Tuesday, 26 February 2008

The Winter Bearfest!

It promised to be a great day on Sunday as we drove to Kensington and for the first time ever, failed to get lost en route ... definitely a good omen! My little SatNav worked dilligently to keep us on track and as we drove along the Embankment, the sun sparkled over the River Thames. Perfect!

All Bear stand before opening

Outside Kensington Town Hall, a queue of eager collectors snaked down to the High Street and beyond, filling exhibitors with a lively sense of anticipation. The 'All Bear' stand had been relocated at my request and this year, my table was positioned in a comfortable, spacious spot in Hall 2, ideal for chatting to everyone - and boy did I chat! After a sense of enforced hibernation throughout the winter months, this show offers we bearmakers the opportunity to catch up with friends in person, rather than through our usual email contact, so just before opening, there is quite a hubbub, as you can imagine! I had a lovely time chatting and it was such fun to share in the excitement of everyone's latest creations as they were gently brushed and carefully positioned.

The doors opened at 11am and by five past the hour, both 'Delilah' and 'Raffles' had been scooped from my table by their new owners - serious collectors don't hang about about shows, they know they need to act fast to secure their special bears! With collectors thronging through the aisles, the hall became very warm, very quickly and bears seemed to be flying here there and everywhere. The atmosphere was most definitely busy and extremely buzzy, just as I'd hoped it would be. By lunchtime, I hadn't had a spare second to draw breath and 'Smartie', 'Peregrine', 'Grigio' and 'White Diamond' had also been whisked away to new kind new homes.

A quick snap across taken across the aisle - I didn't have time for many pics I'm afraid!

I had the pleasure of meeting some wonderful people at this show, collectors with an immense passion for bear art. One special lady travelled in all the way from the States and it was only when I accepted her credit card, I realised we had been in email contact for several years and she already owned several of my bears! Another gentleman took the trouble to visit the show to purchase a special bear as a gift for his lovely wife who is currently on the other side of the world. Each bear found their perfect person and it was a true privilege for me to meet those lovely people up close and personal.

Bluebell and Florrie waiting hopefully!

At the close of day, I had just two bears still waiting anxiously to meet their perfect people. Despite being flattered and admired throughout the day, 'Bluebell' and 'Florrie' returned home with me. Not for long though! Neither of their 'special someone's' were able to visit the show on Sunday, but nevertheless, they were waiting hopefully in the wings. Both bears were snapped up straight after the show and will soon be travelling to their new homes.

En route to the mohair supplier!

Now of course, once again I have no bears available and will have to return to work! As you can imagine, I'm pretty tired after all the excitement, travelling, creating and general running around of late, so this afternoon I'm simply going to take out my knitting needles and wool, put on a film and 'chill' for a couple of hours. Tomorrow, after driving little Florrie to the Post Office for her big trip to the States, I will be back in my workroom. Needless to say, I couldn't leave the show on Sunday without a few gorgeous fabrics in my bag, could I?!


  1. Oh, man...just lost my long comment... but, as I was trying to say..

    Congrats Paula! Your bears are lovely and obviously many besides me think the same thing.
    The venue looks like a very nice place to hold a bear fair and I am thinking that with the numbers of attendees.. there must be more people in the U.K. with an interest in bears than in Canada and the U.S.
    What a huge success! You deserve some "chill" time!

    Which mohair supplier do you have now? A couple of the ones I used to use from there have gone out of business...

  2. Hi Vee, great to hear from you! Yes, our main shows (Kensington in Feb and Sept) both seem to have been very well supported over recent years. Apparently the Winter Bearfest show was highlighted on national TV the week prior, so I'm sure that helped swell interest too.

    As regards fabric suppliers, I use several ... UK, US and German based in the main ... also occasionally Australian too! I'll buy wherever I can if they have interesting fabric! I think you may recall Oakley Fabrics as being the main supplier of Schulte mohair in the UK previously - that company has since been taken over by Susan at www.bearbasics.co.uk

  3. Glad you had a great day Paula...I think it was an all round success!!
    You bears certainly looked great from whenI whizzed past to snap up some fabric...like I need more fabric!!!!

  4. You and me both Jenny ... that mohair is just too tempting when it's hanging in neat rows on the racks right under your nose isn't it?! I haven't heard a single negative report about this show yet. Congratulations on your sellout by the way!

  5. Hi Paula, sorry to have missed you this time, your stand looked fabulous. Hubby was not as lucky as you, he did get lost, see, he didn't have his expert navigator with him! But he was a "good boy" getting me my first choice of bear, not that I would have minded any of the others. Only he's not posting it to Oz. but keeping him in the UK until he can make a personal delivery. Cheeky lad!!! All good wishes to you, hugs Nina

  6. Hi Nina! I'm so pleased you could see the stand all the way from Oz and I'm even more delighted that Chris managed to secure your special bear ... thank heavens he didn't get too lost en route! Talking of lost, there's a man missing his wife if ever I saw one. I will keep my fingers crossed that he can get out to you very soon xx


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