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!