These questions were part of an interview for Teddy Bear Times which will appear in a feature article in their next issue, we hope you enjoy this sneak peek of the article. The Teddy bear Times article includes production photos, so it is not to miss. Enjoy!
1. Do you have a favorite bear that you’ve created, either recently or in the past?
RJW: It's difficult to narrow it down because we've done several iconic bears that are very important such as Winnie-the-Pooh, Paddington, the Clifford Berryman Bear, etc.
But I think I would single out our "Baby Bear" series. That was a collection of 5 cubs with realistic details made in 2003.
2. What are your favorite materials to work with when creating your bears?
RJW: I would say that my favorite material to work with is alpaca plush, but another favorite is a wool/mohair blend. Both of these tend to have a denser pile than most mohair plushes. But every project is different and depending on the desired effect, the best materials will vary.
3. Where do you get the inspiration for a new creation?
RJW: Some artists are most comfortable creating their own concepts which they conjure from their own imaginations. That may work best for them, but for us we generally prefer having a strong source material to work from. So we often look for inspiration in illustrative art and our challenge becomes bringing the charm of the 2-dimensional images into 3-dimensions. Another ongoing source of inspiration is simply the world of nature. Real bear cubs never cease to amaze us with their unparalleled cuteness! The trick there is to avoid a 'taxidermy' effect by evoking real animals a little too closely. Our goal is always to keep the 'toy' in everything that we do.