago. “I can remember reading about the Schaumburg Teddy Bear show,” she said. “I was so excited about going and seeing all the artists and their bears! I fell in love! Not too long after that, I started taking bear making classes. The Naples Teddy Bear Museum was not far from me
(it has since closed), and artists came to offer classes. I could not get enough!” She took classes from artists like Steve Schutt, John Renpenning, Denis Shaw, Mac Pohlen, and Diane Gard. “They were all great teachers,” she exclaimed.
Diana has been designing and making bears for seven years now, under her business name of DiBears. “A friend suggested the name and it certainly fits the bill,” she said. Over the years Diana has developed her own style of bear making. “I am mostly known for my fur bears,” Diana said. “I love to work with the mohair too, as it seems so easy after adding backing to fur once, sometimes even twice, because of the thinner fur hides. I especially love dying the mohair different colors, creating more personal colors.” Diana is known for embroidering or enhancing paw pads. Sometimes using needle-point fabric or embroidered ribbons. “Once I made several bears without the paw pad detailing and even though the collectors loved the work, they wanted my style of embroidered paw pads!”
To obtain the right look, Diana spends hours on detailing the bear faces, trimming muzzles, going back and trimming more. “Collectors say they love the expressions and how sweet the bears and bunnies look,” she said. Perhaps those sweet faces come from her living with Persian and Himalayan cats.
“I think my bears have a little of their looks in them too,” she noted.
Being a hairstylist for 30 years, Diana can say, “I honestly love my job and I love making bears. My hair cutting skills and love of sewing kind of go hand in hand in when I am creating,” she said.