My name is Fran and I am the head, hands and heart behind Woollen Hearted.
I am originally from the UK but have made France my permanent home after arriving here alone in 2009 during a work abroad placement for my French language undergraduate degree. I live in the mountains of the French Pyrenees and share my life with my French husband and two bilingual children. Everyone in our family has at least one Woollen Hearted bear, except for my husband. But I intend to remedy that soon.
I designed & made my very first bear in Infant School, it was cut out from white fabric, stuffed in screwed up balls of paper and stapled together. Ten or so years later, I borrowed a book about soft toy making in the local library, found a pattern for a jointed teddy bear inside and made my very first bear as part of a Toy Making Project for my Textiles Class at school. I continued making jointed bears throughout my adolescence until I left the family home for University aged 19. The very last two bears from that period of my bear making career are currently tucked up under the covers in each of my children’s beds.
Not long after having my first child in 2015, I tried to find a locally made, fully natural, high quality traditional style bear to give to our baby boy. I soon discovered that such bears were not readily available locally to me in France. On seeking such a teddy bear, I quickly found myself remembering that I actually knew how to make teddy bears and soon I returned to my crafty roots by ordering supplies and tools online. Within a short time of returning to my childhood hobby, I quickly found myself dreaming of one day becoming a self-employed artisan toymaker. Eight years, three house moves, two babies and one diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder, this dream became a reality in November 2023.
I’m so excited to see where this new adventure will take me in the coming weeks and months, and would love to invite you to join me in this journey. You can follow my studio journal here, and sign up for my newsletter here.