In 1993, I had a change of 'art'. For several years I had been following a vague, undiciplined path, offering a wide variety of handmade arts and crafts in local venues. With my scattered art pursuits, I was finding myself in a state of unrest. After some self-examination, I knew I had the potential to become a better artist, but needed more focus. As a starting point in working toward my goal, I began designing simple cloth dolls and marketing the patterns in magazines. The simple dolls held my interest for a time, but it wasn't long before I ventured to construct that first jointed bear from a purchased pattern I had on hand. Suddenly, everything changed! The furry little creature I held in my hands had captivated my heart. It seemed to be peering back at me with an unspoken challenge to try creating my own bear designs. In a heartbeat, I knew I had found my focus, and Fool's Gold Bears began.
Combining classic mohair fabric and other top quality materials with skills I'd gained throughout life, I put my heart and soul into producing one-of-a-kind (OOAK) heirloom companions. After all these years of bear making, I'm still in love with the process of creating these small creatures, and each one still captivates my heart.
As a rule, Fool's Gold Bears are one-of-a-kind characters. Once in a while twins or triplets result, but they are never identical. Mohair plush is one of my favorite materials for bear construction because it is both beautiful and durable. It is a top quality fabric, made from the wool of angora goats that is shorn from the animal and woven into a cotton backing. Since the early 20th century, mohair has been the industry standard, lending itself to the production of premium quality creations with durability to be enjoyed for generation after generation.
One constant factor about my designs has always been their diversity. Over the years, Fool's Gold Bears and other characters have embraced a wide variety of styles, from silly and playful to classic and dignified, or daring and unusual. Sizes rqnge from small, at around 8 inches, to larger companions up to 26 inches (so far), and all sizes in between. My creations are known for their engaging expressions and overall warmth of character. They generally include color enhancements, produced with inks and pigments added to facial features and often to various places on the body as well. The hues may be understated earthy tones, or other less traditional colors. The coloration can range from subtle neutrals, toward mossy greens and occasionally to bright accents. Most of my creations wear minimal costuming or embellishment, which allows the body shape to be fully appreciated.
Lately, my designing thoughts have turned toward bears and other creatures that are beyond mere toys. I dream of little souls that seem as if they might turn and speak to you at any moment. In my imagination, they are old toys that have been loved to life. Oftentimes as I'm building a character, I am surprised by the development of unexpected attributes, as if I am not the creator at all, but that the little being has emerged somehow outside of my doing. For each creation, I'm delighted to have the privilege of being the first to greet them and welcome them into this realm.
It is my hope that art lovers will recognize a spark of creativity that brings a feeling of life to my work. My heart's desire is that every creation that leaves my hands would be infused with the genuine treasures of Love, Innocence, Friendship, Woner and Joy . These qualities inspire me, and I believe they help to make Fool's Gold Bears "real".
Fool's Gold Bears have found homes in many places across the globe. I've been honored with a few industry awards, and my creations have been featured in various collector publications in print and online in the US, UK and Japan.
I am happy to announce that I am now represented by Xanadu Gallery in Scottsdale, AZ, where you can view more of my work online.
The following is a quote from a recent happy customer: " I actually squealed when I saw him. What an adorable bear, I am thrilled with him. He's a wonderful, very well-made sweetheart of a bear and I couldn't be any happier with him than I am. He's just a little gem! Thank you so much for this enchanting bear." K