It doesn't matter where you live if the "bear-bug" bites you. Rhonda-Lynne Lanctôt, of Lanctot's Loveables Teddy Bears knows this first hand.
Rhonda-Lynne and her family live just outside of Peace River, in Alberta, Canada. Although it's a beautiful area to live, it is isolated in many ways, which can be a challenge when you want to buy bear making materials.
So when Rhonda-Lynne's husband, Rob, bought her a special Christmas present; "The Teddy Bear Encyclopedia" and she gazed upon her first artist bears, she wanted to give creating teddy bears a try. Soon she found that the nearest place to obtain a pattern was roughly two hours away. Unhindered, Rhonda-Lynne made the 2-hour trek and Lanctot's Loveables Teddy Bears began.
"I made five different bears from that pattern before I started designing my own," she recalled.
The first few of her design patterns were more traditional in style and she offered them for sale. They sold well but weren't really "her." "I found I like a more goofy and comical looking bear."
Enthralled by fellow artists who designed with more of a whimsical style, she changed and tweaked her patterns to finally create her signature big nose, big feet and dropped ear look.
"For years I made larger bears ranging in size from 9" to 21" tall. Then I started seeing mini bears and I was impressed." She wondered how those artists could get so much character into those tiny bears.
Basi & Bamboo
Bonnie & Ducky
Necklace with Charms
When she decided to create mini-bears, she opted to get her pattern off the internet.
"I fumbled and grumbled my way through my first mini bear and it was far larger than the miniature and micro-miniature bears I created today. I swore to my husband that I would never make another mini-bear." Famous last words, right?
Featured in multiple magazines, two museums and a book on Canadian Bear Artists, Rhonda-Lynne bears have traveled to 10 countries and with online shows booming, expects them to travel to many more.
Constantly redesigning and reworking patterns, Rhonda-Lynne is currently working on her smallest bears which are only 0.75 inches tall. "Who knows how long it will be before I have the courage to attempt an even smaller one!"
With a new upcoming move, Rhonda-Lynne is especially looking forward to a fully functional studio. "This will allow me to add large bears back into my collection."
She presently makes over
100 bears a year, working completely on her own and hand sewing all the miniature bears.
"I love the process of designing and making my creations. I love the personal relationships I develop with my customers and many have become friends over the years. Bear people are a wonderful, warm-hearted group of people," she said, "and I think everyone needs
a teddy bear!"
We do too!
Member since April