22nd June 2018
Getting away from it all is something we dream about, talk about and procrastinate about, but not often we do something about. Which is such a shame because when we get away from it all, the ‘all’ gets replaced with perspective, creative thoughts and blue skies for our imaginations to run free.
It was during one such trip, the very talented Jenny McWhinney was on a family holiday in Australia getting away from it all, when her ‘all’ was replaced with the inspiration to design and stitch 12 very cute, very lovable bears. Originally published in Inspirations issues #26 and #27 the bears became so popular, they ended up with their very own book ‘Lovable Bears’ which has just now come back in print. Here is an extract from the book of Jenny’s story about how some of the ‘lovable bears’, came to be:
‘We were off on a family holiday from Adelaide to Melbourne, across to Tasmania on the ferry. I knew we were going to spend a lot of time in the car and needed something to do, so I took 12 squares of blanketing, my wool box with my needles, a sketch pad and pencils, which would spend the next two weeks on my knees while my husband Ron was driving.
I had no great plans about what I wanted to do - I just felt I wanted to embroider a little bear.
During the drive to Melbourne it rained non-stop. The window wipers were working overtime. As it was pouring I sketched and stitched a little bear wearing a yellow raincoat and one of my favourite hats, a sou’wester, and gumboots. He later became ‘Splash’.
As we sailed from Melbourne to Tasmania I looked out to the ocean in front of us and decided I should do another little bear this time in a sailor suit. He would become ‘Ship Ahoy’.
When we docked in Devonport, my daughter Jess seemed a little off-colour and I suspected an ear infection, so as soon as we could, we went to the local doctor. The nurse-come-receptionist was so sweet, I thought I should dedicate a bear to her. So now we had the nurse bear ‘Florence’.
Next, we drove to Launceston and as we walked through this lovely town we passed the University and I could just imagine a bear on graduation day. I imagined all the knowledge contained in all the libraries of all the universities of the world. Hence the birth of ‘Bookworm Bear’.
Nearing the end of our wonderful trip, I asked my two daughters “What other bears could I draw?”
Jess called out, "A ballerina bear!" and Sarah shouted, "No! A clown bear!" So I did both!'
After Jenny found the inspiration for all 12 of her lovable bears on her trip, she ended up stitching them together to form a fabulous quilt which has become immensely popular with children lucky enough to have one made for them.
So now it’s your turn… if you can’t get away from it all on a holiday like Jenny did, perhaps you can get away from it all in your sewing room and pick a bear (or two or more!) you can bring to life as you enjoy the whimsy of these irresistible designs.
Make Your Own Lovable Bears
Lovable Bears by renowned Australian artist Jenny McWhinney features twelve unique and irresistible embroidered character bears. The book includes full-size patterns, stitch diagrams, step-by-step photographs for each bear plus construction guide for the quilt.