Meet Fabric Artist Diana Bailey
of Penn Valley, California, USA. 

Diana was born and raised in the East Bay area of San Francisco, California, and retired to Penn Valley.  She loves the California foothills!  She worked mostly in sales management for Pacific Bell Telephone Company, AT&T and Lucent for a total of 26 years.  Diana is married to Larry Bailey, a Rotarian and immediate past president of the Penn Valley Rotary Club in District 5190.

Diana’s passions, in addition to Larry, include her love for their grandchildren Wyatt and Kalle and their 4-legged children, Ella (a lab mix), Pearl (a Portuguese Water Dog), and 2 cats, Penny and Spot.

Since before her retirement, Diana has demonstrated her love for animals through her involvement with AnimalSave, a project of Golden Empire Humane Society, dedicated to building a no-kill animal shelter, adoption center and spay/neuter clinic in Nevada County.   They run a successful thrift store that helps to support programs that include spay/neuter, foster/adoption, immediate needs for animal emergencies, and low-income humane aid.  Other funds come from grants and donations.  There are weekly adoption events, adoption of cats and kittens out of our store, and about 40-50 families that provide foster care for the animals that are mostly last chance animals from the local city and county shelters.  A capital campaign is in progress to raise $1,200,000 with a goal to break ground on 8 ½ acres by April 2005.

Diana Bailey can be reached by email on bailey@nccn.net.  Feel free to contact her with your comments or questions.


Teddy Bears by Diana Bailey

(Click on images to enlarge photos)

Diana has been collecting teddy bears for about 12 years and has over 250 of them.  She likes collector bears, not toys.  Several years ago she started questioning why collector bears were so expensive.  So, she took a bear making class and it became immediately clear! It took her 40 hours to make her first bear and the mohair can cost up to $200 per yard.   Fortunately, Diana likes small bears (12 to 16 inches) that can be made with ¼ yard. 

Diana started by using purchased patterns, but she has changed and adjusted them so much, that she pretty much considers them her original pieces.  The bears are sewn by both machine and by hand and she prefers to do as much on the machine as possible.  Diana does not care to make bears smaller than 6 inches, since they require her to do more hand sewing.

This is "Fair Bear".  She was the first of Diana's bears to be entered in the Nevada County Fair in 2000.  The peach colored beauty won First Place and Best in Show.   By winning Best in Show, "Fair Bear" was eligible to compete in the California State Fair in 2001.  This was a competition of all Best in Show winners from all of the state of California.  "Fair Bear" took an admirable Fifth Place and Diana was very pleased!

Of course, on all bears, the nose, mouth and any claws are done by hand.  The eyes are usually German glass and she uses fiberboard joints with nuts and bolts.

The stuffing is polyfiber.  Diana stuffs the heads very firmly, then the body not so firm and the limbs the least firm.  She also likes to make the old-fashioned German style bears, like those made by Steiff.  They have longer limbs, not too plump, and have a hump on their backs just below the neck.  And, Diana likes bare bears.  Something around the neck is okay, but no clothing for her bears.

"Rotary Bear"  (a male... you can tell just looking at his face) was made for Diana's husband in celebration of Rotary International's 100th Birthday.   Diana will be adding a gold ribbon and entering him in the county fair this year.  Diana will be making a duplicate "Rotary Bear" for our Fellowship to raffle at the 2005 Chicago Convention!

When making a bear for a child, she recommends using safety eyes, a synthetic fabric, and giving the bear a more round, soft look.  The mohair bears can be surfaced cleaned with a mild soap, and some synthetic fabrics can be machine washed, but Diana admits she hasn’t tried that.

Diana says, “ I think that bear makers and others that create with fabric tend to find their own style after a while.  To me, my bears began to have a certain “look” and that pleases me.  I don’t know what makes them show quality, but I am careful about how I make them.  The seams are always the same size, so that pattern pieces match, the paw pads are carefully stitched and I carefully measure the placement of eyes, ears, nose and mouth.  I like good quality control!”

Diana entered "Strawberry" in the Nevada County Fair in 2001.  She again won First Place and Best in Show.  At the California State Fair in 2002, "Strawberry" won Second Place!