Not that I don't enjoy the challenge of contemporary design, but traditional bears were my first love and they still know how to tug at my heartstrings today ...
'Becks and Scrump' circa 1996
In fact, I remember my early classic bears as old friends. 'Becks' and 'Scrump' for example, two super teddy bears made by my sister and I, way back in the mid 1990's. They were made from glorious Schulte mohair in two alternative shades of gold. My sister Fiona designed Scrump (right) and I created Becks (left). We didn't collaborate beyond choosing the mohair together over a cuppa and yet when completed, our bears looked just as though they were brothers, meant to be together!
'Orwell' Circa Circa 1995
Then there was Orwell, another early 90's bear, beautifully big and totally traditional. I think I made about ten of these bears, but never kept one for myself ... now I so wish I had! I recall being absolutely delighted with this 25" teddy bear as it was the first time I felt as though I had succeeded in creating the kind of teddy bear I would like to buy for myself.
'Timeless' Circa 1995
Not long after Orwell, came 'Timeless', a whopping 26" growler. He was made for the final Hugglets' 'Festival of Artist Bears' show, in Stratford Upon Avon. I stood behind the table with Fiona and as the doors opened a lady flew across the room to scoop him into her arms ... we watched as she fell hook, line and sinker in love with him! We had a super time at that show standing among the most fabulous bear artists of the time - it was a completely thrilling day for two bear-making sisters quite new to selling their work!
'Gorgeous George' Circa 2007
Luckily for me, traditional bears really are timeless and a decade later they were still very much in demand. 'Gorgeous George' was another bear of whom I was very proud. I gave him a gentle nod to modernity by introducing hand painted glass eyes and subtle shading to the eye socket, but as you can see, he remained true to his forebears.
Since the traditional teddy bear heyday of the 1990's, I have made many, many teddies of all shapes, colours, styles and sizes, but throughout those years have never been distracted from my first love and what I consider to be 'a proper teddy bear'. Leaping forward some fourteen years, brings us to 'Bellamy,' a magnificent 23" bear commissioned by a devoted gentleman collector. Once again, I used only the very best Schulte mohair to help me create a bear I could be proud of. There's something so special about Schulte mohair, not only is it fabulously silky, dense, gloriously rich in colour and strong ... it is also absolutely perfect for creating teddy bears of distinction!
There's no doubt in my mind, traditional teddy bears should never grow old or become outmoded. They are bears to care about, bears to cherish and most definitely bears to take with us into the future.
Hip hip horaay for our traditional teddy bear!
Long may he reign supreme!
Long may he reign supreme!