April Thread Artist.
THREADANIMALS GROUP OWNERS AND MODERATORS
April's Artist of the Month
Chantal Emilia Giroux
(pictured here with some of her favorite creations)
Every month we send our Artist a list of questions to help us get to know them better. Here is Chantal's interview.
Do you have a web site ?
I have a website :
A blog :
Where did you grow up?
Big question, I was born in Kolwezi (Congo), yes, you read very well ; Congo was a Belgian Colony in that time ; I spent 17 years of my life there and I left to finish my university studies in Belgium.
Tell us a little about you and your family
I'm married to a wonderful man, Alain and we have 2 daughters, Johannie and Laura, and... grandparents of Darren and Lola.
Laura, Darren, Alain and me are living in Canada, Saint John, NB.
Johannie and Lola are in Belgium.
We have 3 cats, Papouille (11 years old), Plume and Kess (5 years old) and I forgot my cockatiel, Arnold. (7 years old)
What other crafts do you do? Any crafts you like to learn to do? Have you had any formal arts & crafts training?
For the moment, I don't do anything else than my teddy bears ; however, I'm always mixing my different hobbies :
ex : tatting, bobbinlace, felting, knitting even painting are hobbies, I like to add to my bears.
Tell us about what contests have you entered? Won? Awards? Publications?
2005 ; intermediate category ; Berta Challenge, 1st place.
It has been a real challenge : as you can see all my bears are totally different ; I create them following the thread or the yarn I'm using.
It's really difficult for me to follow a pattern.
That's why I participated once again in Berta 2007 Round Robin.. I had to follow a pattern and change it for another artist.
2007 : Second Place in Mini Bears, undressed Category, with Valerie Rogers and her URSA contest.
Publications : Teddy Bears Review, Teddy Bear Scene, and Front cover of Bears and Buds Ezine.
How did you get started crocheting?
When I was a child, during our vacations, my Mom did not like to see us doing nothing ; so she teached us a lot of things, knitting, crocheting,sewing, hairpinlace are among the few things she showed us.
How did you get started making ThreadAnimals ?
When I was pregnant, I crocheted toys for my daughters. I think that Lola my granddaughter is still playing with one I made.
Who inspires you?
I don't know really, but I think I had a boost of creation with the birth of my grandchildren.
Do you think that your bears are influenced by your place of residence/country or would they look the same if you lived elsewhere?
I'm not sure that a place can change the style of the bear, but for sure, the moods can alter the style.
I have a true story happened to me ; in November 2006, I had a denture surgery and now we know that the dentist did a wrong thing, he poked my right eye with a needle and I lost a part of my right eye sight....
Imagine the disaster for someone who is making miniatures.
I decided to continue the teddies without saying anything to anyone, only closed friends and family knew my drama and believe me, they have been very helpful.
In March 2007, Valerie Rogers sent me a message for the contest ; I would like to answer ..No, I can not do it...
Finally I created the 5 inch bear who received the second place...
So my tip for bears makers, beginners and the others : don't let life steal your passion.
If you are not feeling good, continue to create your little dreams.
Believe me, they have been a big part of my therapy.
No medications, nothing could or can help me now recover the lost sight, but my bears, yes they are a great help.
Where do you see yourself in 5 yrs...
I hope and I wish I will continue to create teddies and have fun with my fellow artists friends ;o)))))
What skill level would you say that someone needed to embark on their first bear project?
Everyone can embark on their first bear project.
We are not alone ; our ThreadAnimals list is full of Artists, very helpful..
look .. I was not very happy with the legs and arms jointing ; I read the files and I found the solution for my bears ; that's the proof that even it's been a lot of years you are making bears, you are still learning every day.
Which other crocheters work do you admire - either miniature bear makers or makers of other items?
I don't have any preference... for me, an artist is an artist. And I will respect everyone because they are working hard to create their little ones.
Now if you asked who drove me in thread teddies ; it's Berta fault.... ;o)))))
Forgive me Berta, but it's true, you gave me the bears shot..
Without knowing each other, Berta was a neighbour when I was in Belgium and I like to write her some words in Dutch sometimes (but I lost a lot of my real second language)
(Note of Debbie)
Note: Chantal did the lovely photo collages of her favorite creations, family, and first bears. She also has some absolutey fabulous bears pictured at her website, which I hope you will take time to visit.
Thanks Chantal for Sharing your talents.