Sylvie Noailles, maker of collection bears

The adventure « Histoire d’Âm’Ours » (literally "bear soul story”, but as “âme” means “soul” ans “ours” means “bear”, the pound word comes from “amour” meaning “love”), was born from different professional, personal and community activities. Like a lot of children, I used to give my bears and dolls a soul and make them my best friends and closest confidants. From my teenage years, I’ve sewn, created clothes, woven, knitted, embroidered and worked with different materials whose appearance and contact would inspire the idea and feeling of the shape to come.

For twenty-five years, after Art studies, I’ve drawn and animated human and animal cartoon characters for cinema animation. Ten years before retiring, I decided to go back to university in order to make my professional life more meaningful. In this second life as a social worker, I accompanied and listened to people, facilitated workshops where the technical skills were emphasised in order to be able to be free of them and reveal each participant’s creativity. I also facilitate workshops in several associations.

On a winter night in 2014
While I was sorting my fabrics, I found some scraps from a skirt and a cape which belonged to my sister in the 60s : that’s how the first bear is born. Others followed, always made of materials that evoke an era, a memory, and inevitably more visible than a piece of cloth at the bottom of a closet.
I got caught up in the game.

To begin with, I always need to encounter a material that makes me want to work with it and gives me the inspiration of what it will become. Sometimes several bears will come to life from a same piece of fur. Like siblings, they’ll all be part of the same family but different from one another, sharing the extra life, love and soul I can’t help but breathe into all my creations. This is why they all have a name and a date of birth.

I set up workshops allowing everyone to make their own bear using the best practise techniques.

During an exhibition, I was entrusted with a very old bear which had been roughed up by the family dog. It was my first restoration. Another one followed. Today I collect the bears that time has mistreated. It’s a new and exciting perspective, built on resourcefulness and respect of the bear’s story.

My unique and traditionally handmade stuffed toys are aimed at aficionados and collectors. Their price reflects the materials used and the time spent on each restoration. I’m in no rush, good things take time.