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Brady Bears Studio

American Made Since 2006

Karen Brady Hammontree

Knoxville, Tennessee
I'm a soft-sculpture artist, creating one-of-a-kind, mohair animals. I love creating pieces that can be treasured heirlooms for years to come.
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Tell us about your business.

Brady Bears Studio was created from my love of art, history & antiques, and my desire to work from home. I already collected antique teddy bears, and had created my own bear patterns in college. One day I came across an artist bear in a local antique shop. With a little research, I discovered the world of soft-sculpture art. I was totally hooked! I combined all of my passions to form my business creating one-of-a-kind teddy bears, dogs, birds & a whole menagerie of other animals. Each one of my animals is made from mohair and I create my own patterns. I add special touches, such as an old doll's dress, an antique photo, old buttons or other vintage trinkets. I love making each creation different & unique, with it's own personality. My work has been featured 2x's on the cover of Prims magazine, and featured in several magazines in the U.S. & abroad. I was also selected, from 2007-2013, by Early American Life magazine, as one the top 200 Craftsmen in America.

Tell us about your workspace, shop, or studio.

My studio space is located in my home, which was built in 1937. It provides the perfect setting for my antique inspired pieces. I set up my studio in an extra room, but I really work in several different places. Sometimes I'm sitting in front of the fireplace stuffing a bear, or at the kitchen island cutting patterns. In my designated studio space, I have a large worktable where I can get really messy with my dyes & paints. My goal is to one day have a separate studio outside my house, with plenty of room, where I can create several different types of art, from soft-sculpture to mixed media paintings & paper clay pieces.

What inspires you?

What doesn't inspire me? Like most artists, I'm a very visual person. I'm always looking at everything, from the color of the grass to what shade of blue my neighbors door is. I love antiques, architecture, and old homes. I love connecting with other artists via facebook or other social media. I'm inspired when a customer emails to say how much they enjoy their Bluebird, old bear or dog that I created for them. Inspiration for me is endless possibilities waiting to be discovered.

What makes your business stand out?

I believe my business stands out because of the quality craftsmanship, passion and detail that I put in every piece. I work constantly to add new designs, and improve my pieces. I want each of my pieces to be a cherish heirloom for years to come.

What advice would you give an aspiring creative entrepreneur?

Stay positive. Things don't happen overnight. I takes a lot of work and dedication to get your product out to consumers. Talk with others in your field for inspirations and helpful hints. Don't give up. If you love your product, others will too!

What does American Made mean to you?

American Made means to me the chance to keep handcrafted traditions alive. Creating something one at a time, not mass produced. It is the chance to expose others to the passion I have for art & history. I've been given the opportunity to bring others joy & enjoyment from my creations. I've also been able to share my creations with kids of all ages, in schools & through my Girl Scout troops. American made is the opportunity to create heirloom quality art, and pass along quality craftsmanship that might otherwise be lost in a fast paced world.

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