New Avenue Crew is a block party of bears created by me, Debora Hoffmann. I design, sew, and finish each bear from start to finish. I enjoy working with my hands, which hearkens back to earlier times when creating by hand was highly prized. Though my Crew members are teddy bears for adults only, due to their glass eyes and other small parts, purchasing a bear for a child as an heirloom can plant the seeds of a love of handmade art for years to come.

In the New Avenue Crew studio in 2000

When I was a young girl growing up on a street called New Avenue, I loved to spend hours drawing and creating with my hands. At the age of 13, I designed, sewed, stuffed, and finished two small teddy bears. I wish I still had them today!

My passion for art led me to earn a fine arts degree, and I also had a growing interest in teddy bears, beginning with antiques and then artist-made bears. This led me to make a few bears from synthetic fur and patterns from a book when I was in my early twenties. But this didn't satisfy my desire to make bears with a touch of the traditional German teddy bear, such as early Steiff and Bing bears.

Herr GrΓΌnhosen

In August 1996, I took a class given by a German teddy bear artist and discovered that I very much enjoyed working with mohair fur fabric. I went home afterward and designed my first teddy bear pattern and made the first New Avenue Crew teddy bear. Since then, it has been almost 21 years of making bears in my spare time while working full-time as a proofreader in advertising.

Me with a stack of mohair and alpaca. I do so love mohair!

I am happy to work with the fur and fluff as much as time allows, and I create my Crew members from the finest materials: mohair, alpaca, glass eyes, antique shoe buttons, wool felt, and Ultrasuede. I truly enjoy seeing a bear's personality emerge as I work on its face. Even more than that, I receive such joy when someone adopts one of my bears. Thank you to all who love and purchase my creations!