Photos courtesy of Wayne Lim
Are you ready for another cyber stamp in your virtual Plush Passport? I know I certainly am. Today let’s get ready to soar to Singapore and drop in for a spot of tea with the very talented and charming Wayne Lim.
I’ve had the pleasure of writing about him over the years and showcasing his many adorable and heart-tugging creations. I haven’t always had the room to show off all of his handiwork, so here is a chance to trot out some of his best beasts!
Lim has a delightful sense of humor and a very light touch with his critters. All of his creations seem to be lit from within with a sunny and optimistic disposition. The artist admits that he begins to create from his own personal “happy space.”
“As an artist, I enjoy exploring themes of the realistic and of the whimsical in my creations. Each bear tells a story and are canvases that bare my emotions and thoughts,” Lim told me. “I always strive to achieve making my bears and animals look and feel ‘Happy.’ I believe that this can possibly make my work an ‘Art Therapeutic’ item, making whoever holds them feel positively happy!”
From just looking at these mice, bunnies, kitties, dragons, and bears — naturally — a person does break out into a big, goofy grin. Lim’s offerings offer a jubilant antidote to the commonplace sorrows of everyday life. They are outward expressions of his inner goals.
“Bear making has always been my passion, and it’s one of the ways for me to express my creativity, emotions, and thoughts. I love working on my bears after working hours and on weekends, and sometimes I conduct basic bear making workshops for participants who are interested in bear making. I want to share my knowledge and ability,” he explains. “It can be quite taxing sometimes trying to find time to get creations done, but, nevertheless, I enjoy the whole creative process from designing, drawing, and tracing the patterns onto the fabric to cutting and sewing.”
In addition to wanting to spread the good news about the power of plush play — “I have been playing with plush toys since I was a child!” — Lim also sees himself as a potential goodwill ambassador for the global concerns of wildlife and nature. “My dream is not just to impart my love and knowledge of bear making to the masses through media, but also to raise awareness for the true inspirations behind my work — the animals,” he earnestly reveals.
According to Lim, “There are lots of global issues springing up, such as global warming and air pollution. I hope through the sharing of my works, people get to appreciate the goodness that Mother Nature has given us. By preserving nature and animals, our children and many future generations can enjoy them the way we are able to do so.”
The artist first began to make bears and other animals in 2009. Over the past seven years, he has cemented and solidified his standing among his plush peers. The accolades he has received are meaningful and encouraging to him: “I can still vividly remember my first exhibition at the Singapore Teddy Bear Show. During that show, it was the first time that collectors were adopting my bears and they even gave me compliments on my creations. I felt immense gratification, and the satisfaction was indescribable. This motivation keeps me going. I want to make Wayneston Bears, my label, a legacy for my children and future grandchildren.”
Lim credits Emen Chen for tutoring him and teaching him how to make his first-ever teddy bear. He also acknowledges Joanne Livingston of DesertMountainBear for being a vocal and tireless advocate and cheerleader. “Joanne always told me to be my own teacher. It’s through hands-on discovery you get to learn much more,” Lim recalls. “I have borrowed countless numbers of books from the library on how to learn to create basic patterns. I also watched and learned from bear-making techniques online. I never shied away from experimentation and self-improvement. Joanne is right. Sharing and learning is one of the best ways of self-improvement. This helps you to become more creative and productive. It also helps you to build friendships with like-minded people.”
One of the perks of being in the teddy bear world is the opportunity to make friends with folks who have similar interests and comparable experiences. Lim gravitates to getting to know his customers, his colleagues, and his artistic idols.
“Thanks to all the advances in technology, I can chat online with collectors from all over the world! Through e-mail or Facebook, we can engage in conversations with each other,” Lim details. “I can also talk with other artists from everywhere on the planet. It is amazing. One of the things I always look forward to is purchasing or trading bears with one another during shows!”
Like other ursine enthusiasts, Lim knows that his bear addiction could burst his bear budget if left unchecked. Bear bartering is a way to get around that worry: “Collecting artist bears can be costly. It’s always the ‘money’ factor holding me back when I want to adopt an artist bear. A clever way, which most bear artist would do, is to trade with an artist that you like! It’s a double win for both of us.”
Because he has that personal interest in bear collecting, Lim is able to empathize and identify with what his collectors yearn for. He knows how to appeal to his collectors’ tastes and desires. As we conclude this cyber visit with Wayneston Bears, we can take a final, happy look around Lim’s home and busy studio.
“Singapore has summer all year-round, so be prepared to wear loose clothing when you visit us! We are a multiracial country and the landscaping of Singapore is very modernized. Due to the scarcity in land, the architecture you can see here is mostly high-rise buildings. Buildings are built and designed close to each other, and because of that, you can easily make friends with your neighbors!” he shares.
One last fun fact about Singapore, courtesy of Wayne Lim: “Singapore has one of the busiest ports in the world and is also known as the ‘Lion City.’ Our country’s well-known mascot is the Merlion, which is recognized by many!”