(This introduction is long overdue; I've been keeping Sebring to myself for far too long. You'll see what I mean by "far too long" when I tell you his story.)
It all started with an idea for a big bear, a new pattern design, and some luscious wavy batik mohair. In the picture below, you can see the batik mohair in the bottom right corner. (As always, if you want a closer view, click on the photo.)
Did I forget to tell you when I started work on Sebring? Sorry about that. It was in 2002. Ten years ago. And I didn't finish him completely until late 2010...if I'm remembering right. That's a long time for a bear to wait to be finished! Sebring is definitely a patient fellow.
I had an idea for a bigger bear pattern and set to work on it. I designed the head, ears, and body, and then I laid out the gorgeous batik mohair and traced and cut out the pieces. It was a flurry of activity: I sewed, stuffed, trimmed, embroidered, and otherwise finished Sebring and then came to a halt. No arms. No legs. Just Sebring's head attached to an envelope of a body. I loved him right away, but I was stumped because I found that I had made his body too large. Uh-oh!
During this time, I took a few years' hibernation from bear making. When I started making bears again, I still didn't know quite what to do for poor Sebring. He watched as more bears were completed and adopted. But finally--finally!--in about 2009 or 2010, I decided I had to remove his head from his body (while he was under anesthesia, of course) and make his body smaller. This was no small feat, but once it was done, I felt so much better, and he looked so much better. Of course, there was still the issue of him having no arms and legs because I had never designed them.
So I set to work again and made his arms and legs. I'm certain he was relieved! I attached them to his body with joints (discs, bolts, and locknuts), and then commenced stuffing him. I was delighted to see him sitting up for the first time.
About this time, I was creating bears for an online show and thought I would offer Sebring for adoption during the show. Here he is with sweet Cinnamon.
I even had his photos and description as part of my show site--but before I went to bed the night before the show, I found that I just couldn't sell Sebring! So I removed him from the show site and went to bed, thrilled that he would be staying with me as my studio manager. (Sebring is only the third bear I have kept in my 15 years of creating New Avenue Crew. You can see J. Cub, a bear I made in 1997, on the mantel in the photo below.)
Now, Sebring usually watches over the smaller bears as they're being created and keeps them out of the honey jar. I have used his pattern again; Sprout, the green springtime bear, was the result. Here is a group picture. It is not often that so many Crew members are together at one time, so this is a rare photo.
I hope you've enjoyed meeting Sebring!