Meet Catherine Young of Bumpkin Bears
Author: teddygirl | Thursday October 01, 2009
Back to our first interview for Bear Buzz.
Meet our October/November Artist: Catherine Young of Bumpkin Bears. This month we decided to bring you our first interview from 2 years ago. We remind you that you can always go back and read past interviews. Every other month, we'll bring you an interview with someone in the bear world. Enjoy!
When did you start making bears and what inspired you to design your own?
On a cold Christmasy day in 2001 I visited my first Bear Fair. I had always had a love of bears growing up but little did I know what a world would be opened up to me with this simple outing! I was bought a teddy making kit as a present and then started to find out about Artist Bears and loved the idea of designing my very own bears. After lots of trial and error I started to design my own range of bears under the name of Bumpkin Bears. Since starting to design my Bumpkin Bears they have found new homes across the world as far and wide as Australia, Japan, USA and across Europe. I have been very fortunate to have my bears featured many times in Bear Collector's magazines, a selection of which you can see in the Media section on my website. I am constantly striving to design and bring alive the most endearing characterful bears that I can.
Describe your style of bears and/or animals you make.
Bumpkin Bears capture the spirit of childhood, twinkling soulful eyes of friendship and those ever important open arms for cuddles! I create bears, bunnies and even a recent skunk in both mohairs and luxurious faux furs. I aim for each bear to have his own soulful cute character that can be a friend for life. My bears range from miniatures right up to 17. They are always one of a kind.
Where do you live and where are you originally from?
I live in a rural village outside the city of Antwerp in Belgium. I am British (and Scottish and Irish!) and have lived in England all my life until five years ago when I moved to Belgium with my Belgian fiancé along with my two cats.
What inspires you?
I have a vivid imagination and am inspired by so much around me especially nature and the appealing faces of animals. I love old children's classics like Winnie The Pooh, Black Beauty and Beatrix Potter books. Although I generally make larger bears I have recently been inspired to make a series of nursery rhyme miniature bears which have been very well received and have been a fun challenge. There is something very special about the companionship a bear provides and I like to bring to life bears full of soul and character that can be loved forever. I also make bears on commission and these are even more special when they are in memory of loved ones.
What is your favorite part of bear making?
I love the moment when I create the face of the bear and see the character appearing, I never cease to get a buzz from this.
How did you choose your business name?
Bumpkin bears come from my childhood where idyllic days were spent out of doors at my Granny's home in the heart of the English countryside. My Granny nicknamed me a Country Bumpkin and this still holds true today with my love of the outdoors, hence the name of my Bumpkin Bears!
Do you have any other hobbies besides bear making?
I love gardening and am trying to fit in time amongst bear making for a postal course on garden design. I often put photos of my garden and trips on my blog which you can find via my website. I studied art and design and photography at university so I love anything creative including drawing so my hands are always busy.
Do you have any pets?
I've got two tabby cats and I used to have my own horse in England.
What are you most proud of?
I always get a wonderful sense of pride when I hear how much my bears are loved by their new parents. I was also thrilled to be a nominee in the Teddy Bear Scene magazine Reader's Choice Awards last year with a bear called Dougal. This was the first competition I had entered my bears into.
Where do you sell your bears?
I show all my bears on my website and have a mailing list. Everytime I bring a new bear to life I send out an email, a lot of my bears are sold immediately to customers around the world this way. I also list my bears on the Bear Pile website and occasionally Ebay. If anyone wants to join my mailing list they can send me an email.
Note: Catherine also sells her bears on Etsy.
Note: Catherine now makes beautiful prints and notecards.