The Scot bringing joy to kids with her cuddly creations
Creator of loveable toys on tonsil op that changed her life
Lifefor children around the world would be a little less bearable if it wasn’t for Sue Quinn.
After all, she’s the woman who has been creating favourite teddies for over half a century.
Sue, 67, was inspired to start making bears at the age of eight, after being gifted “Teddy” by her parents for having her tonsils out.
Pensioner Sue, from Kilbarchan, said: “He was a mohair bear and I was absolutely in love with him.
“I wanted more bears, so I decided to make them myself.
“My mum was a clever seamstress and always sewing and making things so I picked up the basics from her and used to use her old treadle sewing machine.
“I made my first bear using a candlewick bedspread… I’m not sure she was too impressed!”
Sue turned it into a business in 1978, making synthetic animals for trade.
But she soon moved on to collectable mohair bears.
Now she solely concentrates on those, personally taking care of every single detail, from drawing the design and pattern cutting to the stuffing, stitching and, of course, adding the all-important eyes and button nose.
Sue said: “It’s like being commissioned for a work of art. Every one of the bears is unique.
“They’re much more than just stuffed toys.
“It can take from a few days to a whole week from start to finish. It’s the tiny details that take time.
“And sometimes making the outfits actually takes longer than the bears!” Sue’s teddies have been snapped up all over the UK, and she has a steady stream of customers in Europe and America too. She’s also made beautiful bears for some famous faces – although she couldn’t possibly reveal who.
Now Sue, who has published books on heirloom bears, makes up to 100 collectable bears each year, which can sell for up to £600. And she restores those that have been loved just a little too much. “It’s such a rewarding job,” she said. “People often ask what it’s like to be surrounded by teddies all day and I have to say it’s fantastic.
“Even at my age, I still love picking them up for a cuddle. And I still have my own favourite bear – Teddy, the inspiration behind it all. Thankfully he’s still in good condition and hasn’t needed brought back to life just yet!”
It’s like being commissioned for a work of art
Creative Sue says she just loves being surrounded by teddies in her Kilbarchan home Pictures Chris Austin