Mary Holstad
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A Short Biography of Artist/Designer
Mary Holstad - 2011

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Born in the U.S.A.'s Pacific Northwest, Mary spent her childhood drawing paper dolls with her older sister Denise and sewing doll clothes for her Barbies. As time passed, she tried many arts and crafts - just enough to satisfy her curiosity and then moved on to something new. She received the "Best Female Artist" honor her junior and senior years in high school. She continued trying a variety of art forms but soon began to realize that although she loved to draw pastel portraits of people and animals, the 3 dimensional art forms were what she loved best. After buying a book on how to make teddy bears, to satisfy that curiosity, she got hooked and has been designing and making them ever since. Her passion for cats worked its way into her love for making bears. In 1984 she decided to combine a teddy bear and a cat, and the set "Katie's New Kitten" was born. This set was an immediate hit and quickly made Mary well known among bear artists. To Mary's knowledge, this was the first time a bear artist had combined a teddy bear with its' own pet to be sold together as a set. Since then Mary has combined a wide variety of cats, dogs and bunnies with many different bears. She has always tried to capture the look of a bear holding its' own pet with the love, pride and innocence of a child. Mary attended Disneyland's 1992 Bear Convention as an invited artist. She attended Walt Disney World's Bear & Doll Convention as an invited artist in 1993 through 1998.

In early 1995 Mary designed two bear/pet sets for the Ashton Drake Galleries to manufacture. Later that same year she started designing many stuffed animals for the Ganz Co. to manufacture in their "Cottage Collectibles" artist-designed line.

Over the years Mary's bears and designs have been honored with 23 TOBY nominations and 12 TOBY Awards. The "TOBY Awards" is an annual competition held by TEDDY BEAR & FRIENDS magazine. In addition Mary and her designs have won four Golden Teddy awards. The Golden Teddy awards is a bear competition held by TEDDY BEAR REVIEW magazine. Mary's other major awards include a British Bear Artist award and a Teddy Bear Times award ( British Bear Artist awards and Teddy Bear Times awards are both from England's TEDDY BEAR TIMES magazine). Although she is very proud of all her awards, she discontinued entering award competitions in 2001.

In 2003 Mary started selling one-of-a-kind creations on Ebay and continues this today . Mary enjoys the wide variety of designs and the attention to detail that these one-of-a-kind creations allow for her. These designs include dogs, cats, bunnies and bears of all shapes and sizes. They also include a wide array of very realistic and poseable dogs and cats. Her Ebay offerings often come with a photo locket. A photo of Mary holding the animal being offered is inside of the locket.

Mary's sales and awards have always been a source of pride for her, but she has always considered the many friendships she has made with people from all over the world to be the best part of her work.

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