Photos courtesy of September Bears
September is quickly coming to an end, and here in the northeast, it has been a prolonged summer. It’s not unusual for autumn to debut with warm, sizzling temperatures, but even with the escalating mercury, my mind is still mired with the belief that the fall equals cool climes, back-to-school enthusiasm, and unbridled creativity.
That’s why I love the fact that Julia Romanova, an artist who hails from Moscow, has called her bear business, September Bears. Just like me, Julia and I are both Virgos, born at the tail end of that astrological sign. We are both September babies, and Julia’s very first handmade teddy bear was completed back in September 2010. When we corresponded for a feature article, soon to appear in Teddy Bear & Friends magazine (January 2018 edition), Julia told me that she is quite partial to this crisp season: “I adore autumn and seriously consider it the best time of year. To me, it is the most beautiful time of year.”
Romanova’s bears reflect her appreciation for the history of Moscow, which she describes as being “incredibly mysterious and attractive.” A huge fan of textbooks and historical tomes that dig into her birthplace’s history, Romanova brings a sense of classical tradition and respectful dignity to her teddy bear designs. She studied with Jemma Kadzh, whom she explains is “a Russian master,” and from this teacher she acquired “basic skills, but I later developed my own style.”
An award-winning teddy bear artist, Julia has traveled far and wide — figuratively — in the past seven years. Her fan base has exploded, and her reputation has skyrocketed. She is humbled by the attention and motivated to do more; she wants to keep creating so that she fulfills her artistic destiny.
In her childhood, she often went to the cultural forums that dominated the Moscow cityscape, and that definitely has helped her with her career path. She is prolific with the animals that she conjures up and coaxes into reality. I’d like to think that in addition to the gallery exhibitions and museums that she strolled through in her youth, Romanova is also living up to her astrological capabilities.
According to the horoscope guide of personality traits and professional aspirations, Julia has chosen the most ideal venue for her birth sign and her star chart. Her zodiac horizons spell out the perfect zest for being a working artist and a disciplined dreamer.
For all of us Virgos, we know that we are described as being “analytical, kind, hardworking, and practical.” Even though we don’t like being the focus of crowds, and having unwanted attention thrown our way, we find solace in the arts. Virgos are said to have “great memories and reasoning, strong intellects and deep appreciation of art, literature, science, and math. Virgos are proficient at detailed work.”
Wow! With a buildup like that, why would anyone want to be anything but a Virgo? It’s quite fitting that Julia has labeled her business as September Bears because she does draw upon all those traits (and her always evolving talent) to usher forth bears that are meticulously detailed and sweetly styled.
Thinking about why she makes her bears the way she does, Romanova says, “My hope is that my creations will make you smile,” and all of her craftsmanship and handiwork is done with that end in sight.
The proud mother of a very devoted son, Romanova realizes that her bears speak to the kid within all of us, as well as to the kids who reside with us. She emphasizes that her designs are intended for the adult marketplace: “My bears contain small parts, and they have very delicate details. They cannot be washed!” Yes, there is that Virgo combo of practicality and creativity united once again.
Also, drawing upon her Virgo fusing of right brain/left brain, Julia is a dedicated collector herself of clockwork toys. She has amassed a very admirable array of vintage mechanical toys. Many of her antiquated finds were nonworking, so she has patiently restored and rebuilt them. She has chronicled her restoration process and has posted images and videos of her work online. Julia admits that this hobby is the source of “enormous joy.”
Whether she is envisioning teddy bears that are magical and supernatural, or costuming them to mirror a character from a magnificent example of Russian literature (Alexander Pushkin’s “Eugene Onegin”), Romanova’s bears are a blend of her lovely imagination and the love she has for her nation. They embody the best of her personal musings mingled with tributes to the critters that she has spotted during her zoo visits and her treks to the nearby countryside.
It is with pure sincerity and true pride that Julia Romanova tips her hat to the natural world that surrounds her and has infiltrated her studio space. She owes the animals that have captivated her heart a debt of gratitude: “This occupation has completely absorbed me and has made me part of nature.”