The sun finally came out today... haven't seen it for nearly 5 days! To celebrate my husband and I went to Peterborough, NH for lunch and to do a little shopping and antiquing. We ate at a wonderful outdoor cafe then poked around the shops. Lots of artsy shops! Very fun, relaxing afternoon. But we didn't find any treasures worth bringing home. I hate that!
We were nearly home when I suggested we stop at a little antique shop that's open just during the summer months. I wasn't filled with any expectation but not 60 seconds inside the barn Henry says "Hey, a teddy bear!" No way! Well, doubt it's anything special I thought to myself. I peeked around a chest to where he pointed and there, sitting at a child's desk and chair, facing the wall, surround by 'stuff' was an old fashioned looking bear made of mohair, wearing an old navy blue velvet coat. Its back was to me so I gently lifted it from its seat and thats when I saw the hang tag: "Chauncey" by Limerick Bear - Lynn Gatto! No way! One look at his face and there was no doubt he was an early bear by my dear friend!
My heart is now beating double time and I'm trying not to jump up and down and squeal like a little kid! There was no question but that "Chauncey", made by someone who is not only super talented but such a wonderful lady, was coming home with me! I couldn't wait to call Lynn (who lives less than two hours away from me) and tell her about my find and hopefully find out a little more about the bear. The tag told me his name and the fact his coat was vintage but no birth date. As soon as we got home I took a few photos of him. I've since pressed his collar and freshened him up a bit. He has some stains on his wool paw pads and one on the back of his lace collar but otherwise is in excellent condition. Of course I know he's not really 'vintage' but Lynn makes wonderful antique style bears! This one is no exception with a hump on it's back, the long limbs, etc. He's just wonderful!
I called and had a wonderful chat with Lynn. She thinks she made him in the mid 1990's. They will have a little reunion next month as I'll bring him to see her at the Maine Teddy Bear & Fiber Arts Show where we'll be exhibiting and more photos will be taken for sure!
As a bear artist it thrills me to death to see the collector in me get so excited over such a find and reminds me that even when I have lost my interest in making bears I must continue and that it'll be worth it as surely my work will have a similar impact on someone someday! That giddy girlish feeling..... there is nothing like it!
Welcome home, Chauncey! You are very special indeed!