Monday, 27 July 2009

Ahead of her time ...

As a teddy bear artist myself, I can't help but admire the talent of other makers. Miniaturists for example, I mean how on earth do they manage to capture character in such precise detail? As a maker of big bears, I don't mind telling you, those tiddlers intrigue me! Then there are the realistic grizzly bear makers, a rare breed of bearmakers with the patience to study real bears, capturing animal characteristics, as they transfer nature's lumbering form into soft sculpture. Amazing!

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' by Sandra Wickenden. First place in 1997 British Bear Artist Awards.

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!


  1. Beauty is always in the eye of the beholder.
    I love both bears for very different reasons but if I had the choice to take one would have to be bon-bon
    Sue xx

  2. Bon-Bon and Yona are both lovely! Congratlations on your award and on owning such a lovely bear. I haven't had much chance to visit lately, but I wanted to say I love your blog!

  3. Wow, Yona is an absolute treasure! Congrats!!! I'm sure she couldn't find a better home!


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