Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Adults Who Don't Forget

A while back on the guild I belong to, someone asked the question why do you make bears?  We all gave our answers and they all varied.  But for some reason that question came back to me tonight and I thought about it a little more. 

Why do I make bears?  I could easily have become the lawyer I thought I wanted to be, or I could have become a scientist, or any one of a dozen other things my brain and personality are suited for.

My Mother wanted me to be an accountant.  I think I would have died of boredom.  Numbers and endless paperwork aren't my thing. 

My Grandmother wanted me to be an artist and she encouraged my creativity.  Although I think she thought I would be a different variety of artist.

When I was a kid, I was an only child who moved a lot...a lot more than most people can imagine moving.   This resulted in me being painfully shy and lonely.  So my friends were my toys.  My three favorite toys were my two teddy bears which belonged to my Father before me and my Raggedy Ann doll.  Oscar, Bruno and Raggedy Ann all had personalities and "lives" that were very distinct.

Most adults grow up and forget those things.  Sometimes they even forget the toys that were so special to them as children.  I still remember those stories I created in my head as I was playing.  While I do have a memory that is above average, I am not sure that I would have forgotten them even if I wasn't so blessed with what I am able to recall.

I can't speak for what other teddy bear artists do, but when I make a bear or animal, I look upon it as if I am making a friend for that person who will eventually adopt it as opposed to just a collectible.  They have a little bit of a personality that springs to life when I create and costume them, but I also like to leave some for the adopter to fill in the blanks and bring that bear the rest of the way to life as they write the story for themselves.

If I were to go look at my collection, I know all their names and stories.  Oddly enough they all have one.  In fact I have one unassuming looking Steiff who believes he is King Edgar of Scotland and carries a Steiff koi around as if it's a sword.  The koi is easy going and doesn't mind.  He sort of watches over Edgar to make sure he doesn't get into too much trouble.  I've never told him that he isn't really King Edgar.  I wouldn't want to disillusion him...he is happy believing it.

So I think the true answer is that I make bears because I am one of those adults who didn't forget.  I remember how important those childhood friends were that I played make believe with.    Apparently they are still important in some way...and not just to me!


Janet Ghio said...

I had a red rabbit named Thumper and a Raggedy Ann doll. Unfortunately I don't have them anymore--but now I have "new " family members--the lambey family: lambey, Macaroon and Snuggie, as well as a cat and a black bear (who always seems to get into some kind of trouble!!). You are never to old for those "low maintenance" (as my husband calls them) friends as opposed to our high maintenance friends who need to be taken for walks etc.

Linda in New Mexico said...

I too am an adult who didn't forget. I was laying on the lawn across the street with 7 other kids on a July night looking up at the stars. I said (cursed and blessed myself but didn't know it), I'm going to remember what it is like to be a kid. I promise.
And there you have it. I remember all my dolls, bears, stuffies and remember my play and their names. It's like that moment in "Hook" when one of the lost boys looks into Peter Bannings eyes, really hard and says...Oh there you are Peter.
My little girl is still inside me. Thanks for reminding me. And congratulations to you and the little you too.

Heather said...

Are those the actual bear and raggedy ann from childhood?! Those bears are so beautiful!!!

I completely agree with you too... each one of my precious childhood toys still has the same name and personality they had I gave them so long ago... and every new plush/doll that comes into the fold has to have a name and a story. (Heck, I have a doll and a bear who both have their own blog...)

Kelly said...

I love low mainenance toys Janet, I think there are a lot of kids out there who would probably secretly prefer them too!

I blessed and cursed myself the same way Linda, when I was a kid, I didn't have many toys and I said when I grow up I am going to have all the toys I want!

No Heather those aren't old bears, they are two I made a long time ago and kept. Oscar and Bruno are still with me, but they were too hard to get to this morning for a pic.

Katy Cameron said...

Aww, I know just what you mean. I'm also an only child, and we also moved a lot, but I still have my teddy Elizabearth (he still shares my bed!)

All the bears both me and my parents have have their own personalities and characters and lives, in fact the bears I make go out with their own scrapbooks showing photos of them doing what they love, and describing their hobbies etc (yep, I think I need help ;o) )

Magaly Guerrero said...

I want a PINK monkey!

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