The Bear Necessities with Linda Chiasson

The Bear Necessities with Linda Chiasson

This story began back in 1902 when Theodore Roosevelt, then president of the United States, was invited by the Governor of Mississippi to attend a bear hunting trip. As bad luck would have it, President Roosevelt was unable to nab a bear, so his loyal assistants captured a black bear with the help of some dogs and tied it to a tree in order for the president to shoot it. Theodore Roosevelt refused, but ordered it to be shot by someone else to end its suffering. Shortly thereafter an idea was born; the “Teddy bear”, named after the president’s nick name and to commemorate Theodore Roosevelt’s sportsman like behaviour toward another fellow creature. Here we are 110 years later and good old Teddy is still going strong.

Linda Chiasson and friends

Who hasn’t fallen in love with a Teddy bear at sometime in their life? Gary and I had a chance to meet and interview Linda Chiasson who was smitten 15 years earlier when she spotted a handmade Teddy bear made from recycled real fur at a local market. With a strong background in sewing, and a love to create everything from the clothes in her closet to the curtains that embrace her windows, Linda confidently decided she could handmake her own darling bears, and she has been doing so ever since.

“Willem”

“Dusty”

When we arrived at Linda’s home and studio, the first thing she did was run out to Arty to greet us and take our picture. We felt a bit like celebrities! She invited us in, sat us in her living room, offered us these fantastic gluten free, chocolate chip, peanut butter cookies (the surprising secret ingredient – chick peas!) and began asking us all about our endeavours. I really thought it was wonderful how she took an interest in what we were doing since we were there because of our interest in her.

“Nikki”

“Cookie”

Linda’s bears are nothing less than exquisite. Over the years she has perfected her techniques and uses only the most pristine once loved furs, and it shows in the superior quality of her bears. A testament to that quality comes from the many delighted collectors from all around the world, some of them anxiously waiting for the newest bear to show its face. Because of the work involved Linda doesn’t make many bears in a year, but when she does they come as a result of everyday occurrences in Linda’s life. She may see an article of clothing like a scarf which becomes the spark for the glint in the eye of a new bear. Her bears are heirloom worthy and easily come with a life long commitment on the part of the new bears owner.

“Lovey”

“Liam”

When our time with Linda was over she sent us on our way with the rest of the cookies, a care package from her vegetable garden and a foam knee pad for Gary to use while he shot video coverage (it has come in handy for many things since then). It is easy to see why someone could become so attached to one of Linda’s bears; they are as sweet as the lady who makes them. PS: She made me miss my mom just a little bit less. Thanks Linda!

Check out our interview with Linda as she shares more about her furry friends and go to her website Bear in Mind Collectibles to see more of her work.