As I was updating the Guild of Master Bearcrafters' blog earlier this week (www.masterbearcrafters.blogspot.co.uk) it dawned on me that in my eagerness to showcase Guild members' talents, I hadn't actually added my own 'member profile' since I first started writing the Guild blog! I found myself scratching my head and frowning as I pondered my long bear making career, but eventually, did manage to make sense of it all!
So, if you have ever wondered why I have continued to design and make teddy bears for two long decades, I hope this blog post answers your question ...
My bear making career evolved from a love of vintage English teddy bears since I was a little girl, particularly the wonderful Hugmee bears created by the Chiltern Hygenic Toy Company between 1908 and 1967. I have a small collection of these dignified teddy bears and even now they never fail to inspire my creativity.
Some of my Chiltern Hugmee teddies: C1930's to 50's
It hardly seems possible it has been twenty years since I designed my first teddy bear; the time has flown by! Since then I have become immersed in the world of teddy bear artistry and am passionate about helping to steer our beloved teddy safely into his future.
It is never easy to describe one's own work, but if pushed to do so, I think I would say I tend to create in a fairly traditional vein. Now and again I veer gently towards contemporary with my laughing bears, but mostly my bears hark back towards those gentle Chiltern Hugmee teddies, with their solid proportions and no nonsense charm.
For me, a teddy bear should spark a sense of nostalgia and security in his owner, he must be soulful, comforting and honest in his design. My creations honour the teddy bears of my childhood and are protective of his heritage.
Beau was a 2015 Excellence in Bear Artistry award winner
I have been fortunate enough to achieve a collection of international teddy bear crafting and design awards throughout the past two decades and have had my work published many times in specialist publications around the world. It is of course, always lovely to receive such accolades, but the very best rewards are the smiles and kind words I receive from collectors when they adopt one of my bears ... those smiles are at the heart of my bear making.
A trio of my careworn style teds
As part of my commitment to the future of the teddy bear, I established 'The Guild of Master Bearcrafters' back in 2009. At the time I had a vague concept of providing a forum which could unite teddy bear makers from around the world, but had no idea it would quickly grow to almost eight hundred international bear crafting members. I am immensely proud of our members' dedication to creating bears of outstanding creativity and am certain that in their safe hands, the beloved teddy bear will be ensured of a long and happy future.
With hugs and smiles,
To discover more about Paula's work, please visit her website and blog:
I'd love you to spare a few moments to visit The Guild of Master Bearcrafters' Blog. I began writing it back in 2013 to showcase incredible bear crafting talent from Guild members. As you will see, outstanding artist bears are being created all around the world!