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Meet Lynette Kennedy of Fred-I-BearMeet our November Artist: Lynette Kennedy of Fred-I-Bear. Each month, we'll bring you an interview with someone in the bear world. Enjoy!
1. When did you start making bears and what inspired you to design your own?
Teddy bears came into my life 10 years ago. Although each teddy bear has the basic components, it is great fun to try variations and this is where you have fun designing your style. Somehow, as a child, teddy bears did not feature in my life, thou I still have my doll that I played with for many hours.
2. Describe your style of bears and/or animals you make.
Most of my bears tend to be traditional styled and recently I have included needle felting features. I prefer working with mohair although I have also been experimenting with Japanese Silk which I sell in my shop.
3. Where do you live and where are you originally from?
I am South African been born in South Africa, I live just outside Johannesburg in the province of Gauteng which was formerly the Transvaal. We live inland where gold was originally mined and is still mined today.
4. What inspires you?
Mostly the mohair fabric, quilting and patchwork fabric. I enjoy Country crafts quilting fabric; many ideas have been born from this.
5. What is your favorite part of bear making?
I tend to have good bear eye days and bad bear eye days, then it could be the ears, so when I have achieved what I want it is the finishing off , as then I can "play".It always delights me how a flower, hat or ruffle can change the bear's look.
6. How did you choose your business name?
My grand father and a very good friend are/were the "Fred's" in my life that were special people. If I had known that my hobby would turn into a business I would have chosen "Quirky Bears" as Quirk is my maiden name. To supply the South African market with bear making supplies and accessories I have opened a shop which I have called "Fredi's Workbasket"
7. Do you have any other hobbies besides bear making?
I have recently taken up ballroom dancing lessons as dancing is something that I love and have always wanted to do the right way. Pottering in my garden and being able to pick the flowers I have grown gives me much pleasure. Reading and a bit of gym help to keep me out of mischief.
8. Do you have any children and/or pets?
My two children are married and I am a proud grandmother of a 16 month old grandson. My husband will tell you that first on my list is my grandson, my daughter and son, my dogs, my bears, and somewhere at the bottom of the list he might feature. My dogs control my life. They try stealing my bears when I am not looking, and they wake me up in the middle of the night when they think they hear a mouse in the kitchen; however, I would never part with one of them. All my dogs are strays so they need that little extra bit of love.
9. What are you most proud of?
In my family, it is to see what independent successful people my children have become. Myself- from being insecure and having to overcome many obstacles I have today become a successful business person. With my bears, it is the joy of seeing something that I have made bring a smile to a collector's face when they take one home.
10. Where do you sell your bears?
I attend various shows in England, Europe,Japan, Korea and Taiwan, here my bears are sold at the exhibitions . Other teddy bears shops around the world have sold my bears and with the world opening up with the internet, I have started to build a good customer base via this outlet.
Fred-I-Bear on Teddy-Bears.org