Bears by Sue Quinn
My studio is in Paisley, Scotland where I have enough space to create lots of clutter and of course bears and animals! Everything is designed and created here in the studio with no outworkers, but my wonderful part - time elf Margaret comes in to the studio to help out. I do sometimes bring projects home to continue working, heavily supervised by my mischievous cat!
My home in Kilbarchan where I live with my husband and cat, is surrounded by countryside and is only ten minutes away from my studio. I have a small art room at home where I can enjoy watercolour painting or one of the many other interests I have! I love vintage sewing machines, toys and children's books - a small collection of antique dolls is slowly increasing.
I started making animals for sale from home in 1978, naming my small business Dormouse Designs. It quickly outgrew the space available in our tiny spare room so I rented my first premises in 1982. For the next few years I was designing and making larger quantities of woodland animals for sale, mostly to trade customers at trade fairs. These were simpler designs made in synthetic fabrics with the help of a small staff.
But the artist in me was not comfortable with the repetitive nature of the trade orders at that time, so at the same time I myself started making the collectable bears in mohair. I attended the first ever Hugglets fair in London (and every one since!) and never looked back. I therefore stopped doing the trade shows and downsized into smaller premises and changed the name of my business to Bears by Sue Quinn.
I enjoy participating in retail fairs and exhibitions and I love meeting the people who actually buy my creations and the pleasure that seems to give them. Wearing their identifying brass SQ pin badge, my animals are adopted by collectors worldwide.
I have also now written two popular books and appeared on several Sewing Quarter TV shows demonstrating how to use them. My studio has moved again, and for the first time I have a shop front, just down the road from Paisley Abbey. So if you are ever in the area please pop in and see me!
Many people ask me how long I have been doing this and it is always hard to answer. The fact is that I have been designing and creating animal characters for half a century and that is scary! I was guided and taught by my lovely Mum who was a clever seamstress, although I am not sure she was too impressed by me using a candlewick bedspread to make my first bear at the age of eight....
My little Art Room at home is full of tools and materials for so many different crafts! A haven for watercolour painting.
At my studio, I have a small showroom where I do try to have a selection of animals on display!
Buffin bear, one of the first collectable
mohair bears made in the 80's with the
Dormouse Designs label.