Monday, October 28, 2013

Magnificent Miniature Teddy Bears!

Collection of Miniature Bears by Deanne Crim
(Ranging in size from 1/2" to 4" tall)

For those of you who have just climbed onto my "Crazy Train", you would have no way of knowing that Miniature Teddybear-making has consumed much of my creative endeavors for 30 years.

"Miss Purdee Pleez" a Splendid 4" fully-jointed bear with Skunk Stole, 
Teddy Bear Purse, & seven 1" micro-mini bears on her Straw Bonnet.
Copyright 2000 Deanne Crim

My love of tiny things has already been discussed briefly, (however not for the last time, I can assure you of that!) Teddybears are loved by children everywhere, no doubt, but you may be unaware of the adults worldwide that collect, adore, even obsess over. Yes, I mean full-on obsession, including walking stroller-fulls of stuffed bears parading through a Bear & Doll show as if they were toting their toddlers on a family event. But don't have me committed quite yet, I am NOT one of those kind of Teddybear obsessed people...I am of the Art-Obsessed division...Miniature Bears, to be exact!

There is something absolutely magical about holding a perfectly tiny miniature teddy bear that captures my heart. I saw my first tiny teddy at a miniature show in 1983, and I was blown away. In those days I couldn't afford a $35 toy, so I set out on an educational quest (I can feel that same creative electricity flowing through me just telling you about it!). 

I went to my local library (before the convenience of the internet), and checked out a book on big 
Teddybear making, since no miniature source existed in those days. I miniaturized the procedures and the patterns and set to hand sewing the tiny pattern pieces. In a matter of days, my first bear was sitting in the palm of my hand.

"If good things come in small packages, then surely, a tiny Teddybear is the best of all!"
~Deanne Crim

"Pipsqueak" 1" fully-jointed miniature Teddybear by Deanne Crim
copyright 1997 D.Crim

In 1990, after meeting a new Teddybear artist friend while standing in line to enter a Teddybear Exhibition Show & Convention in Chicago, Judy Wahl, we got to talking about making miniature bears. We lamented on the elusive materials, the lack of educational information, and we schemed at blowing the lid off of Miniature Teddybear crafting "Secrecy"!

By the following Tuesday afternoon, I had my notes and outline in place. S.M.A.L.L. (The Society of Miniature Arctophiles Loving & Learning) was born! For approx 8 years I published a newsletter with patterns, tips, resources, club activities, contests, swaps, and our infamous SMALL Teddybear Tea Party Workshop Retreats. Our SMALL family thrived!

When the internet was born, everything changed. Some for the better, some not so much. Our SMALL Society became too pricey to continue in it's latter form, so I took a wild shot, and started a SMALL Yahoo Group in 2000 (I think?!!)

 It wasn't long before many of our SMALL members found their way back, as well as many others. Though our activities have never reached the peak of participation, as in the old days, we are able to keep out tiny Teddybear lifeline available. There have been many copycat clubs, but none that have had the extraordinary impact that S.M.A.L.L. had on the Teddybear world.

"Cozy Walnut Cradle" 1" jointed bear cuddling in a Walnut Shell
By Deanne Crim 

Several years ago I completed the draft for a Miniature Teddybear making book. It is the culmination of many years of designing miniature patterns and characters. Unfortunately I did the entire layout on my PC computer, which subsequently died on me...NO, I didn't have adequate backup...don't scold me! So I redid the entire book...PHEW! But THEN....OH NO!! I got a Mac and all my PC files were scrambled...UGH! So I am currently reformatting all the pattern layouts so I can finally make them available for sale ( my Etsy shop that has sat empty since it's creation three years ago!). I think I will be separating them for individual sale, though, instead of in book format.
I'll keep you posted on my progress...

So here is a little preview of some patterns that I will be making available for sale
(hopefully in the not-too-distant future!!

Wishing you Tiny Teddybear Treasures...
And Big Sugarplum Hugs!



  1. Holy Cow (loved you Harry) I'm mentioned in your blog...I almost feel famous and I recognize so many of those dear little bear faces.

    Mini hugs,


  2. Jude, you were the catalyst that started it all!! XO