In my humble opinion, when it comes to teddy bear competitions here in the UK, we have been lacking anything significant since the fabulous heyday of the 'British Bear Artist Awards'. Way back in the 1990's, the UK teddy bear world and beyond, positively buzzed at 'BBAA' time, because back then, we were duly proud of our major national award. It heralded the teddy bear as an art form, showcasing bear artists and rewarding winners with beautiful etched crystal awards, bouquets of flowers, framed certificates and a rather posh presentation dinner requiring one's best bib and tucker, to-boot! The BBAA competition wasn't just a competition, it was an event and an event which often resulted in far reaching opportunities for its shining stars!
'Bon-Bon' won 2nd place in the 1997 BBAA's
My own bear making career took off dramatically in 1997, after winning second place in the 'Big Bears Undressed' category of the British Bear Artist Awards. I remember how shocked I was to receive postal notification of my nomination and an invitation to the grand Awards Ceremony, which was to be held at the swanky St. James Hotel in the heart of London. I agonised over what to wear for weeks prior to the event and was a bag of nerves on the big night. After a lovely dinner with all the other nominees, my name was called out to collect my award and I stumbled up from the table, blushing furiously and shaking like a leaf! It was a significant night for all of us there and for me, opened many doors because those 'in the know' considered the competition a benchmark for quality and innovation. I received numerous invitations to work with shops and magazines both in the UK and overseas as a result of my first BBAA and even had my work included in a museum in Hong Kong!
'Himself' won first place in the 1998 BBAA's
Keen to prove I wasn't just a 'one trick pony', I entered 32" 'Himself' into the BBAA's the following year and was over the moon when he won first place! Since then, I have entered other competitions both in the UK and overseas and have been honoured with many other awards, but nothing has ever given me quite the same sense of personal pride as winning those very first 'British Bear Artist awards' ...
My 1998 'British Bear Artist Award'
(displayed with my 2008 TOBY Award)
I hope you'll be relieved to hear my reason for this post isn't simply to blow my own trumpet. No, in fact it's to pass on some exciting news because at long last, I am able to tell you about an exciting new, British based, teddy bear competition!
Sponsored by Bear Basics and designed by proprietor Susan Davies, the 'Excellence in Bear Artistry Awards' will take place this year, for the sole purpose of recognising, supporting and encouraging the creative work of teddy bear artists both in the UK and overseas. Susan has designed a fabulous website to host the awards and has also called upon four highly respected teddy bear professionals to judge the competition. There will even be an official awards ceremony to honour the winners!
This new competition is such good news for the bear industry and I am certain the 'Excellence in Bear Artistry Awards' is destined to become the UK's flagship teddy bear competition!
If you would like further details please visit: