many other artists, I have always enjoyed crafting and over the years I
guess I have tried almost everything; knitting, embroidery, cross
stitch, quilting and rug making.
I was six I used to dress my dolls in clothes that I had made from my
mother’s scrap bag and as I had also learnt to knit at about the same
time, I suppose you could say that I sewed (sowed) the seeds of my
career at an early age. Fortunately for me, my mother was very
encouraging and used to help me when I made a mess of something. Pocket
money was usually spent on buying craft supplies; funny how some things
love of teddy bears started early too. I used to take my ‘Teddy’
everywhere I went and once had to leave him behind when we had been
staying with my maternal grandmother. Teddy had got “lost” somewhere.
Evidently it was NOT a peaceful trip home with one rather distraught 16
month old, whining for her Teddy! He did turn up a little later as I had
apparently made a bed for him outside in my grandmother's garden. I
still have my original Teddy, who has travelled and lived overseas with
adult I started to collect vintage and artist bears, visiting regularly
to all of the teddy bear shows. At one of those shows I purchased a
piece of mohair and a commercial pattern. Some months later I made my
first bear, and then decided that I could definitely improve on it. And
as they say, “the rest is history.”
still have the first bear I ever made and although he is a little odd
looking, he has plenty of character.
other favourite thing is Christmas. I used to produce large scale
Christmas decorations for shopping malls here in New Zealand at a time
when it was extremely difficult to buy anything different. My house is
always VERY Christmassy for a much longer period of time than just the
holiday season, so it seemed a natural progression to combine my love of
Christmas and teddy bears and come up with my company name “Jinglebears.”
fortunate to be able to travel from my home in Wellington, New Zealand
to make an annual journey to the United States (this journey takes me
about 36 hours to complete, from when I get up the day of the trip to
when I arrive at my final destination), and then a few days to get over
my jet lag!
visiting I participate in several teddy bear shows and travel
extensively with my “adopted” American family, friends made through the
bear world; who have become my second family.
Together we travel many miles (if only I could gather frequent flier
miles on all the lengthy road trips) shopping for antiques and other
vintage pieces to go into the vignettes that I am well known for.
Everyone is always on the lookout for that interesting
piece that I can use.
Often I hear the call “JAN” when we are scouting round an
antique mall or a flea market as my “family” know what to look
Many of my collectors also love antiques and will often be
amazed at the variety of vintage pieces that I have used to tell
a story in a vignette. I usually say that antiquing is the way I
sightsee when I travel as I’d rather be poking around an
antique mall than walking a nature trail.