Online, Monthly Teddy Bear Magazine
Barbara Spiga                                                         September 2011

Barbara Spiga of BOBBYBAER is truly an International woman.

Born in Germany, she married an Italian, and for 32 years, she's been living in France. As the mother of three children, she always stayed at home and cared for her family and did office work for her husband's business.

Although she loved teddies as a child, she never imagined she would get drawn into bear making.

During her childhood, her mother Bobby, was a dress maker; not a professional one, but she made all of Barbara's dresses and mended clothing for the neighborhood families and created clothing for friends and family.

"Unfortunately, she didn't pass on her skills to me," Barbara noted.

Barbara recalled that it was so easy to put all the sewing on her mother's desk and it would get done without any effort on Barbara's part. Later, when she had children of her own, her husband would ask her if she didn't feel "nuts" because she wasn't able to sew a little dress for her own daughter.

"As often my mouth is faster than my brain, I replied to him, 'Of course I know and I'm able. What a pity that I don't have fabric, supplies or a sewing machine!'" Barbara felt pretty sly with having found such a good excuse to tell her husband.

The same evening, her husband came home and yelled, "Surprise!" Lo and behold, behind the door was a brand new sewing machine and a box with plenty of fabric, yarn, buttons and all kinds of supplies.

"I had never touched my mother's machine and had no clue how to do anything, not to mention how to explain to my husband that I had only pretended to know."

So she gave him a big smile, an uncertain "Wow!" and announced that she would start the next day.

"Fortunately my subconscious must have stored some basic information during the years I'd seen my mom working." The rest resumed in "learning by doing." With every mistake, she learned a bit more.

After sewing, she wanted to learn to knit. Her mother sent her a parcel of yarn, a pair of very large needles and thankfully, an instruction manual.

In the evenings, Barbara sat down and tried to get the yarn on the needles by following the instructions.

"My family looked for the emergency phone numbers, telling me that the only thing I'd be able to accomplish was to get hurt."

Remembering that her parents always told her that "I cannot do" often means, "I don't want to do," she continued to learn by doing until she was successful at knitting.

The years passed by and Barbara continued to sew, writing and illustrating fairy tales for her kids, making puppets, dolls and numerous other crafts. She loved to create things.

Then one day in 1999, when she was having a self-proclaimed "bad hair day," a greeting card with a teddy bear on it arrived with the following words: Teddy Bears dry tears and give comfort and tenderness to everyone who needs them.

Something clicked.



Mom and BBours



In that moment, Barbara decided that she would make a teddy bear just for herself; just for her to cuddle.

She didn't know where she would get the supplies or how she would even make one. She was completely undeterred and as usual, her mother came to the rescue by sending Barbara a package with everything she needed in it.

At the time, she didn't own a computer and nobody in France seemed to care for bears and considered teddies as children's toys or decorations.

"At least some people know of "Steiff" or "Russ" bears, but nobody had heard of "artist bears."

Her first bear was made from an "ugly" flash-orange, faux fur blanket. The stuffing had been pulled out of an old pillow and the eyes were too big. Just black buttons. Barbara thought the results weren't all that bad and her daughter seemed to loved it dearly.

The following bears were made from any soft fabric she could find in their wardrobe, such as velvet trousers, sweat shirts, etc. "I got addicted and couldn't stop creating bears and other creatures, but dreamt about making a "real" teddy like those I saw on bear reviews."

One day, her mother showed one of her bears to a friend who then became Barbara's very first customer. "I was so excited and proud," Barbara recalled.

In honor of all the love, encouragement and help her mother had given her, Barbara named her company after her mother, calling her creations "BOBBYBAER," since Bobby is her mother's nickname.

Encouraged by her first sale, she took her other creations to an exhibition of dolls near her hometown. She met a boutique owner who then ordered a special collection of miniature bears for her shop to showcase.

She now sells her bears via the Internet, at bear shows and sometimes with collectors coming to her house.

"I cannot explain how grateful I am for all of this. Never could I have imagined what bear-making has brought into my life."

"My creations are not meant to sit on shelves or be in glass cabinets for decoration. I want to make bears for living and loving.

When I'm told that a BOBBYBAER helped someone through a "bad hair day", I have achieved my ultimate goal and followed my slogan, that my creations shall dry tears of joy and tears of pain and that they shall comfort people and make them smile."







Barbara Spiga


Member since June 2011




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