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Artist of the Month

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The featured Artist of the Month for January is Ilz of Australia!  Ilze
How Ilz got Started in Bearmaking

Soon after relocating to Canberra, Australia from Cape Town, South Africa in 1998 I met Cal (the other half of Zca Bearz) who introduced me to bear making. Cal mostly made bears using the patterns published in the bear magazines available on the market today. I just needed a hobby to take my mind off my studies every now and again. Cal gave me a couple of bear magazines and books and sent me on my merry way.

Suddenly a whole new world opened for me. Being a graphic artist and all, I felt that I could combine my artistic talents with the art of bear making. After only my 3rd bear from these pattens, I jumped right into the deep end and started designing a couple of my own bear patterns. My very first creation was such a success that I ended up with a whole heap of orders to fill.

Very enthused by all the positive reaction and input which I received from my very own and very first bear design, I dragged Cal into the whole thing and got her designing and making her own bears as well. Soon afterwards we registered our little Bear Making Business . . . Zca Bearz! As our business grew, I grew with it, always striving for perfection in each and every single one of my designs!

The unique qualities of her bears

With each new design I try to keep the bear different and not "just another bear". I like to use bright coloured furs rather than the browns and golds that are normally used, however, I do make the odd brown/gold bear in between. My bears usually have very small and close set eyes with a big snout and a shaped nose rather than the usual plain noses (Although I do use big oval shaped noses on my bears that do not have a snout). My bears are all naked apart from the odd hat or bell around the neck.I try to keep the bear as the work of art rather than the clothing. I take extra special care in hand-stitching all my bears, using only the finest dense German Schulte mohair, German glass eyes and Orlon flock/glass beads as filling. I am also firmly opposed to lead filling in bears as LEAD IS POISONOUS!!

Ilz's Opinions on Bearmaking

Bear making today has become more than just a hobby. Every bear artist is striving to produce a unique 'work of art', but with so many bear artists out there it is very difficult to come up with original ideas and creations, without going overboard. Artist Bears should be aesthetically pleasing, very well handcrafted and unique, to be of some value. Each artist's bears should have their very own unique expression and personality.

I also strive to give my bearz names that expresses personality or external appearance, because so much can be expressed in one single name.

I admire and support all the brilliant Bear Artists around the world.without them I will not have the inspiration and motivation to strive for continuous improvement of my bear making skills.

To find out more about Ilze and her bears check out her site at Zeca Bears

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