Today I'm featuring one the regulars on the UK chat thread in Etsy Clare Bears
What is your name/business name?
Where do you live?
What do you make?
My signature line is my jointed teddy but I make all kinds of soft toys. I also do cross-stich, knit and crochet. I'm also always looking for a new thing to make. It's a sickness :)
How long have you been crafting for?
Forever. I was always drawing and colouring in when I was younger. My Mam taught me to knit when I was in the Brownies and during school I tried allsorts of crafts. At home, the scissors and cellotape could always be found in my room! i first made a toy at the age of 8 was a Winnie the Pooh kit which I tried to submit for my Brownie craft badge but Brown Owl said he was too good and my Mam must of made him (she didn't, she ownly sewed the round bottom in as it was difficult!) so I wasn't allowed to enter him. I still have him now! I was taught to make toys properly when I was about 12. My step-grandma made bears too and she taught me how to make them. I've made them ever since and have mostly made them as gifts but once or twice have sold them. I'd never really taken the whol thing seriously until I found Etsy and I kind of found somewhere I enjoyed being. Now, I spend every spare minute making something. Unless i'm travelling with my day job and then it's hard to take airline-friendly scissors and needles!
Where do you get your inspiration?
My first inspiration is Bonzo (see my blog for more details). He is as old as me and has needed so many repairs. He's the item I would rescue from a fire if it was all I could take and he has been everywhere with me. For as long as i can remember, I have had a love of soft toys and always see them as a personality (Bonzo is a bit of a grumpy old cynic). I guess I want other people to feel the same way about the toys I make. I look at fabric, whether it's fur or not, and see it as a bear or other toy.
What do you enjoy most about your craft?
Seeing the bears face for the first time. When i finish making the bear's head and turn it inside out, I see their face and I know if their a boy or a girl and what they're like. It's probably some kind of over-active imagination but it's a kind of ritual now.
What do you enjoy least?
Stopping half way through making one to go to bed!! I have a day job so I still have to have a decent night's sleep so I hate stopping in the middle of a bear. I hate it most if I have to leave it for a few nights. It drives me mad!
Where do you sell your work?
Just on Etsy at the moment but I plan to add it to Coriandr at some point. I have to travel with my day job so the grand expansion plans are a bit on hold at the moment. It'll be a while before i take over the world :)
Anything else you'd like to tell us about yourself or your work?
I love doing it and I want everyone to enjoy my work as much as I enjoy doing it. I have also found such kind and supportive people through Etsy who have kept me going longer than I might have done on my own. I thank them all for that.
America sounds brilliant! how long are you going for?
About a month. This is all for my day job though but I can't wait to have a rummage in some craft shops while i'm there!
Clares shop is temporarily shut while she works/suns herself in USA but check out her pics on flickr