Friday, January 27, 2012

Meet the Crew's Studio Manager: Sebring Austin Slater

Happy Friday, everyone! Today, I would like to introduce you to New Avenue Crew's sweet, ultra-cuddly, no-nonsense studio manager: Sebring Austin Slater. I love this guy!

(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!


  1. Sebring, welcome to Blog Land. A beary interesting thing has been happening - Funny Friday is becoming a little "elite" teddy bear club. There are 4 of us now.

    Any chance you could join in the fun? Ask Miss Debora in a sweet little teddy voice. Giggle.


  2. Aww, love the new studio manager :o)

  3. welcome Sebring, have a happy time helping other new baby in the New Avenue Crew studio.

  4. Welcome to join the studio, Sebring. You looks mature.

  5. Oh hello Debora,
    sooo a long time I read nothing from you and your wonderful bears, so I was very happy to read from Sebring. He is really fantastic and this story, great :)
    I wish you and your family a very nice year 2012 and many warmly beary hugs from Germany

  6. Hi Debora
    I can SO see why you don't want to part with him. He is absolutely beautiful, It's funny how a bear can really find a special place in your heart. For me, I have a bear called Cheekie who was an early prototype for my realistic bears. He is a polar bear with a very large hump. His proportions are all wrong, but he has the most wonderful, heartwarming smile and I could never part with him.



  7. Sebring is definitely worth the wait. After reading his story, I was surprised when you reported that he was in line for adoption ... then when you decided to keep him, I was relieved. He belongs to you. And for him to be designated "Studio Manager;" it's perfect. Thanks for the visit into your teddy bear world again. Hugs, Vicki

  8. Hi Debora, I have just found your bears and I really want to tell you how delightful they are. They have such endearing faces, I love them.

  9. Love your bears! Beautiful! They are all amazing!
    Bear hugs,

  10. Hi Debora,
    thanks for stopping by stickers and stuff.
    It looks like Creative Accidents has closed up shop :(
    You might like this ring - (I know its not a bear but its incredibly cute)

    Adorable bears by the way.
    Have a fabulous day.

    1. Thank you, Stickers! (Or should I call you Stuff?) ;o) I appreciate your sharing the bunny ring; it's darling. I am bummed about the bear ring, but maybe I'll find something similar one day. I'm glad you like my bears! That makes me smile. Happy Monday to you!

  11. Debora, Hello Thank you for visiting my blog :) A wonderful story about a bear, waiting his time appear in all their glory throughout the world. The bear is fine and all of your adorable bears, I like your author's style :) Nice to meet you. Greetings from Ukraine (Kiev).

    1. Зарина, привет! It is nice to meet you, too. Our daughters are from Ukraine; we were in Kiev for about a week in 2009. I am happy that you like my bears and my blog. :o) Hugs to you!

  12. Какие чудные,милые,добрые мишки.Ох и люблю же я их!

    1. Большое спасибо за ваши комментарии, Ленточка. Я счастлива, что Вы любите моих плюшевых медвежат! :o)


We love getting comments here in the Crew studio. Thank you for taking a peek at New Avenue Crew and leaving us your calling card. Blessings and bear hugs to you!