Monday, September 27, 2010

Interview with Bettina of Glass Dragon Bears


I met Bettina of GlassDragonBears on Creating The Hive Arts & Crafts Community.  Bears have always been one of my favorite toys since childhood and I was so touched by Bettina's creations that I just had to interview her.  Please welcome Bettina of Glass Dragon Bears in your finest knitty and crafty fashion.

Q. Bettina, when did your love of bears begin?

A. We lived in post-War London when I was a child and toys were few and far between. My bear was always there and very well-loved.


Q. What tips can you give the person who is a little hesitant of needle felting?

A. Start with something simple such as a ball… have a good 6” foam block and keep your fingers out of the way! Once you’ve mastered the basic felting process, you’ll feel less hesitant.

Q. Super advice! Bettina, your bears have so much personality. I know your skill has much to do with that, but I have to wonder if you look at them sometimes and see their little personalities developing as they’re created. How much is technique and how much unfolds through the creative process?

A. Back in the early ‘90’s a bear artist by the name of Steve Schutt sent 100 copies of a bear head pattern to other bear artists and asked them to make it and send him pictures. He received pictures of 100 different bears. Each maker does things differently and views the process through his/her own experiences… and those differences result in a unique creation. BUT there is that moment, when stuffing the head, that decisions are made which determine what the final bear will look like.

Q. Please tell us how you came up with the name Glass Dragon Bears, Bettina.

A. I worked in stained glass for years. I enjoyed doing it but arthritis in my hands made cutting glass more and more difficult. I had made bears for my daughter (another bear lover) and so switched over to making craft bears. Then I discovered mohair and have been creating artist bears ever since. I’ve kept track and I am now at 5845!
Santa Ornament

Q. Where to you find such adorable props for your bears and do you have a favorite Glass Dragon Bear holiday?

A. I love “hunting “for accessories or making them! My husband loves trains and antique radios and you’d be surprised what I find for my bears at the shows he goes to! As for making them, I knit hats and scarves, make peanuts out of polymer resin, needle felt fruit, sew pincushions for my bears to hold… and so on.

This year's favorite holiday was the Teddy Bear Reunion in the Heartland. This is a bear convention held in and supported by the whole little town of Clarion, Iowa. It happens once every 5 years. We went to demos and classes, heard talks by bear authors, held a huge auction and held a two-day salesroom. The town’s groups such as the Kiwanis supplied almost all the meals for all of the convention goers for 4 days! There was even a parade! Profits support the town’s museum! By the way attendees came from as far away as Australia, the UK, Germany and New Zealand and all over the US. 

What a wonderful event.  Thank you, Bettina for sharing your love of creating bears and sharing your creative journey as an artist. 

You can learn more about Bettina and The Glass Dragon Bears on the following links:

Creating The Hive

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