24" 'Bon-Bon', runner up in the 1997 British Bear Artist Awards
Sandra Wickenden, a talented UK bear artist, paved the way for our current representational grizzly bears and in 1997 I had the honour of being placed second to her inspired 'on all fours' grizzly bear 'Yona,' in the British Bear Artist Awards. First and second places couldn't have contrasted more that year - my entry 'Bon-Bon' was a crazy, bent legged, flamboyantly pink girl bear with a striped nose and Sandra's fabulous Yona was ... well, judge for yourself ...
Yona featured a sculpted leather nose, mouth and claws and was multi-jointed, making her extremely poseable and way ahead of time in terms of teddy bear design ... besides having an additional neck piece to lend added expression to her poseability, this magnificent bear also had a rotating mid tummy section.
So what happened to Yona and Bon-Bon? Well, the original Bon-Bon was invited to the Hong Kong Toy Museum to live after the competition and four sister bears were created exclusively for 'Theodore's Bear Emporium' in Richmond (no longer trading). As for Yona, I have a confession to make ... I was in awe of that wonderful bear and after a quiet whisper to lovely Sandra, I was allowed to bring the original bear home to live with me!