My bears are made of mohair or alpaca. These materials are soft and dense, I love working on such high quality fabric! I chose to only work with straight fabric, more difficult to use because you have to be careful at the fur’s direction and it is impossible to hide sewing mistakes, unlike curled fabric. Straight mohair or alpaca allows to distinguish the bear’s figure and proportions, conversely to curly fabric which blurs everything. I draw my own patterns: a same pattern can be used once or twice but I always change details (arms shape, paws length, belly more or less plump…) and of course the materials. Consequently, I never create the same bear twice: each piee is a OOAK artist bear, even if they certainly look like siblings! Each bear is 5 or 6 way jointed, which allows it to take many life-like poses. I also add wire in the upper arms to add even more realism.
Making the head is the moment I prefer. After all the sewing, it’s time for pure creation! Putting a nose more or less big, positioning the eyes, sculpting the face… I try to create a kind of harmony, this part is decisive: according to me, this is precisely what provokes love at first sight, and the urge to adopt a bear. I create the nose in fimo, so that it is adapted to the bear’s face curves, I place it and it helps me decide where I will sew the ears and insert the eyes. To give life to a bear, I spend much time on the expression: I sculpt the face with scissors. It’s a very delicate moment because i I cut too much, I must start over again. Unlike techniques which allow to add material, like needle-felting, scissor sculpting is definitive, it is not allowed to rectify or hide something that went wrong. I position the glass eyes, I create some shadows and sculpt his wistful look. Then, I insert the joints and stuff the members with filling material and sand, so that the bear gets a good foundation. Sometimes, I also needle sculpt foot and paw-pads to the bear.
Unfortunately, OOAK bears are pretty much unknown in France! When I started creating bears in 2006, it was obvious for me that I had to launch my own website to spread my work. My daughter Charlotte has a Master Degree in international public relations. This adventure is truly a mother-daughter project, our skills are complementary and it’s amazing to live that together. She built this website to help me present my art, and she takes care of all the English contents. She taught me how to take professional-looking pictures and launched my Facebook page. It is a real asset which grants visibility to my bears! I met wonderful people online, artists and bear collectors. French bear artists are not numerous and quite remote: internet provides a link that binds us together.
In 2013, I was the French Artist of the Year, during the French Teddy Awards, thanks to my clown Jules. Since 2014, I am the first bear maker to be a member of the prestigious Art Workshops of France: artist bears are quite unknown in France, so it is a great recognition as an arts and crafts discipline. For my first participation, I had the honor to get a TOBY Industry’s Choice Award 2015, for my bear Leon. Then, I got an URSA Award 2015 for my sculpture “Théodore & Barnabé”. In 2016, I was very pleased to win a second TOBY Industry’s Choice Award, for my bear Éloïse and then the Trophée Gueules de Miel (Paris Teddy Show) for Donkeyskin… What a wonderful way to celebrate my 10th anniversary as an artist! 2017 was a special year as well, I was thrilled to get my third TOBY Industry’s Choice Award, for Louis, I exhibited at Hugglets Teddies in London and I started creating textile busts! In 2018, a new type of characters appeared in my workshop, the sculptures on a stand.
My bears are available on this website only, and sometimes when I join art fairs. This exciting adventure allows me to live fully my passion towards bears: I can enjoy their presence until they find a new home. My textile sculptures are not suitable for children under 14.