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DJ McCloskey                               July - August 2019



Like most teddy bear artists, DJ McClosky, of Tiny Toes & Bear Paws, fell into teddy bear making almost by accident.

She began by making porcelain dolls, inspired by her mother, who was a doll collector, bought her many dolls throughout her childhood.

DJ made dolls part time while working as a paralegal and make-up artist in the film industry. When she finally retired, she began a new career fueled by the passion of designing and creating one-of-a-kind bears, lifelike dogs and lifelike newborn and toddler dolls, adding, "My training in makeup has been quite frequently used in my creations."

After ten years of creating dolls, a girlfriend, who was a very well known bear artist in the 80's and 90's challenged her to make a bear.

"I took the challenge. She gave me some faux fur, joints, eyes and a store bought pattern. When I finished making the bear, she offered me $100 for it!"

DJ made a few more bears and took one to a show that her friend was attending, to get approval on the face. "I hadn't even closed up the back or limbs. Stuffing was falling out." As fate would have it, a woman came up to her and asked where she got it. "I said that I was learning to make bears. She said she owned a shop on Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles and asked if I would make her three of them so that she could put them in her shop." So she did.

A week went by and the shop owner called DJ asking, "Do you know who just bought your bear?" When DJ replied "No," she said, "The King of Pop...Michael Jackson!"


DJ couldn't believe it. And that gave her the incentive to continue on with bear making.



When she and her husband moved their family from southern California to Denver 12 years ago, she met another teddy bear artists who only lived a few miles from her.

"I have taken numerous lessons from her and learned to sculpt and detail my bears," and because of the level of transformation on her bears, she decided to create a whole new design and lines of bears in Colorado.

In 2014, one of her customers asked if she could design a pair of dogs to look like pets belonging to her parents.

"I told her I had not created dogs before but would love to give it a try. They were two miniature Schnauzers. Then a co-worker asked her to make a dog for her mother for Christmas to look like one she'd recently lost, followed by another customer who asked her to design a keepsake dog she'd lost and had never been able to find a stuffed one that had looked like her dog did. And so a new branch of designs began. "The whole process just makes happy tears flow for everyone."

DJ has been asked to design and create cats but hasn't undertaken that venture yet. When asked if she will, she replied, "Maybe after the 2019 holidays, I might start."

Is it too early to start holiday shopping? We ask.



DJ McCloskey

Tiny Toes and Bear Paws

Member since June 2019


Revisiting DJ - What's New!
DJ McCloskey - Revisited            November - December 2022

Just like many teddy bear artists, DJ began creating variations of the traditional teddy bear by using mohair fur, sculpted black needle floss noses, plain black glass eyes and the typical ears. "Some with the added paw pads and some with simulated paw pads. others dressed and some naked."

"Being a doll collector and maker for a good part of my adult life, I wanted to try and create a more; happy smiling doll-bear face to add to my bear creations.

Awhile back, I learned the art of needle felting with wool roving. I played around with that on small areas of my previous bears and was happy with the results.


However, I still had not reached that "happy/smiling" face that I so wanted to create. It was in my head and heart but had not yet reached my hands.

It wasn't until one day in 2020 when the whole world was shut down with Covid-19, that I began to see what I could create with this new concept.

So I gave it a try.


My first bear I created I named "Baby Buttercup" which features her big "happy/smiling" face and expressive eyes. then a baby sitting on a blanket with diapers. She was premiered and sold immediately in the June 2021 Bright Star Promotions Online Show.


I made a few other happy/smiling face bears and they sold immediately.



Clown Norma


Cotton Candy


Daisy May

Ellie Mae


Mary Jane


I named my new line of bears "Precious Faces".


I created more of these sweet bears for the online shows.

My "Precious Faces" line allows me to create happy emotions for my bears and hopefully happy emotions for my bear collectors.

I am thrilled when a collector eMails me telling me she smiles each time she looks at and hugs her new "Precious Faces" bear.

This really warms my heart.

Presently, with the recent economy changes and rising interest rates, I began designing smaller bears and friends (3" to 8"). Some have my "Precious Faces" as well as the traditional style faces.

I call this new line "Wee Petites".


Some of my "Wee Petites" will have their own vignettes which I create myself while others will be sitting pretty just by themselves.


I will be featuring my "Wee Petites" in upcoming online shows."

DJ has been designing and creating my One-of-a-Kind bears for over 30 years.





Canine Portraits

Cocoa on box of ashes.


"More recently I began designing and creating my "Canine Portraits" to honor my client's losses of their fur babies


They are created out of fur and are 3D, jointed and weighted for easy posing.


Each Canine Portrait comes with its own collar and dog tag in scripted with name and appropriate dates."


You can eMail DJ to learn more about the Canine Portrait memorials.

DJ McCloskey

Tiny Toes and Bear Paws

Member since June 2019


DJ as been accepted into the Douglas County Sheriff's Department in the Victims' Assistance Unit.

"I'm pretty excited about this opportunity to help others."



Learn More


Where is Highlands Ranch Colorado, USA?


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